With the first day of autumn now under our belts, I decided I needed to use the last of the summer fruits in this week’s recipe. Nectarines would have to be my favourite of the stone fruits, but if they don’t appeal to you, this recipe is simple enough that you could substitute in your own favourite. Some interesting nectarine trivia for you – they are a cultivar of the peach, but because of a recessive gene, do not develop the characteristic fuzz of a peach! If, like me, desserts are not your speciality, this is the perfect one for you. It’s pretty much fail-proof! Enjoy!
One sheet of frozen puff pastry (take out 10 minutes before using to thaw)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
250g mascarpone cheese
cup icing sugar
Zest of one lime
teaspoon ground star anise (optional)
1-2 nectarines, pitted and sliced
Small handful mint (optional)
1.Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
2.Using a knife, cut the sheet of puff pastry in half long-ways, then in half sideways so you have four pieces the same size.
3.Slice a smaller square, 1.5cm inside the larger one, creating a border around the edge of each piece of the puff pastry dough. Be careful not to slice all the way through.
4.Use a fork to poke holes in the inner square of dough. This will prevent the inner square from rising as much as the outer border when it’s baking, and creates the perfect shape for the fillings.
5.Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the borders of the puff pastry dough very lightly.
6.Sprinkle the borders of the puff pastry dough with the caster sugar. If you have them, pour on baking balls to inner square and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the pastries are a light golden-brown, especially around the edges.
7.When you take them out of the oven, and if you haven’t used the balls, immediately push down the inner square lightly with the back of a spoon or fork. It will probably have risen a bit during baking, and it’s important it’s lower than the golden sugary border.
8.Let the pastries cool to room temperature while you prepare the mascarpone filling.
9.In a bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, icing sugar, star anise and lime zest and beat until smooth.
10.Whip the cream and gently fold into the mascarpone mixture with a spatula.
11.Spread the mascarpone mixture into the tart shells once they’ve cooled completely. Gently top with slices of nectarine. Sprinkle with a little mint, and you can even grate a little more lime zest as garnish. Serve immediately.