Why such a large proportion of us human beings should be so interested in the minutiae of lives that are as distant from our own existences as the sun, is always a surprise to me. As the polar caps melt, it is clear that the fiery orb will hold more sway over our lives than any George, Will or Harry. Rivers full of rowing boats on a rainy day, flowers piled high with mispelt, hearfelt sentiment, churches filled with strangers to religion, eyes brimming with tears at the drop of a curtsy. Real theatre beats all. The populus Romanus would gather at the Circus in their thousands for spectacle, heroics and a bit of bloodshed. Corporate hospitality suites must have been filled as at Wimbledon, and there would have been no shortage of tattooed fashionistas to enquire after Nero’s grandson’s Christening presents: I enjoyed that oxymoron. Any way, there’s plenty of fiddling going on while Europe burns, and for once my tart didn’t. So it’s away from bitter rage and back to serried ranks of nectarines in crisp, sugared puff pastry bathed in some warmed grape jelly. This is adapted from a clever recipe from Martha Stewart, who was herself the victim of a “thumbs down” not that long ago. Maybe she was not in the “big house” but in the “hot house” where she dreamed of delicious desserts in order to forget her own just ones.
a packet of frozen puff pastry
75 gms of sugar
3 large nectarines – remove the stones and slice each quarter into 3 pieces
a spoonful of flour to add to the sliced nectarines with the sugar
grape jelly or redcurrant or whatever takes your fancy
1/ Heat oven to 210C. Lay pastry on baking parchment and cut to a square shape if the pastry is round.
2/ Score the pastry with a knife to make a 1” border. Use a fork to prick holes all over the interior of the square, to stop it puffing up too much.
3/ Sprinkle some caster sugar on the edge border. Put the pastry in the fridge to chill for 30 mins.
4/ Bake pastry until golden and puffed up. About 15mins.
5/ Toss the prepared nectarines in a bowl with the sugar and flour. Press down any puffed up pastry and lay the nectarines in rows.
6/ Cover the tart with tin foil and cook in the oven for about 15mins.
7/ Warm your chosen jam or jelly and brush it over the tart.