This seasonal stone fruit tart will rock your world

Mix slightly underripe apricots with ripe nectarines for this delicious dessert

 

There’s nothing more delicious than a seasonal fruit tart. It feels decadent and special, reflecting the seasons – with blackberry and apple for autumn, sharp rhubarb for spring and ripe, sweet stone fruit for summer.

This is my go-to fruit tart recipe that I use for a variety of different fruits. I often add flavours to the frangipane filling, such as rosewater (great with the rhubarb) or orange water. Add some ground pistachios for a cherry or plum tart or ground hazelnuts and a little cocoa and top with slices of orange. It’s beautifully versatile.

This pastry freezes really well, wrapped in a disc, and the frangipane filling can easily be mixed with a wooden spoon in a bowl, making it fuss-free and with very little clean up. The beauty of this tart is its rustic and homemade nature, roughly gathered edges, spilling over with ripe fruit and best eaten the day it’s made.

There seems to be a different occasion every weekend lately, and a reason to bake and bring something delicious. I love to raid the garden this time of year and there are usually plenty of edible decorations to adorn your baking. From spicy nasturtium petals, carnations, primroses, to rose petals or pear and apple blossoms. Edible flowers look so pretty, I’ve always preferred them to the sugar paste decorations. Lemon balm and mint grow so well, both being quite invasive once planted into the ground. They both look very nice on desserts.

A few years back we had a plum tree in the garden that provided a huge crop of tiny but perfectly ripe plums. Most we ate standing around the tree in the garden, but the few that made it indoors were made into a tart. Some stone fruits can be grown here in Ireland, especially in polytunnels, although a south-facing, well-sheltered wall will provide the perfect place too. Our pear tree faces the sea and most of its blossoms have been blown away from the early summer sea breezes, so it won’t bear much fruit. It’s too old to relocate now, but our apple trees are in a more sheltered spot.

The outside wall of the diningroom in Ballymaloe Cookery School was adorned with precious peaches last summer. They seem even more special to have managed to grow in this climate.

I love mixing some slightly piquant, almost underripe apricots with ripe nectarines and peaches. Just make sure the fruit isn’t too ripe or it will be difficult to cut. Scatter with blueberries or raspberries for a pop of colour and even more flavour.

Serve this tart with softly whipped cream or yogurt. It really isn’t too sweet, giving the fruit an opportunity to shine.

STONE FRUIT TART

Serves 6-8

Ingredients
200g plain flour
140g cold butter
25g icing sugar
1 egg

The filling:
70g ground almonds
1 tbsp plain flour
70g butter
60g caster sugar
1 egg
4 nectarines
4 apricots

Method
1. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius, or equivalent.
2. Place the flour in a bowl, rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, mix in the egg.
3. Knead quickly and shape into a disc, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
4. Next, make the filling. Put the almonds and flour into a bowl. Add the butter and sugar, beat together with a wooden spoon. Add the egg and beat until it’s a smooth paste.
5. On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry to form a 30cm circle. Place onto a large greased baking sheet.
6. Spread the almond mixture over the pastry. Leave a border around the edges.
7. De-stone and thickly slice the nectarines and apricots. Layer them in a nice pattern and then fold up the sides of the pastry to keep the almond mix and fruit safely inside.
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.

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