I know, I know. I’m late with these. I always do this: when it’s the end of the season for something, I must scramble to eat and cook as many of them as possible. So, as nectarines are waving goodbye, I must seize their waving hands and pull them back in the house for one more pastry.
That was a weird metaphor.
Don’t you love it when things accidentally turn out pretty? I didn’t mean for these to end up looking like antique roses. I just left the skins on the nectarines because I was feeling lazy, and I sliced them thinly because this phyllo crust bakes quickly and I wanted the fruit to cook equally quickly. Then I arranged the slices in circles because it was the first arrangement I thought of, and dang if they didn’t come out gorgeous. Thank you kitchen gods for serendipitous loveliness.
These tarts are fruit all the way through with little to distract from the syrupy sweetness of the nectarines. The phyllo crust is less intrusive than the more common shortcrust and shatters into buttery, papery shards the moment you cut into it. It’s a good tart for when your mother-in-law unexpectedly calls to say she’s going to drop by in an hour for tea. Oh this? I just whipped this up. Why yes, I do think it’s rather pretty.
Nectarine Phyllo Tarts
Makes four 4-inch tarts.
4 sheets phyllo dough, thawed if frozen
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 yellow or white nectarines
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Heat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
While working, keep the phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. Remove one sheet of phyllo and place it on a large work surface and brush it with the melted butter. Cut the phyllo in half lengthwise, then cut each half into thirds, so that you end up with six squares. Stack the six squares kitty-corner, alternating squares (i.e., square, diamond, square, diamond), then press the stack into a 4-inch tart mold. Top with a square of parchment and fill with pie weights or beans and repeat the process with the rest of the phyllo sheets.
Bake the phyllo shells for 6-8 minutes, then remove the parchment and pie weights and allow them to cool slightly while you prepare the filling.
Slice the nectarines into very thin wedges, about 3-4mm. Arrange the slices in concentric rings in the phyllo shells, overlapping each slice slightly. For the center, wrap and very thin slice of nectarine into a tight circle and press it into the middle of the tart.
Brush the tarts all over with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle them with the sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the fruit is warmed through and the phyllo is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
These tarts are best eaten the day they’re baked. They will keep for 1-2 days in the refrigerator, but the crust may get soggy.
Serve these tarts in their molds, as the phyllo crust does not have as much structural integrity as normal tart crusts, and may collapse outward if unmolded.
Music to cook by: A Case of You [Joni Mitchell // Blue]