Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quick and Easy Stone Fruit Tart

Because sometimes you just need quick, right? 

I have to admit that I've been less than excited to get into my kitchen and bake lately.  We've had an unusual hot streak of weather around here and my kitchen has been in the 90 degree range for nearly a week now.  With no air conditioning and stores either sold on of fans or closed because of German holidays (can I tell you how over the random holidays I am?), there has been little relief.

There have been lots of popsicles and ice cream around here.  And giant wedges of watermelon, crisp and cool straight from the fridge.  We're doing what we can to make the best of the sticky (weather) situation.  But there were a few moments when I was craving something different.  Not something that would require me to stand forever in my kitchen whipping and mixing and sifting and measuring.  Not something that would need a hot oven for hours on end.  Something quick and easy and satisfying.

So I decided to slice up some fruit and make a tart.  Wait, didn't I say I didn't want tons of work and time involved in this treat?  Yup, sure did.  This is not your every day tart.  It's one I whipped up using a freezer staple- frozen puff pastry- and as few other ingredients as possible.  It's about as simple and delicious as it can get.  A couple of sliced nectarines and a handful of ripe cherries and you're in business.  Or apricots and raspberries.  Or a mix of plums.  Ooooh, that last one sounds good.....

Quick and Easy Stone Fruit Tart
Makes 2 tarts that  will serve 3 people each (6 total servings)
For the printable recipe, click here.

My goal with this tart was to make it as easy as possible.  So I didn't layer on a ton of flavors with the first one that I made.  That isn't to say that even as I sit here typing I can't think of a hundred ways to jazz the tart up- herbs, citrus zest, spices.  The options are endless and I'll suggest a few later on.  But if you just want pure, fresh fruit and a bit of buttery pastry stick to the basics.  Oh, and maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

1 piece of puff pastry from the freezer (preferably all butter if you can find it), thawed according to package directions
about 3 cups sliced stone fruit (depends on the size of fruit and what type you are using- for the tarts pictured above I used 2 nectarines and about 1 1/2 cups pitted and halved cherries)
3-4 teaspoons sugar (use less if you have very ripe, sweet fruit)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone liner.

Toss the fruit together with the sugar in a medium bowl.  Let sit for a few minutes to get nice and juicy.  In the meantime, slice your piece of puff pastry in half and lay the 2 pieces side by side on the prepared baking sheet leaving a good inch or two between them.  Spread the fruit evenly over the puff pastry leaving about 1/2 to 3/4 inch border around the edges.  If you'd like, you can sprinkle a pinch or two of sugar around the edges to give a little extra crunch.

Bake the tarts for about 15 minutes until the edges are a golden (but not dark) brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Suggestions for fruit combinations:
nectarines, peaches or apricots and cherries
mixed plums and pluots
peaches and raspberries
mix of yellow and white peaches

If you'd like to add in extra flavors try:
herbs such as lemon verbena or thyme
citrus zest- lime would be wonderful with any type of stone fruit
spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger or nutmeg

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