Friday, July 30, 2010

Plum and Nectarine Tart with a Brown Butter Custard and an Almond Crust

Nectarines are one of my favorite fruit varietals, but the past couple years, the nectarines have been rather lackluster--mushy, bland, blegh.

So I was ecstatic when I realized that for whatever reason, it's a good year for nectarines.

I bit into a particularly flavorful specimen, and brown butter came to mind. "Nick," I said, "Wouldn't these nectarines be great with brown butter?"
"Um, not really."

Undaunted, I decided that I wanted to make a tart that incorporated nectarines and brown butter. Almonds sounded like a good idea, too.

I ended up using plums as well as nectarines, which was a delicious decision. The brown butter flavor is very subtle, but this is an overall satisfying sweet.

You could really use any summer stone fruit in this tart--peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries--they'd all be good, so feel free to play around.

Plum and Nectarine Tart with a Brown Butter Custard and an Almond Crust

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 or 4 (depending on their size) plums, cut into wedges
  • 3 or 4 (depending on their size) nectarines, cut into wedges
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle (you can also use a hand-held mixer), combine the butter with the turbinado and granulated sugars, the almonds and the egg and beat at medium-low speed until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and lemon zest and beat just until a soft dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough and flatten it into a disk. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a 10-inch tart pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough in the tart pan, and press it around until it covers the bottom and comes up the sides. Take care to patch any holes. Bake the crust in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 350.
In the meantime, in a small skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 4 minutes; take the skillet off the heat and set it aside. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer or the cleaned stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar, almond extract, lemon zest and salt. Add the flour and beat at low speed until smooth. Add the brown butter and beat the filling at low speed until incorporated.
Pour the custard into the tart crust. Starting from the middle and working outward, spread the fruit in a spiral. Bake in the center of the oven for about an hour. The tart is done when the edges of the pastry are deep golden brown and the custard is slightly puffed. If anything is browning too quickly, cover it with foil.

(Our view from the porch during out recent Ocean City visit.)

(Crabs! A special summertime treat.)

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