I have been trying to make this tart all summer. I have been buying four nectarines every week since they became available two months ago. I buy them hard and ripen them in a brown paper bag. With the first few batches, by the time they were ripe I was too busy in my work week to make a tart, so I ate the nectarines for breakfast instead. Then I bought a few batches during the heat wave hoping that they would ripen right as the heat broke, but instead the ripened instantly, and I ate the nectarines for breakfast instead. Then I fractured my hand and I couldn’t bake, but I was still buying nectarines in case my hand magically healed… plus I was really enjoying having nectarines for breakfast.
My hand is still hurt, but I am getting really good at cutting with my right hand while holding a piece of fruit with my left elbow. I am still utterly defeated by jars though. This week, I finally made the tart (my neighbor opened the apricot jam jar for the glaze) and it is totally satisfying. The crust is like a substantial, nutty cookie. The cheese filling is creamy and not too sweet. The rose glazed nectarines are fresh and fragrant. In my book this tart has enough real food in it (fresh fruit, cheese, whole grains, nuts) that you can totally still eat it for breakfast.
Nectarines are probably my favourite fruit. The smell of them reminds me of my Grandmother, since she enjoyed them for breakfast with cottage cheese. The smell of roses also reminds me of her. She wore a lovely rose scent. I wanted to make a tart that my Grandma would have loved to eat for breakfast and this is what I came up with. I have written about my Grandma Orr on this blog before. I credit her with passing on her love of sour and bitter flavours to me at an early age. These are somewhat unusual flavours for a little girl to love and I think that it is pretty cool that she introduced me to their delights. Also, it is impressive that grandma Orr managed influence my culinary tastes so much at all, since she was in a wheelchair when I was little and no longer cooks herself! I can only imagine the kind of influence she would have had on me if she had been able to run around! Here is a picture of her camping when she was young (she’s in the adorable jumper).
Side note… I do think that it is unusual for little girls to crave bitter and sour flavours, but just looked after the eight year old daughter of my best college girlfriend for a week, and was very impressed by her raw lemon consumption! Maybe she is unusual also?
HAZELNUT BUCKWHEAT TART CRUST
- 2 cups hazelnut meal (You can also grind up hazelnuts yourself in a food processor)
2 cups buckwheat flour
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 14 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 large egg
- the zest of 1 lemon
- a pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients with the butter using a pastry cutter or a food processor. It will be crumbly.
- Whip the cold water, egg and lemon zest together in a small bowl and then stir it into the crumbly dough with a fork until it starts to hold together.
- Transfer the dough into a tart tin and press it to line the bottom and sides evenly. It will be quite thick. Prick the crust all over with a fork.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the crust begins to brown. Cool the crust on a rack while you prepare the cheese filing and nectarine topping.
CREAMY CHEESE FILLING
- 2/3 cup high quality whole-milk ricotta
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- the zest of 1 lemon
- a pinch of salt
- 3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
Combine all of the ingredients beat until smooth. Refrigerate the filling while you prepare the nectarine topping.
NECTARINE ROSE TOPPING
- 4 or 5 ripe nectarines
- 1/4 cup apricot jam
- 1/4 cup rosewater
- lemon juice to taste (optional)
- Slice the nectarines into twelve wedges each and discard the pits.
- Whisk together the apricot jam and rosewater. Strain out any lumps. Taste it and add lemon juice if you want to increase the tartness.
- When the crust is totally cool, top it with the cheese filling.
- Arrange the nectarine slices around the outer edge of the tart so that they overlap. Make concentric circles of overlapping nectarines until the entire tart is topped.
- Brush the top of the tart with the apricot rosewater glaze. Serve immediately or refrigerate and eat gradually for breakfast!