8ripe but firm yellow nectarines50 gm (1/3 cup)pure icing sugar, plus extra sieved for dusting100 gmsoftened unsalted butter150 gm (2/3 cup)caster sugarScrapedseeds of 2 vanilla beans2eggs50 gm (1/3 cup)plain flour, sieved80 mlamaretto135 gm (1½ cupsalmond meal2 tbsppeach or nectarine jamMascarpone sorbet450 gmmascarpone550 mlsugar syrup (see note)75 mllemon juiceSweet pastry300 gmplain flour200 gmsoftened diced butter100 gmpure icing sugar2egg yolksScrapedseeds of 1 vanilla bean
For mascarpone sorbet, blend mascarpone with sugar syrup in a blender until smooth, add lemon juice and blend to combine. Freeze in an ice-cream machine, then freeze until firm (3 hours). Makes 1 litre.
Preheat oven to 80C. Slice nectarines into cheeks or, if ripe enough, halve and remove stones. Scatter icing sugar over an oven tray lined with baking paper and place nectarines cut-side down onto icing sugar. Bake until soft and a little dried (3-4 hours). Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, for sweet pastry, sieve flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add butter. Sieve icing sugar over butter, add egg yolks and vanilla seeds and mix with your fingertips to form a smooth paste. Gradually draw in flour from sides of well until a smooth dough forms. Do not overwork. Roll pastry between two pieces of baking paper to a 3mm-thick round and refrigerate to rest (1 hour). Bring to room temperature so pastry is just flexible enough to line a lightly greased 23cm-diameter, 4cm-high ring mould placed on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Trim excess pastry and refrigerate to rest (20-30 minutes).
Meanwhile, beat butter and caster sugar with vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until pale. Add eggs, flour and amaretto, beat to combine. Stir through almond meal, then refrigerate until chilled (1-2 hours).
Increase oven to 180C. Spread jam over pastry base, then spread frangipane on top. Arrange nectarine cheeks on top and bake until tart is set and golden and springy to touch (50 minutes-1 hour). Cool in ring mould on tray on a wire rack (1 hour), then remove from mould, dust edges with icing sugar and serve with mascarpone sorbet.
Note To make sugar syrup, bring equal quantities of caster sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan, set aside to cool.
This recipe is from the January 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
“In Australia, nectarines can often be underripe, so we slow-bake them with sugar to intensify the sweetness. If you find perfectly tree-ripened fruit, you can skip this step. Make sure the frangipane is chilled before adding it to the pastry case.” - Dietmar Sawyere