When the sun’s out, I find it hard to shake the feeling of perpetual summer. I’ll be in a state of shock come October, obviously, but for now I’ll happily bask in all the sun’s glory – and all the amazing fruit it brings with it. Tangy cherries collapse in a pan and stain a fool with their crimson juices; apricots bake in a clafoutis and get an emerald sparkle from basil-scented sugar; raspberries and nectarines provide a fine match for a goats’ curd tart with the merest hint of sweetness to bring it to the right side of pudding. Then it’s over to Mexico (of course) with pineapple, coconut, mango and lime featuring in a bright, citrussy sorbet and a tea loaf that is indecently soft and squidgy. Well, we might as well enjoy the sunshine while we can.
Nectarine and raspberry goats’ curd tart
I eat so much goats’ curd that I found myself wondering how it might work in a pudding (I get mine from our local farmers’ market; the most widely available brand nationwide is probably Ribblesdale from North Yorkshire, which is sold in some supermarkets, but any specialist cheese shop will order some for you. Otherwise, look online). This tart was my first experiment, a cross between a cheesecake and a peach melba, and I hope you love it as much as I did. Serves eight to 10.
4 nectarines, quartered and stoned
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
30ml rum, brandy or bourbon
300g goats’ curd
150g cream cheese
2 tbsp icing sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or ½ tsp vanilla extract)
For the pastry
225g plain flour
35g icing sugar
1 pinch salt
120g chilled unsalted butter, chopped, plus extra for greasing
1 egg, separated, white lightly beaten with a fork
To make the pastry, blitz the flour, icing sugar, salt and butter in a food processor for 20-30 seconds, then add the egg yolk and blitz again until incorporated. Add just enough egg white to bind the mixture together (you’ll use the rest later), then roll the dough into a ball. Flatten slightly, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least half an hour, preferably an hour.
Lightly butter a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin, then coarsely grate the pastry directly into the tin. Use your fingers to press it evenly over the base and up the sides. Sprinkle with a little flour, then use a small glass to roll it flat. Prick the base all over with a fork, then freeze for 20 minutes (this will help stop the pastry shrinking in the oven).
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Cover the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, brush the base with the remaining egg white and bake for five to 10 minutes more, until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, toss the nectarines, two tablespoons of sugar and the booze in a bowl, then lay the nectarines cut side up on a lined baking tray. Roast for 10-12 minutes, until just soft (less if they’re very ripe), then leave to cool.
In another bowl, whisk the curd, cream cheese, egg, icing sugar, lemon zest and vanilla seeds until smooth. Spoon into the cooled tart case, smooth the top, then place the nectarine pieces in concentric circles over the top and scatter the raspberries in between. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until beginning to turn golden and just firm. Leave to cool before serving.
A big and belated thank you to Thomasina.