"One of our most requested desserts at Fleet is my fennel tarte Tatin," says Josh Lewis, head chef at Fleet in Brunswick Heads. "I've made many variations over the years, but this one, made with nectarines, is one of my favourites. You can quite easily adapt this recipe to make one large tarte, but for the sake of the caramelised-pastry-to-fruit ratio I've made them individual".
- 50 gm unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 150 gm caster sugar
- 2 sheets (375gm each) butter puff pastry (see note), each cut into 6 squares
- 6 ripe nectarines, halved and stones removed
- 12 thyme sprigs, plus extra to serve
- 3 vanilla beans, split lengthways, then halved
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 375 ml (1½ cups) milk
- 600 ml pouring cream
- 100 gm ginger, thinly sliced
- Peeled rind of ½ lemon
- 12 egg yolks
- 160 gm caster sugar
- 1For custard, stir milk and cream in a saucepan, then add ginger and lemon rind. Warm gently over low heat, but don't allow it to come to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and leave to infuse (30 minutes). Whisk yolks and caster sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy, add a little infused milk mixture, whisk to combine, then add yolk mixture to remaining infused milk in pan. Stir continuously over low heat until custard coats the back of a spoon (10-12 minutes). Remove from heat and pass through a fine sieve. Cover directly with plastic wrap and chill (reheat custard before serving).
- 2Preheat oven to 180°C. Divide butter and sugar between 2 large ovenproof frying pans, rubbing together with fingers until combined. Wrap puff pastry squares around the round sides of nectarine halves, tucking excess into the holes in the centre, then place cut-side down on top of butter mixture in pans, tucking a sprig of thyme and a piece of vanilla underneath each. Add a splash of water to the base of each pan – this will create a delicious caramel to spoon over while baking. Heat pans over medium heat until liquid starts to boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until liquid just starts to turn golden (3-4 minutes). Transfer pans to oven and bake, basting occasionally, until pastry is dark golden (22-25 minutes). Cool briefly, then serve, cut-side up, topped with a sprig of thyme and with reheated ginger custard on the side.
We use Carême puff pastry, which comes in 375gm sheets. If it's unavailable, substitute another good butter puff pastry.Drink suggestion by Astrid McCormack: Amaro Montenegro on ice or Eric Bordelet Poire Granit pear cider.