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Do you have a mentor? I don’t but I wish I did. My husband has one who used to be his boss and now is just an incredibly wise person who he talks to frequently and bounces ideas off of. He is like a kind uncle who knows you really well and who has great advice to give. We had him and his partner over for dinner the other night. He has sat at our table in London, in our previous house in Seattle, and now in our current house. I know he likes to cook and that he appreciates good food. I thought giving them a good wow in the dessert department would be nice.
Nectarines are my favorite fruit. I love just about all fruit but nectarines are at the top of my list. They are so incredible right now in this part of the country and I am trying to get my fill of them before they disappear. I have been putting them in salads and salsas and I just eat them out of hand. And so I was very happy to have an excuse to make this incredible tart.
This tart is on my all-time favorite desserts list. I only make it at this time of year – when the farmers’ market practically smells of nectarines. It has so many things to recommend it. It can be mostly made in advance, it is incredibly quick to put together, but most of all the flavors are intoxicating. A healthy dose of crystallized ginger both in the filling and sprinkled over the top make it appropriate to serve with all kinds of food. I often make more “international” food when we have adventurous food guests and pairing dessert with some of those dishes can be challenging. I think because of the ginger and the fruit here, it goes well with just about anything.
I have been on an ice cream making kick lately. For this tart I opted to make the Honey Lavender Ice Cream found in David Lebovitz’s incomparable The Perfect Scoop. I am lucky to have lots of lavender growing in my front yard. I was initially worried that the ice cream may have a soapy flavor because a healthy amount of lavender steeps for a long time in the custard. Not to worry. The flavor is very distinguishable but is lovely and light and plays beautifully off the honey. And it went perfectly with the tart. And Randy said it was the best ice cream he had ever eaten. Enough said.
One Year Ago: Zucchini Stuffed with Chickpeas and Israeli Couscous
Nectarine and Marscapone Tart in Gingersnap Crust
Adapted from Bon Appétit
25 gingersnap cookies; coarsely broken (about 6 ounces; about 2 1/4 cups pieces)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 8-ounce container marscapone cheese
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
4 to 5 small nectarines, halved, pitted, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup peach jam, warmed
2 tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
For Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind gingersnaps in processor. Add butter and blend until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Bake crust until color darkens, pressing sides with back of spoon if beginning to slide, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
For Filling: Beat first 6 ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in crystallized ginger. Spread filling in prepared crust. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
For Topping: Overlap nectarine slices atop filling in concentric circles. Brush with jam. Sprinkle with chopped crystallized ginger. Serve or refrigerate for up to 6 hours.