Lavender Nectarine Tartlets

Friday, June 17, 2005

Lavender Nectarine TartAre you ready for a Sugar High Friday Moment? If you are abstaining from sweets, now is your chance to click away. It’s not often that I encourage my readers to stray, but if your eating habits are… say, elsewhere, I’ll allow it this once.

From the Food Pimp on High comes this month’s Sugar High Friday theme, Tarts. Smirk, coming from the Food Porn King, its no surprise his interest would lie in this direction.

Lavender Nectarine TartTarts are a classic presentation to frame the best the season has to offer. A classic tart consists of a slightly sweetened crust with a filling of sweet and flavored custard, topped with beautiful fruits and glazed with jelly. Sweet tarts tend to dominate, however a savory tart is quite the lovely find for an afternoon bite. The defining rule is that tarts wear no top- that is, have no top crust.

I have a treasure of a cookbook I have been waiting to dive into. The Nichols Garden Nursery, who wows their spring time guests with lavender and geranium treats, has compiled a luscious little cookbook of herb inspired recipes titled, Basic Herb Cookery. This northwest corner of the country is studded with nurseries and seed farms. The Nichols nursery is a nice drive outside of Eugene and sponsers a special Plant Day that features some of Rose Marie Nichol’s recipes and good sales on their plants. I was lucky to visit Nichols after I made lavender truffles for friends, who still aren’t too sure about the flavor combination. With lingering doubts about my tast buds, I wandered into Nichols to find an offering of lavender ice cream and lavender lemonade! A woman after my own heart, Rose Marie’s family is very lucky to have a family cookbook at their fingertips. Before diving between the pages of this cookbook I’ve patiently held out for my local produce markets to be bursting with sticky sweet treats. My taste buds have told me my endevours weren’t premature.

“Talking of Pleasure, this moment I was writing with one hand, and with the other holding to my Mouth a Nectarine — how good how fine. It went down all pulpy, slushy, oozy, all its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat like a large, beatified Strawberry.”
John Keats

Lavender Nectarine TartAhem, you did catch he was talking about a nectarine didn’t you? A nectarine is a fuzzless variety of peach. An odd variation perhaps, but then again, the realm of human taste is vast and varied and passion tends to drive such creations.

Out of respect for my small nursery friends, I will not be publishing this tartlet’s recipe. A tart is such an easy creation to materialize with your own inspiration, I know you can summon this one with gentle guidance. This tartlet begins with a toasted almond pastry shell, filled with lavender custard shaded by a pinch of saffron. The top is adorned in juicy nectarine slices and glazed with apricot jelly.

Talking of Tarts, this moment I am typing with one hand, and with the other holding to my Mouth a Lavender Nectarine Tartlet — how good how fine. It glistens first with sunlight’s bejeweled fruit then goes down with saffron blush, slight tremor of lavender filling my mouth like a hallowed Fruit Danish.

Round up of all 57 Tantalizing Titillating Tempting Tarts is available at Life in Flow.

15 Comments

posted June 17th, 2005 at 4:54 am

Hi McAuliflower,
this tart looks amazing! I just tried some lavender crème brûlée and actually loved the lavender taste (I wasn’t quite sure when I started off) – lavender custard in combination with nectarines sounds like the perfect summer tart ;)

posted June 17th, 2005 at 5:48 am

Great post. I particularly love the photo of the rose topped tart.

- Nic
posted June 17th, 2005 at 6:14 am

I love love love this tart! If I make it to Eugene by this afternoon can I have my own little tartlet?

posted June 17th, 2005 at 6:15 am

Wow, that sounds (and looks!) beyond delicious. I am so hooked on lavender these days (not to mention saffron!), and I can just imagine how well it goes with sweet, juicy nectarines. If you have any of these left over, would you mind Fed-Exing them to Scotland? ;)

posted June 17th, 2005 at 6:48 am

Those tartlets look absolutely gorgeous – good work, McCauliflower!

Glad to see you out at another SHF – perfect job as usual!

posted June 17th, 2005 at 8:57 am

they look like little sunshines.
we need some of that in san francisco
please send one South, right away,
thanks

- sam
posted June 18th, 2005 at 9:49 am

Thank you all for the yummy comments!

posted June 19th, 2005 at 5:25 am

Oh! Oh! Gorgeous! I think I can almost smell it from here! But oh dear, you’ve put it in such strong words, I’m afraid I can’t justify my SHF-contribution as beeing exactly tart-worthy… Ah heck, a tart is a tart is a tart!;-)

That just means yours has a layer to go thru :)

— McAuliflower

posted June 19th, 2005 at 2:17 pm

Those look beautiful! I haven’t been a big fan of peaches and nectarines until I started eating them in tarts. They make a perfect filling. I have also found that Nappage (apricot jam) can turn the most boring looking tart into a shiny masterpiece — just like yours :) .

posted June 20th, 2005 at 4:38 am

Hi McAulliflower – such a gorgeous-looking tart! I love nectarines but never used for desserts, I think I must try soon although I’m not sure if I try it with lavendar…

posted June 20th, 2005 at 11:59 am

oh, oh, OH! i love the ring around the rosie one, too! and the lavendar touch is so unique – love it!

posted June 20th, 2005 at 2:26 pm

hi mcauliflower, the combination of ripe nectarines and lavender sounds intriguing yet fabulous! makes me want to head for the kitchen and try the combination…cheers,j

- J
posted June 20th, 2005 at 9:53 pm

Beautiful tart. I can’t believe I didn’t discover your site earlier. Wonderful quotation from Keats. Kudos!

- Aun
posted June 22nd, 2005 at 5:41 pm

I find the taste of lavender unbearably vile. I can’t imagine how anyone ever envisioned it as a food product.

I think one of the keys to using lavender in food is “easy does it”. It is all too easy to overdose your palate on this flavor! Some of the best lavender dishes I’ve had contain only a breath of lavender in the background. This tart recipe called for one drop of food grade lavender essential oil for the custard base (3-4 cups of liquid), or 1-2 tsp of lavender blossoms steeped in the cream.

My most memorable lavender dishes, which I heartily recommend curious foodies to try out:
- lavender thyme creme brulee
- lavender dark chocolate truffles
- lavender shortbread

In particular the lavender thyme creme brulee was spectacular. Both the thyme and lavender lent an earthy note that rolled around in the background flavors of the custard with vanilla. Lavender flavor acts as a nice base flavor note and with increased concentration moves into an almost lemony gin-like top note category.

–McAuliflower

posted October 26th, 2006 at 4:25 pm

Hi I Have the most declicious English lavender “Royal Velvert” best ever for sweet culinary. Let me know if you would like a sample. Thank you, Joanna Callowa

- Lavender Peddler

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