My instinctual response to any mention of Mary Berry is to immediately begin to pre-heat my oven in preparation for a bake. So, here I am, in the midst of the excitement of the start of the new season of The Great British Bake Off, staging my dramatic return to baking and blogging.
I am, by some luck, no longer compelled to date. In many ways this is a relief. All that incessant grooming and leaving the flat is a lifestyle that I am pleased to leave behind. My romantic success has, however, come with a cost. All this happiness has comprised my competence both in wit and in the kitchen.
While I’m still a terrible show-off, I am now missing that slight sense of urgency that gives a single woman the edge both in banter and in baking. I was never quite so brilliant as when I was displaying my accomplishments in an effort to attract a suitor. Much of my free time was spent crafting gleaming witticisms for upcoming text messages and equally charming flavour combinations for upcoming dinner dates.
Surely, the finest dinners and the finest dinner conversations must be the work of romantic-hopefuls. The romantically-content could not hope to compete.
My self-esteem is, thankfully, just low enough to have me seek the approval of many more people in addition to my beloved. I still display in an attempt to impress, and this keeps me and my tarts just passable. I am not what I used to be and so I apologise, dear reader, for the quality of the recipe to follow.
I was feeling particularly well loved on the day I made these Rose and Nectarine Tartlets:
- Whatever bit of pastry your can get your hands on. In my case it was a bit of shop bought puff-pastry that due to some scandals of improper storage had lost all its “puff”. Puff-pastry without its puff is, I suppose, short-crust pastry.
- Nectarines sliced and coated in a sprinkling of flour, sugar and a heavy splash or rose water.
If you have no rose water on hand you might try grinding some minced coriander leaf or basil leaf into the sugar as an equally sophisticated substitute.
Arrange coated nectarine slices on top of a bit of pastry ( I used a round pastry cutter to cut mine into large circles) and bake at about 200 degrees Celsius until pastry has browned and the sugar has melted.
I served these with a bit of cream cheese mixed with honey because I had it lying around.
Recommended variations for the slightly less content:
- Use pastry that has not been frightfully abused
- Do an egg wash on the parts of the pastry not covered with pastry
- Garnish with chopped pistachios
- Serve with whipped cream
Variations for those in search of true-love:
- Make your own puff-pastry. (As shown here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/video/2012/jul/09/how-make-puff-pastry-video)
If your pastry has puff you will have to prick holes all over the area on which the nectarine slices lie, to keep that area from puffing up.