For our honeymoon two years ago my husband and I took a cruise. It was amazing (so amazing in fact that we’re taking another cruise on the same boat next week, but that’s a story for another day). While on our cruise I had the most wonderful dessert. It was a lemon sorbet with a strawberry thyme sauce. It was so good that I asked for another one. I would have asked for a third and maybe even a fourth but it came at the end of a five course meal (you know how cruises are) and there wasn’t any room for more.
I think of that dessert from time to time, how well the fruit and the thyme played off each other. How incredible it was. I was thinking of it one day while I was in the grocery store and suddenly this tart came to me. Nectarines, sprinkled with fresh thyme, baked in a puff pastry crust.
Did such a thing exist? Would it work? I had no idea and so I decided to do an experiment.
I found a recipe online for a nectarine tart and went from there. I sliced the nectarines, placed them on the rolled out frozen puff pastry, brushed them with a syrup I made from butter, lemon juice, and peach preserves, and then sprinkled them with fresh thyme from my garden. They certainly looked good.
I put them in the oven to bake and before long the house was filled with the glorious smell of baking fruit. They smelled good too.
They came out of the oven looking delicious and I couldn’t wait to slice a piece and see what I had done. And you know what? They weren’t bad, not bad at all. Quite good actually! The star of this tart is definitely the nectarines. Although this recipe would work fantastically with any fresh stone fruit in season—peaches, plums, apricots, etc.
You won’t be blown away by this dessert, that’s probably true, but it’s good. It’s simple, both in preparation and in flavor. And sometimes simple is just what you’re craving.
My favorite way to eat these was cold out of the fridge, slathered with sweetened whipped cream. Perfect any time of day!
Nectarine Puff Pastry Tarts with Thyme
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Makes 8 servings
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 large nectarines, sliced
1/2 cup apricot preserves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed citrus juice, such as lemon or orange
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the preserves, butter, sugar, and juice. Stir occasionally. When fully melted, strain with a mesh strainer to remove any chunks of preserves. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to a large rectangle. Cut down the middle to form 2 smaller rectangles. Brush with the egg wash. Fold up the 20 long edges of the dough to form a border and brush the tops with egg wash*.
Line the puff pastry dough with the nectarines. Brush the nectarines with the melted preserves. Sprinkle with thyme.
Bake until puff pastry is golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve hot or cold with whipped cream, if desired.
*You may have noticed that I did not do this correctly. I folded up the short edge instead by mistake. Oops! Looks a little funny, but it still works.
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