Hello, my name is Rachel, and I am a perfectionist and an obsessive-compulsive, bossy, unstable control freak.
Doesn’t that just make you want to live with me forever and ever?
Don’t answer that.
Alas, I admit it, I am. I’m so glad I have you all here to support me.
The thing is, when I get an idea up in my head, I can’t let go of it. I saw a picture on the dreaded interweb the other year day of little rosettes made of mangoes. On a pie.
In addition, my mind was wrapped around the idea of marrying nectarines and gingersnaps.
Oh yeah, and I was so very intrigued by peach pits that I wanted to do something with noyaux, à la Bravetart.
Besides, I had already been hoping to freeze some peaches, what with the abundance right now, to save for winter.
So yes, today I am presenting you with not only a laminated dough, but also a labor intensive tart.
If, by the off chance, you aren’t as… shall we say, crazy… as me, feel free to dump the nectarine slices on haphazardly. It tastes good. That’s what matters.
I suppose I understand if you don’t want to undertake making croissants, but please, put them on your bucket list. They aren’t half as hard as they’re made out to be, and they will impress your friends and terrify your enemies.
And as for the peach pits? I managed to crack two open, using a giant mallet and some pliers, but gave up when I discovered that I had rent a gash in my favorite bamboo cutting board. (Damn pits!) While I possibly could have done something with those two measly noyaux, when I awoke the next morning, all the peach pits had been trashed. Ah, well.
Nectarine, Lemon, and Gingerbread Tart
For the crust: (adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
BIG pinch each of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, sea salt, and cardamom
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick very cold butter, cubed
1 tablespoon molasses
ice water as needed
Put the flour, sugar, spices, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Pulse in the butter and molasses until there are small bits of butter, ranging from sandy to pea-sized. If the dough is too dry, add in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until it can stick together when pressed. Press the dough into a buttered tart pan, prick with a fork, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil that has been buttered (press the foil right down into the pan), and freeze, for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, put some pie weights (you won’t need as many because the shell has been chilled) on top of the foil, and bake until deep golden brown and fragrant, 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.
For the filling:
3/4 cup lemon curd
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar (or to taste: it doesn’t need much)
Whip the heavy cream and mascarpone and powdered sugar together (I used an immersion blender because it is super fast and effective). Fold in the lemon curd. I actually made this in two parts, folding the lemon curd into some of the whipped mixture, then layering that into the tart with the plain whipped cream/cheese on top of that.
5 or 6 nectarines, sliced as thinly as possible
Pour the whipped filling into the tart shell, and smooth the top. To make nectarine rosettes, gently curl the thinnest pieces of nectarine you can find, and stick them into the filling. Then begin to place other pieces around, with less curl. Once you are sick of rosettes, you can just place gently curled pieces around and in between, to take away the white space and act as filler.
Whole Wheat Sourdough Croissants:
adapted from Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar
for the dough:
550 g white whole wheat flour
12 g kosher salt
3.5 g active dry yeast
370 g water, at room temperature
for the butter block:
2 sticks butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix all the dough ingredients together with a dough hook in a mixer, until smooth and supple. Place in an oiled container that is covered but still has air flow (like a bowl with a damp dish towel cover, or a plastic bucket with a top that has a few holes poked in it). If you want the sourdough component, stick the dough in your fridge for at least 2 days, but up to a week, then pull it out and let it come to room temp, then rise in a warm place until double its original size. If you don’t, allow the dough to rise to at least double its orignial size, then begin to make your croissants. When you’re ready to make the croissants, beat your butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Pat it into a 8 x 12 rectangle between two sheets of parchment paper. Put it in the fridge to firm up. Meanwhile, punch down the dough on a smooth, floured countertop, and roll/stretch it gently into a rectangle 16 x 24 inches, and even in thickness. Put your slightly firm butter block on one half of the dough, then fold the other half of the dough over and pinch the edges shut. Let rest for 10 minutes. Now, you must do 3 double book turns to create the layers. Here’s how: Roll the the dough out again to a rectangle of 16 x 24 inches and even in thickness. Be gentle, so that you don’t have any butter mushing out. Visualize your dough divided into 4 quarters. Fold the outer two quarters to the center, then bring one edge over to meet the other (Tosi says: When I’m showing someone how to make a double book turn, I stretch my monkey arms out wide like I’m going in for a big hug, then I fold my arms at the elbow, so my fingers are touching my armpits, and fold my elbows in to touch one another.) Now transfer your dough to the fridge to rest, wrapped loosely in plastic wrap, for 30 minutes. Repeat the double book turn twice more. After the final rest in the fridge, roll your dough out to a 16 x 24 inch rectangle, then cut the dough into 10 triangles (like a backgammon board), putting a small notch on the base of each Isosceles triangle. Roll em up, allow to rise for about 45 minutes, or until puffed up, then brush them with an egg wash (1 egg+1 teaspoon water), and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees F.