Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nectarine & Mascarpone Tart

The very first thing SP & I made in our kitchen after we moved in - after all the painting & unpacking was finished, after my mom had returned to Las Vegas and we were finally alone in our new home - was Nectarine & Mascarpone Tart in Gingersnap Crust from the July 2002 Bon Appetit.

That was nearly 2 years ago, Labor Day 2008. We really enjoyed the tart that Labor Day and have been meaning to make it again. Of course, somehow, we never got around to making it again - until this past weekend. Spurred by the lovely nectarines purchased at the farmers market and my desire to bake something, we decided to again make this tart.The crust is simple: buy gingersnap cookies, finely grind them in food processor, add half a stick unsalted butter (melted), combine and press into tart pan, bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Last time we made this, SP was living gluten free, so I am pretty sure we made our own gluten free gingersnap cookies (but it's also possible we bought gluten free cookies; I cannot remember). This time, we used store bought. Last time, we used the food processor to grind the cookies. This time, we put them in a ziploc bag and pounded them into crumbs (we didn't feel like cleaning the food processor...).Have I mentioned how much SP loves the knives Googer gave us? He does - and they made chopping the crystallized ginger a snap.

The filling is equally easy. Mix together mascarpone, cream cheese, sour cream, crystallized ginger, vanilla, lemon peel, and sugar. Spread in cooled crust and refrigerate at least 2 hours.We were a bit torn on how to handle the topping. Last time, we made this tart for a Labor Day gathering, so many people ate it and there were 1-2 slices leftover. This time, the tart is just for us, so ideally it needs to stay fresh for 4-5 days. We didn't want the topping to make the filling soggy and chopped nectarines wouldn't stay pretty for too long. Here's our 'solution:'We make a peach cheesecake which has melted peach preserves poured over top before being topped with peach slices. So instead of topping this tart with nectarine slices and then brushing with preserves, we decided to do it like the cheesecake: spread the preserves over the top of the tart and then top with fruit slices. The preserves 'firm up' in the refrigerator, so the tart won't get soggy/wet from the preserves.

In order to always have pretty and tasty nectarine slices, we decided to slice the nectarines as needed. However, so that we could have a pretty photo, we sliced one nectarine and fanned the slices out in a circle in the middle of the tart. After taking the photo, we picked off the slices, cut ourselves each a piece of tart, and divided the nectarine slices between our two tart slices:The tart was just as tasty as we remembered. Not too heavy, like a cheesecake can sometimes be, a lovely ginger flavor from the gingersnaps and crystallized ginger, and juicy local nectarines. Yum! Maybe we'll have to make this an 'every Labor Day' dessert just like the fruit tart seems to be an 'every July 4' dessert.

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