I'm obsessed with the colors orange and deep purple right now. Maybe it's because I've been deprived of Halloween for three years here in Paris or that I'm craving antioxidant rich berries and fruit. Who knows? In any case, I love to make tarts. The crust takes about 10 minutes to prepare and the tart itself is a beautiful way to showcase seasonal fruit.
I often roll in chopped fresh herbs into the crust before baking to add a little je ne sais quoi to the flavor. For this one I rolled in some minced rosemary and it worked heavenly against the mouth puckering wild blackberries and sweet nectarines.
Depending on what I'm in the mood for and how hard I'm willing to work, I fill my tart shells with different fillings. Sometimes it's a simple baked almond cream other times I whip up a flavored cream cheese (like for this one). If I'm really pressed for time I'll just smear some jam across the bottom and if I've got loads of energy I'll make pastry cream.
What I'm trying to say is that it's really hard to mess up a tart! Once you've got the pastry shell down you can have fun with the rest.
Tarte Aux Nectarines et Mûres
Sweet Short Pastry
240g All Purpose flour
pinch of salt
5 ml water
2 big pinches vanilla powder (optional)
Minced rosemary or thyme (optional)
200g cream cheese
Zest of 1/2 orange (optional)
30ml orange liqueur or orange juice (optional)
60 ml sugar
(Your Choice!!! Use something seasonal)
2 baskets wild blackberries
4 nectarines peeled (or not peeled, it's up to you)
1. Whisk salt, sugar, vanilla powder into flour. Sablé or cut in butter until dough resembles fine sand with fingertips or in a Cuisinart using on and off turns. Add egg and water and mix until ball forms (only a few seconds if using a cuisinart). Knead dough lightly (2-3 times) inside of bowl to make sure ingredients are well mixed. Form into a flattened disk, cover with saranwrap, refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 200˚C / 400˚F. Roll out tart shell 3mm thick to fit size of desired pan: a 9-10" tart ring or a 28 x 10cm / 11 x 4" rectangular tin. Fit dough to pan and flute pastry edges.
3. Prick the pastry all over with tines of a fork. Line the pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove beans and back for another 6-10 minutes until shell is browned. Leave to cool before adding cream cheese filling.
4. For filling put cream cheese, orange zest and liqueur, and sugar in a bowl and mix with a handmixer until smooth. Spread into cooled tart shell
5. Arrange fruit over top. Sometimes I like to squeeze a little lemon juice over the top to keep fruit from browning. Also, if the fruit isn't sweet enough you can dust with a little sugar.