Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bye-Bye-Summer Fruit

Fruit is one of my favorite food items in the whole wide world.  Summertime is always so welcome for the great fruit, (I know you are thinking, summertime makes you think of hot, hot, hot)!  But, there is so much wonderful delicious dishes to make and feel cool with fresh fruit.  One of my last culinery food dishes this season was a fabulous nectarine tart.

This is really "as good as it looks" and not sugary sweet, the natural sweetness of the nectarines come shining through.  A lovely simple crust and a thin cream center topping the fruit with a low-sugar jam keeps your diabetic counter in check.

Nice, sweet, ripe fruit is key to the best flavor.  Keep this in mind for next season.  Buy your fruit at its peak when the grocery store puts it on sale.  They do that because there is usually an abundance as the fruit is ripening quickly and they need to move it and not keep it in cold storage, (especially the deciduous fruit---which are peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums).  Or, if you happen to have a tree with fruit, there are untold ways to use it and keep it either by freezing or canning; then you'll have great fruit through the fall and maybe winter.

For this tart, I tried to imagine what cookie flavors would work with the nectarines.  Ginger of course would be a natural and vanilla works with most everything.  So, not to overpower the fruit, I chose to mix part ginger cookies and part vanilla cookies.  I went to one of my favorite stores, (Trader Joe's) and picked up a container of Madagascar vanilla cookies and a tub of those wonderful chewy three ginger cookies.  Now if you are having a bad day, this is a good recipe.  If you are having a good day, this is a great recipe.  If it's a bad day, use a hammer or as I had to, the handle of a flashlight!  (I was at our cabin and didn't have a food processor or a blender).  Put the cookies in a bag and "bang" away and crumble up the cookies.  The result will tell if you had a good day or bad depending on how fine your crumbs become!!!  Mix in about 1/4 cup of melted butter to the cookie crumbs and voila, your crust is ready for the tart pan.  The 9" removable tart pan is perfect but you can use whatever you have in that approximate size.  You will then put the crust into the oven while you prepare the cream center.  The cream center will consist of three smooth dairy items, mascarpone cheese, sour cream and cream cheese.  Here again, you can choose your "poison" and use whatever your palate says to you.  I used "light" on the sour cream and cream cheese with no deletion of flavor.  The crust needs to be completely cooled before you pour in the cream mixture.  The creams also need to be at room temperature when you mix them together.

Once the cream filling is spread over the cooled crust, then thiny slice your nectarines, (you, of course could use peaches, skinned or not, which ever you prefer) and arrange in a circular position.  Use your favorite peach or apricot jelly, or jam and warm it in the microwave so it is a little runny and pour it over the top of the fruit.

Refrigerate for at least an hour.  Devour!
Until next season, I say farewell to the sweet nectarine.