Justine D’s Lavender Nectarine Tart
Justine D. is cooler than you. She is gorgeous and has fabulous taste and wears pretty frocks and simply is the sweetest girl you have ever met. She would invoke envy and ire if she weren’t just so damn nice. And she is just so cool because the nice is not what one would expect from a NYC DJ that throws the coolest parties in the coolest clubs and for 8 years threw arguably the coolest downtown party ever, Motherfucker. One might expect someone perhaps a little tougher, a little bitchier. But not Justine D. She got even cooler after Motherfucker when she decided to become a baker of all things. You heard moi, a baker. She graduated with flying colors in 2010 from the French Culinary Institute, and has been in the kitchen, baking to music ever since – when she is not busy being featured in Martha Stewart Living, that is.
We are thrilled to give you Justine D’s first Resident Recipe, Lavender Nectarine Tart.
One thing I love making for a dinner party, is a seasonal fruit tart. Having a single fruit take center stage, encased in a delicate all butter shell is a gratifying way to end any meal. Traditionally, French tarts rarely have a top crust but I wanted to treat this recipe as a hybrid of a traditional American pie and a classic French pastry. I did after all, work as the Sunday baker at Four & Twenty Blackbirds for one year and the beauty of pie has been engrained into my head.
10 ripe nectarines (unpeeled)
1/4 cup aromatic honey such as orange blossom or clover
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp dried lavender flowers
500 grams of pâté brisée
1 Tbsp of unsalted butter for greasing your tart pan
Pâté brisée recipe
270 grams cake flour, sifted (not self rising)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
65 grams unsalted cold butter (cubed)
30-40 milliliters ice water
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
9″ tart pan with removable bottom
Pastry wheel or chefs knife for cutting lattice
Make your pâté brisée
This can be done the night before as letting it rest in the fridge overnight will aid in giving you a much more tender dough. If the night before isn’t an option, be sure to let your dough rest for at least one hour before rolling it out.
Mix cake flour, salt, and sugar by hand.
Cut in cold butter with pastry cutter until the pieces of butter resemble the size of peas.
Slowly add water and gently incorporate by hand making sure the dough is neither dry nor too wet.
Form into a disc and wrap well with saran wrap.
The small chips of butter create pockets of steam when baking in the oven. This form of mechanical leavening is how a light, crisp, and impossibly delectable crust is achieved.
Grease your tart pan and set aside
Cut and prepare your nectarines
Cut nectarines into 1/2″slices.
Add your honey first as this is a wet ingredient. (Adding it last would make your dry ingredients clump together).
Add all of your dry ingredients and stir everything by hand.
Roll out your pâté brisée
Weigh out 350 grams of pâté brisée. Wrap and refrigerate the remaining 150 grams (you will be using this for the lattice top).
Rollout using a French rolling pin. I prefer this type of rolling pin since it provides me with more control over the traditional “roller” rolling pin.
Roll out to 1/4″ thickness with at least a 1/2″ overhang and gently place into the tart shell, pressing down into the sides and bottom.
Fill your tart shell with the nectarine mixture and refrigerate.
Cut your lattice pieces
Shape the remaining 150 grams of pâté brisée into a rectangle.
Roll to 1/4″ thickness and using a pastry wheel, cut your dough into eight equal strips of desired width.
If your dough becomes too warm during the rolling and cutting process, refrigerate the strips for ten minutes. Working with warm dough can cause the butter to leak out, rendering your final crust to be less flaky.
Place your lattice top on your tart
This can be a little tricky for some but just take your time.
1. Lay out four parallel lattice strips on top of the filling, with about ½” to ¾” space between them. Fold back every other strip.
2. Place one long strip of dough perpendicular to the parallel strips. Unfold the folded strips over the perpendicular strip.
3. Take the parallel strips that are running underneath the perpendicular strip and fold them back over the perpendicular strip.
4. Lay down a second perpendicular strip of dough next to the first strip, with some space between the strips.
Unfold the folded parallel strips over the second strip.
5. Continue this process until the weave is complete over the top of the tart.
6. Trim the edges of the strips flush with the dough of the underlying tart pan, which should be about half an inch over the sides. Fold back the rim of the shell over the edge of the lattice strips, and crimp to secure.
Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart on a metal sheet pan. Brush on a generous amount of egg wash and a sprinkling of turbinado sugar.
Bake for 1-1.5 hours (depending on how powerful your oven is), rotating halfway through.
Rarely do I have set times for baking. What you are looking for here is the fruit juice to thicken and bubble through the lattice strips, the fruit to be tender when pierced with a knife, and the crust should be a deep golden brown.
Let cool completely before serving.
Gently remove the tart from the pan.
Serve at room temperature with fresh whipped cream.