burnt nectarine tart (but not on purpose)

burnt nectarine tart

It took me a long time to get the hang of making pie dough. Then l I discovered the beauty of a galette: no shrinkage, no worries about rolling a perfect circle and no pie weights needed when baking. A  charmingly rustic freeform galette wins over a pie in my books – at least when I’m baking. So when I decided I wanted to try my hand at tart dough, I started to sweat.

Tart dough should be a bit sturdier and thicker than the average pie dough. I wanted to create something more akin to a buttery sugar cookie, so I headed online to see what I could find. I landed on David Lebovitz’s easy jam tart recipe that seemed ideal for my purposes: I had jam + I had nectarines. I also found Deb’s great unshrinkable sweet tart shell recipe and that suited my ingredient list a bit more, so I borrowed here and there and got to it. The resulting dough came together easily and it was buttery and tasted like an almond cookie (the almond extract I added was a nice touch). However, after the dough chilled in the fridge, I closed my computer and decided to pursue the rest of the recipe on my own. That’s where things started to go wrong.

burnt nectarine tart

Instead of following one of the tart recipes to the end, I went solo and blind-baked my tart dough which is where things got a little too golden and way too dark too quickly. Maybe my oven was too high or maybe I should never had pre-baked this tart dough to begin with. Maybe you’ve got the secret to a great tart and trust me, I’d love to hear your secrets. I removed the much-too-golden crust from the oven, brushed it with some of my favorite raspberry jam (warmed up to make the brushing easy), I laid some sliced nectarines over top. Ideally, I was hoping for a pretty circle of perfectly aligned fruit, but things just got higglety-pigglety and I let the nectarines fall. It’s rustic, right? I brushed the tops with more warmed jam and back into the oven it went.

Maybe I could have saved everything if I had the kind of kitchen that stocked aluminum foil. I rarely have aluminum foil and I was thinking of banning it completely from my kitchen since it’s just so disposable*. It could have been that all I needed was a small square of the shiny stuff so that the delicate edges wouldn’t have born the brunt of my intense oven. Maybe.

rescued tart?

About twenty minutes later, when I removed this thing from the oven, I was crushed. But my husband, always the dessert trooper, was keen to dig right in. So how did it taste? Well the crust was overdone, obviously. It was too sturdy and too hard and it just wouldn’t cut easily with the side of a fork. However, the flavour was bang-on, minus the burnt bits. And the nectarine and jam topping? Perfect. Of course we finished the tart. Nothing a giant floppy dollop of bourbon & honey cinnamon whipped cream and a few ripe blackberries couldn’t handle.

So what did I learn from all of this? Follow a recipe through before improvising – at least when it comes to precise things like baking. Also, blind baking isn’t always necessary. And most importantly, watch your crust & use aluminum foil (or a pie shield) to prevent the tart edges from burning. Burning a tart is a sad, sad thing but look on the up-side because there’s always whipped cream.

burnt tart

* I should note here that I have successfully stopped using plastic wrap! I’m pretty happy about this. When I’ve got a plate or bowl of something I just use another plate upside down as a lid. Works like a charm. Look ma, less plastic!

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27 comments to “burnt nectarine tart (but not on purpose)”

  1. 1
    brandi   August 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    This looks delicious! And bourbon & honey cinnamon whipped cream?! Be still my heart! I’m in love.

    (And believe it or not, I kind of like crispy edges sometimes.)

  2. 2
    tracy   August 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    burnt or not burnt, i’d still eat the heck out of this!

  3. 3
    Kim @ Two Good Cookies   August 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Oooh…that’s just the worst when you work so hard on something and it doesn’t turn out. In all honesty it doesn’t look that bad…I would definitely still dig right in!

  4. 4
    ursula @ apples&almonds   August 26, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    this looks tasty as! and i think your nectarines look perfect like that, rather than in a concentric circle. win!

  5. 5
    margie   August 26, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I was reading and thinking about tart dough recipes, and then I stumbled at “bourbon & honey cinnamon whipped cream”. I think I drooled on my keyboard a bit.

    I only blind bake my crusts in certain situations – and I only fully bake them when the filling is unbaked. I’ll regularly blind-par-bake (that’s awkward…) crusts when I’m filling with a custard or other liquid; otherwise, I’ll leave the tart unbaked.

    Also, I don’t know if it’s just my oven, but I regularly make a little crown of foil for the edges, as I find that they brown much faster than the rest of the tart – there’s always a balance between brown=caramelized and black=burnt.

    Oh, and I use Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, but almost always with 1/2 C of the flour replaced with freshly ground almonds. I think next time I’m going to try Deb’s suggestion and add the whole egg instead of just the yolk, though.

  6. 6
    Kristen   August 26, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Aluminum foil isn’t disposable (or, I guess it is, if you want it to be) — it’s recyclable, like cans. I use <1 roll of foil a year, but those times I need it, I *really* need it.

  7. 7
    Kiersten   August 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Burnt or not, it looks good to me! I have had my fair share of burnt crusts over the years too. They are not one of my favorite things to make.

  8. 8
    Joanne   August 27, 2010 at 3:22 am

    If it makes you feel any better, I have never attempted pie or tart dough just because I am too scared of it! yes I am a baby in many respects. Oh but the filling sounds so lovely!

