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       Volume I - August 15, 2008

SMART Ideas!

Summer's Bounty: Healthy, Pretty,
and Take-Your-Breath Away Good!

by Alice Osborne

Fruit tarts are a great way to serve the bounty of fresh summer fruit, and when the crust is free-form, the livin’ is easy! This recipe is fun to make, too. You dip nectarine halves in sugar and pop them in a skillet ‘til the sugar caramelizes, then place them prettily on a tender crust and put the whole thing in the oven.

In a few minutes, sprinkle on some blueberries. When it’s done, you have an anti-oxidant-rich dessert that is gorgeous to look at and absolutely melts in your mouth.

Nectarine Blueberry Tart
Serves 8

6 nectarines
1/2 cup sugar
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or whole-grain pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup ice water
1/4 cup crushed anise or almond biscotti, or plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon 2 percent milk
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Cut nectarines in half and pit them. Place sugar in a shallow bowl and dip the cut side of each nectarine-half in the sugar to coat generously. Set aside.

3. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the fruit with the sugared cut side down, and cook 5 to 8 minutes, until the sugar melts and turns a deep golden-brown. Use a spatula to invert each nectarine half onto wax paper to cool. Spoon any remaining caramel from the skillet over the nectarines.

4. Mix together the flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar from the dipping process in a large bowl. Add the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes, and the cream cheese, and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work into the flour until pea-size pieces form.

5. Combine the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the ice water in a cup. Sprinkle the flour mixture with this lemon water, stirring gently with a spoon, and then add only enough additional ice water to make the dough gatherable into a ball. Flatten dough ball into a disk, cover bowl with parchment paper, and refrigerate 15 minutes.

6. Using the parchment paper as a base, roll out the dough to a 14-inch circle and transfer to a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the crushed biscotti or breadcrumbs.

7. Place a nectarine half, cut side down, in the center of the dough, then arrange remaining halves (cut side down) in a circle around it. Leave a 2-inch dough border all around the edge. Sprinkle allspice and 2 tablespoons sugar over the fruit. Fold dough border up over the edge of the fruit (a large amount of fruit will still show).

8. Brush the dough with the milk and sprinkle it with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 15 minutes at 425F, then scatter the blueberries over the nectarines, reduce heat to 375, and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, until fruit is tender and crust is golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

(Courtesy Fresh Choices, by David Joachim and Rochelle Davis, Rodale Press, 2004, via )

  Download this recipe.

(If YOU have a smart idea, won't you share it? Life is so much easier and we accomplish so much more when we pool our resources. And after all, we're all in this together. So email or with YOUR Smart Ideas!)

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