Tea for Two Tarts, the Second

17 08 2009

Mise en place for tea ganache

When we last left off, I was hoping for more opportunities to combine tea and fruit for unusually delicious Summer desserts.  As luck would have it, the downstairs neighbors invited us to dinner less than a week later.  I was informed that the pregnant wife had largely lost her sweet tooth, but I like a challenge.  I figured something featuring dark chocolate and fresh seasonal fruit would fit the bill nicely. 

A fan of white nectarine slices

Flipping through Pierre Hermé’s Larousse du Chocolat for inspiration, I found a recipe for an intriguing-sounding chocolate tart with jasmine tea and peaches.  Hmmm…I do like a good ganache tart.  Nick had come home from the market with a bag of assorted stone fruits that morning, so we tasted one of each and determined that the white nectarines were really something special.  Besides the gorgeous blush color of the flesh, they had a unique aroma and delicate flavor that I thought would play nicely off the bittersweet chocolate.  Scrapping Hermé’s overly complicated tart dough in favor of a simple almond sablé (because we all know that almonds and stone fruit are like chocolate and peanut butter – they just go) and subbing in a more robust tea in the (now milk chocolate-free) ganache, I was pretty sure I had a winner on my hands.

Just Glazed White Nectarine and Tea Ganache Tart

For the final touch, I topped the über-shiny ganache with another circle of pretty nectarine slices, which I then glazed with a nappage fashioned from some handmade jam.  The neighbors were duly impressed with the tart’s beauty when I arrived at their door, and not a crumb remained at the end of the night, so I assume it tasted acceptable.  (Ok, it tasted great.  The tea subtly perfumed the intense chocolate, and the nectarines provided a juicy counterpoint.  It may be one of the best desserts I’ve ever made, and it wasn’t the slightest bit difficult.  Look! I did it while drinking a mojito!)  Even the sweet tooth-lacking pregnant woman had seconds.

Want the recipe?  Here it is:

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Nectarine Crumble

30 06 2008

One of my absolute favorite fruits

This one was a no-brainer.  I found some sweet-smelling nectarines on sale the other day, and immediately remembered that I had a plastic baggie of crumble topping in the fridge, just waiting for a surplus of fruit to appear in the kitchen.  The topping was left over from the Rhubarb-Apricot crumble of a few weeks ago, when I accidentally made twice as much as I needed.  The good news is that crumble topping will keep for quite a while in an airtight container in the fridge.

I also found this cool sugar on the same shopping trip.

Less refined means healthier, right?

It’s the texture of granulated sugar, but has a very light brown color.  I mainly bought it because I prefer to use cane sugar when I bake – the flavor is superior and it takes less processing to get sugar from cane than to get it from a beet, which is where most of the white sugar in Europe comes from.  (Of course, when you factor in the distance the sugar has to travel to get here, I’m sure it increases my personal carbon footprint.)  Environmental issues aside, this sugar has a fuller flavor than regular white sugar, but not so much that it can’t be substituted freely.

For my crumble filling, I took 7 or 8 nectarines, pitted and sliced them, and tossed them with about 1/3 cup sugar and 2 Tablespoons of flour, which turned out to be just a little too much.  A teaspoon or two less would have been ideal.  Still, the finished crumble was rather tasty, if I do say so myself.  (Like I can take credit for the nectarines.)

Nectarine Crumble

We ate it topped with hazelnut ice cream for dessert, and with scoops of plain yogurt for breakfast.  (In case you can’t tell, I have a habit of finishing off fruit desserts the next morning – gotta love dishes that pull double duty!)

You may be wondering why on Earth I feel compelled to bake dessert after working in a pâtisserie all day.  Here’s the thing: I don’t actually do any baking there.  I whip up pastry cream or anglaise on the stove, fold meringues into mousses, pipe out pâte à choux, and build entremets, but the actual baking happens downstairs and across the courtyard from where I am.  As it turns out, the things I’m making at work are things I probably wouldn’t make at home anyway.  So I can keep making crumbles and galettes chez moi, and leave the fancy stuff to the professionals (me included).








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