Now that you’ve got the pastry under your belt, onto the good stuff!
My market dictates that I use either apples, plums or nectarines but nectarines are the way to go for me as my friend Elaine has just given me a basketful that Peter picked this morning from their laden tree. I’m sure you’ll notice the sudden leap in stellar photography! This is courtesy of Elaine Graham. You can see more of her fabulous work on www.fluidr.com/photos/varenneistanbul.
How about where you are? Let the season be your guide.
You will need 3-4 apples/ nectarines/pears, depending on size and according to the size of your tin or dish. Or half a kilo of smaller fruit like plums. The plums that we are getting here right now are very small so it depends. If you run out of the fruit you had started out using, never mind, just make a pretty pattern in the middle with a different variety!
Prepare the fruit: wash it, peel if necessary, remove stones or pips and then cut in half, quarters, and smaller as you wish. Then arrange them in a circular pattern round and round your dish. You could also just pile it all in if you wanted a more rustic look. You can add some cinnamon (for apple) or nutmeg (for plum) if you feel in the mood. Don’t forget your little shapes if you made any. Finally, sprinkle with granulated sugar and little knobs of butter and stick it in your preheated oven for about 40 – 45 mins. The pastry will turn a beautiful golden brown and the fruit will be all soft and luscious.
- Sprinkling ground nuts over the top of the tart before you put it in the oven makes it look even more attractive. Walnuts are great. Flaked almonds look sophisticated.
- Sometimes the fruit (eg apples) is not particularly juicy and you will end up with a dry old tart. So judge it accordingly: the amount of sugar that you sprinkle should therefore be a bit more (let’s say, 3 heaped tbsp) and likewise the little knobs of butter. They will melt and merge and make your offering more mouthwatering!