First let me start by saying thank you for the well wishes. They meant so much to me and I'm sure it's one of the reasons I'm feeling better.
Desserts have always been a challenge for me. I really don’t have a sweet tooth and I wouldn't consider myself much of a baker. But I’ve discovered that when you host a dinner party, people expect a dessert. So I’ve taken desserts as a challenge – something I want to learn more about. While Meakin makes a killer flaming Bananas Foster every bit as good as Brennans in New Orleans and also a fabulous crème brulee, we can't serve those at every dinner party.
When I saw this nectarine tart on Smitten Kitchen, it looked so beautiful I knew I had to give it a try. On the plus side for me, it sounded almost foolproof. All I had to do was make a gingersnap crust in the food processor and bake it for a few minutes. While the crust was in the oven, I beat the mascarpone and cream cheese together with a few flavorings in a bowl, sliced some nectarines, which happen to be one of my favorite fruits, and voila, I had made a gorgeous tart. Much to my surprise, it looked exactly like it did on Smitten Kitchen, who adapted the recipe from Bon Appétit. It was a tremendous boost to my confidence as a dessert maker.
By the way, one of the reviewers on Epicurious/Bon Appétit won a ribbon at her county fair for the tart. She substituted peaches for the nectarines. So this recipe is definitely a winner.
The original recipe calls for crystallized ginger, but Smitten Kitchen left it out because they didn't like it. It’s strictly up to you as to whether to use it or not. I didn’t use it because I didn’t have it on hand and it was scrumptious.
Be sure to make the tart at least two hours in advance of serving because it needs to be refrigerated. One day in advance also works. I’m of the same school of thinking as Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. Do as much as you can in advance for a dinner party. That way, you’ll enjoy your own party.
Nectarines as well as peaches are in the market right now, so if you’re looking for a tart with wow appeal and easy too, give this a try. For the recipe, here are the links to Smitten Kitchen and Epicurious/Bon Appétit. Smitten Kitchen has great cook-along pictures, which will also boost your confidence in how easy it is to make.