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Nectarine tart

Pastry made with cream cheese is richer and more crumbly than shortcrust There are also fewer calories It has a delicious flavour which goes beautifully with fresh nectarines, but plain shortcrust can be used instead, if you prefer When using ordinary shortcrust pastry, you will need 150-175 g (6 oz) dough for a 20 cm (8 inch) fluted flan tin.
Do not overcook the nectarines: they must keep their shape or the whole look of the tart will be spoilt.

ingredients

makes 6 slices
100 g (4 oz) fresh cream cheese
100 g (4 oz) plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon caster sugar

filling

4 nectarines
300 ml (1/2 pint) water
50 g (2 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons redcurrant jelly or sieved apricot jam, for glazing

method

1. Make the pastry: beat the cream cheese with a wooden spoon until soft and smooth. Add the flour and sugar and continue beating until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Using your fingers, draw the mixture together to make a soft dough.

2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead briefly; wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour (and up to 24 hours).

3. Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and use to line a loose-based, 20 cm/8 inch fluted flan tin. Prick the base with a fork, then line with a large circle of greaseproof paper or foil and weight down with baking beans.

5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove paper or foil and baking beans and return to the oven for a further 10 - 15 minutes until pastry is set and lightly coloured. Remove the sides of the tin, slide the pastry case on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: put the water into a heavy-based saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil, without stirring, and simmer for 1 - 2 minutes.

7. Halve and stone the nectarines and lower into the syrup with a slotted spoon. Cover and poach gently for above 5 minutes until just tender. [J] Remove the pan from the heat. Lift nectarines out of the syrup with the slotted spoon and leave to cool completely. Reserve 1 tablespoon of syrup in the pan.

8. Assemble the tart: place the pastry case on a serving plate. Skin nectarines, if liked, then cut into thick slices or leave the halves intact and arrange them carefully in the pastry case.

9. Add jelly or jam to reserved syrup and stir well over low heat until melted. Allow the glaze to cool until beginning to thicken, then brush over the nectarines. Leave to set before serving.

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