I LOVE instant – and this is about as instant as it gets in the world of sophisticated-seeming puddings.
Nectarine season – its pretty over really; consequently I ended up feeling a little cheated when my final box of nectarines turned out to be disappointingly fluffsome and unsatisfactory (shouldn’t really have been surprised, it was late September after all). I resolved to rectify their delightfulness with a little shove in the right direction and marry them with my New Favourite Ingredient (thanks Ants) – ricotta (why have I never used this stuff before this year… so sheltered). And so was born a soon-to-be-oft-made tart of great pleasure. Be sure to make it with other pudding shaped mouths around otherwise you will eat it all yourself.
1 cheat’s sheet of rolled puff pastry
1 tub good quality organic ricotta
Almond extract – my favourite is the natural and super-pungent Lochhead’s of St Louis, Missouri.
Freshly grated zest of 1 preferably organic lemon
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 tablespoon golden/light brown sugar
Method of execution:
A couple of hours before you begin, halve the nectarines into a bowl and toss around with the syrup and brown sugar and a generous half capful of almond extract. If the fruit is not well coated then sprinkle in a little more sugar/syrup. Give them a stir around every so often, the juices should run a bit and the whole should smell deliciously almondy.
Meanwhile, beat up the ricotta with the sifted icing sugar (just an excuse to use my beautiful new floral tin dredger 🙂 ), lemon zest and another half capful of almond extract. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Taste again, or several times to make sure – it’s so very tasteable.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Place the puff pastry sheet in a shallow baking tin and score around the edges to give a nice crisp puffy crust – about 1.5 inches from the edge will do. Spread the ricotta mixture over the main area of pastry and arrange the nectarines skin-side up in rows. Pour any syrup juices that have collected in the dish over the whole lot.
Bake for, I don’t know, about 15 or 20 mins, actually can’t remember – keep checking until pastry is crisp and gold around the sides and the nectarines are soft and (ah, finally..) delicious, as they should be.
Serve in big slices while still warm. Then call in favours from your happy friends/family/whoever was lucky enough to get some.