Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nectarine, Vanilla and Almond Tart

With the success of my homemade vanilla extract, I could not wait to try out delicious treats using it. So I chose this Nectarine, Vanilla and Almond Tart to bake. This is a recipe I adapted from the book Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie, comforting baked fruit desserts for chilly days. The tart is a classic French pastry. This book has quite a few people contributing to the recipes. First you have to bake blind a sweet short crust pastry, then fill in the fillings and top with the fruits. The original recipe used pears. I used nectarines because I have so many of it lying around. 

Serves 6
Recipe for the pastry:

27 cm round pan or 35 cm x 11 cm tart pan as shown, buttered and lightly floured.
200g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt

Put the flour, sugar, butter and salt in a food processor and using the pulse button, process until the mixture is just combined (about 5 - 10 pulses) Add 3 to 4 tbsp cold water and pulse just until dough holds together.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, put it in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a floured working surface or put the dough in between a cut out freezer bag (always work for me, no mess at all). Roll out the dough slightly larger than the prepared tart pan. To trim the edges, roll the rolling pin over the top, using the edge of the tin as a cutting surface and let the excess pastry fall away. Refrigerate again for another 30 minutes till firm.

To bake blind, preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). Pick the pastry base all over, lined with baking parchment paper and fill with baking weights or beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and weights and turn down the oven to 180 C and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool before filling.

Recipe for Filling:

100g unsalted butter
100g sugar
100g ground almonds
2 large eggs
2 tbsp plain flour
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract.
4 to 5 ripe Nectarines, cored and sliced.

Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F)

In a mixing bow, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and make sure you scrape down the bowl after each addition. Turn down to the lowest speed, add the flour, ground almonds and vanilla seeds or extract and mix just until combined.

Spoon the almond mixture into the pastry case and level the surface. Arrange the nectarine slices on top.
bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or custard.

Vanilla Extract

About two over months ago, I posted about making my own Vanilla Extract. I used the vanilla beans and Absolut Vodka that my good friends brought back for me from Bali to make my very own extract. It is now ready and I don't have to spend a fortune buying bottles of the Nielson-Massey Vanilla Extract anymore. It is so fragrant and pure, a little goes a long way. I just added more vodka into the jar of vanilla beans to make a second extract, I wonder whether it works!
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