  9. 9
    KatyBelle   August 27, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Aluminum foil is recyclable as long as you make sure it’s clean!

  10. 10
    kickpleat   August 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Brandi, the whipped cream certainly helped to smooth out all the rough (& burnt) edges!

    Tracy, and that’s why I love you!

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Kim.

    Ursula, thanks. I think it ended up looking pretty good in the end. Though I’d really love to create that perfect concentric circle one day.

    Drool is perfectly acceptable, Margie. And thanks so much for the helpful tips!

    Kristen, thanks. I did re-use my foil and my box did last me almost 2 years, but I was hoping that there might be another solution. I guess not.

    Thanks Kiersten! Though don’t give up. I’m going to try again and you should too :)

    Joanne, I’m totally shocked!

    Thanks for the tip, KatyBelle!

  11. 11
    maija   August 27, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Mmn, the fruit part looks so delicious. I’ve been meaning to make pie all summer, but I’ve got admit that good ole apple pie is my fave, so maybe it will be a September endeavor when the apples start rolling into the farmer’s market. I have a basic metal pie shield, and it’s totally worth it. It’s reusable, and sometimes, I have baked the pie without it, and then just put it on near the end to protect the edges once they are nicely browned. It’s way easier to do this w/a shield than foil, as the foil never seems to stay on the pan right in a circle shape.

  12. 12
    6512 and growing   August 27, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    With a box of local Colorado peaches on their way, I know what I’m making next! What do you think about making a bunch of pie filling and freezing it?

  13. 13
    hag   August 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    That looks fantastic! Congratulations! I don’t think it is too dark…just on the cusp. Besides then you get really nice crunchy bits!

  14. 14
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)   August 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Oh no, but it is beautiful! I have seriously lessened my waste here too. I swear we recycle more than we throw away and I never use plastic. Sorry for the frustration with your dessert, but I am guessing it is worth giving another try. I am sad to admit this, but I like burnt edges. There, I said it. I hope you have a good weekend!

  15. 15
    Bijoux   August 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Yes, the cornmeal pate brisee is an easy and delicious recipe. I made it and it was so good! Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with this nectarine pie. It may be a bit crispier than what you were expecting but in the end it’s all good. Whip cream and all! I don’t say no to sweets even the less perfect ones :)

  16. 16
    newlywed   August 29, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Oh no! Glad I am not the only one who can feel completely crushed by a baking project gone awry…you live and learn!

  17. 17
    Jada   August 29, 2010 at 7:05 am

    I am SO excited that I’ve stumbled upon your blog. Everything on here looks yummy! I really love baking so the nectarine tart should be next on my list of things to bake.

  18. 18
    kickpleat   August 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Maija, great to hear that the pie shield does work well! I’ve only just recently heard about them. And apple pies are totally my favorite too. C’mon September!

    6512 & Growing, I’ve never made pie filling to freeze, but I think it should work well. I always do have a freezer of frozen fruit and just pull out what I need. I like freezing the fruit alone (without any other additions) so that it’s more versatile – that way, I’m not stuck with just making pies.

    Well, thanks Hag!

    Thanks Sarena, I’m with you on the recycling & we are definitely using less plastic (trying to reduce it to zero).

    Bijoux, I knew you’d like this tart no matter what!

    Thanks for the sympathy, Newlywed! Live & learn indeed.

    Thanks Jada!

  19. 19
    Lucy   August 31, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I would still definitely enjoy a large slice of this tart! I love the way you have arranged the nectarines, they are so pretty :)

  20. 20
    Dana   September 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I always prefer overdone to underdone when it comes to crust. And fruit for that matter. I’m so glad you are using that pan!

  21. 21
    kickpleat   September 2, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Thanks Lucy!

    Dana, I LOVE this pan so much – big thanks to you & your awesome kindness!!

  22. 22
    Jessie   September 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    woah! this looks awesomeliscious! the colour just gives your tart more character :P

  23. 23
    Ashley   September 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Sorry to hear this didn’t turn out quite as you’d hoped but it looks amazing. And I love all sorts of pie crusts.. flaky ones, crisp ones, hard ones, soft ones. So I know I would’ve been happy to have a slice of this!

  24. 24
    kickpleat   September 4, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Thanks Jessie for the vote of confidence!

    Ashley, glad that there’s a contingent out there for hard burnt crusts ;)

  25. 25
    bellcurves   September 6, 2010 at 6:18 am

    it may be burnt but it still looks absolutely delicious. i’m still impressed, and i’d have a slice of this with some vanilla ice cream! and good luck next time. pies and tarts are fun to make, and also an art that sometimes takes trial and error.

  26. 26
    jenn hill   September 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I too, have quit using plastic wrap. I was surprised at how simple it was. Instead we use more glass jars, dish towels and a bit of recycled and recyclable foil. Hooray for that!

  27. 27
    kickpleat   September 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks Bellcurves, I’m excited to try again soon. I’m fine with trial and error as long as the errors aren’t too nasty.

    Jenn, glad you’ve quit too! It doesn’t seem like a big deal and it was really simple to just stop. Hooray!

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