The golden rule for matching wine with desserts is that the wine needs to be sweeter than what's on the plate, or the higher sugar level of the food will drown out the sweetness in the drink and make it taste dry and watery. The beautiful thing about this tart is that the richness and sweetness of the caramelised fruit and sugary pastry is wonderfully offset by the creaminess and fluffy texture of the ricotta and the woody aromatic character of the spices, creating an overall impression of a not-too-sweet tart. As a result, you don't need to match it with too luscious a wine: a brachetto would be perfect. Brachetto is a little-known grape grown in Piedmont, north-west Italy, where it produces naturally low-alcohol, gently fizzy sweet wine with aromas of wild strawberry and herbs. In many ways, brachetto resembles pink moscato, but it has a bit more depth and vinosity than the other, much more well-known Piedmontese sweet sparkler.
- 3 nectarines, halved, stones discarded
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 20 ml brandy
- 115 gm butter, softened
- 75 gm (1/3 cup) caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 185 gm plain flour, sifted (see note)
- 450 gm ricotta
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon and ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 egg
- 40 gm caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1For shortcrust pastry, beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (3-5 minutes). Add yolk, vanilla and ¼ tsp salt, mix until just combined. Add flour, mix until just combined, wrap in plastic wrap, pat into a flat, round disc and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 3mm thick. Remove top layer of baking paper, invert into a 24cm-diameter tart tin. Remove remaining baking paper, trim edges to fit, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C, blind bake until pale golden. Remove paper and weights, bake until crisp (4-5 minutes). Cool on a wire rack.
- 2Meanwhile, combine nectarines, sugar and brandy in a bowl, toss to coat. Place nectarines, cut-side up, on a baking paper-lined tray and roast until soft and golden (10-12 minutes). When cool enough to handle, cut into wedges and set aside.
- 3For spiced ricotta, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth (1-2 minutes), spoon into tart case. Arrange nectarines on top, scatter with extra sugar and bake until just golden and firm to touch (15-20 minutes). Cool to room temperature before serving.
If available, use unbleached flour. Drink suggestion by Max Allen