Well this tart is just fancy as can be. It tastes pretty amazing too. It’s a major pain to make – one of the more difficult recipes I’ve attempted thus far for sure – but it really is worth it both in taste and appearance.
You start with a baked 9-inch tart shell. Then you take a bunch of ripe (but not too ripe) nectarines and you slice them fairly thin, leaving the peel on.
Then you make the nectarine “roses” by folding the slices, peel side up, around one another, spiraling from the inside out. If that doesn’t make any sense, don’t fret because the MSBH has some instructional photos that help you along. I won’t lie and tell you this process is clean or easy. It is both messy and difficult.
Each rose is monumentally unruly and hard to keep together, as the slices become slippery and don’t like being curved. With more handling and time exposed to the air, the slices become more and more slippery and uncooperative. What’s more is that transferring the finished roses to the tart pan causes them to loosen which means you pretty much have to reassemble them all over again in the tart pan. And then they loosen again while sitting there with nothing to hold them together. In other words, this tart is very much an exercise in patience and determination.
I have to admit, however, as troublesome as the nectarine slices were to work with, seeing the roses take shape was very rewarding. I won’t deny I called few people to declare “I made roses! With nectarines! And they look just like roses! Made from nectarines!”
Once the entire pie was filled with the nectarine roses, I wanted a picture looking straight down onto the tart. My camera lens requires about two feet of distance to take a photo that would capture the whole tart. I didn’t want to put the pan on the floor, nor did I want to drag out my step-ladder, so I did a series of photos where I would hold the camera up over my head and try to just aim the lens at the tart. I never got a picture that framed the entire tart, but I love the picture below – I think it’s my favorite picture I’ve taken since I started this project. I love that my little bookcase is in the shot to the left (it holds all my cooking and baking books) and that the dwindling pile of nectarine slices is documented on the right. I may print this out and hang it in my kitchen, I love it so much!
A filling made from sugar, browned butter (yum!), lemon juice, and brandy is poured over the nectarines and then the tart is baked until set.
The nectarines lose a lot of their bright color while baking, but the rich sweet smell they give off more than makes up for it. You’d think that a tart this pretty wouldn’t have to taste all that amazing, but this one goes ahead and tastes like a million bucks. Truly, there’s nothing lacking here: it looks elegant, smells delicious, and tastes like a perfect fruit tart should taste – bright and sweet and lovely in every way.
I served this at an evening dinner with friends and although I tried to snap some photos of the individual slices on plates, without any natural light to work with (the sun had long disappeared by the time we moved on to dessert), none of the photos do the tart justice. Food and artificial light and photography just don’t mix. But I can report that the tart holds up well when sliced and everyone was very impressed!