Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gingersnap Nectarine Tart

I spied this recipe a while ago and have been wanting to make it ever since. I almost made it on several occasions but never ended up finding the mascarpone cheese it calls for. I know I live a little off the beaten path, but I didn't think it was THAT far off! Anyway, I eventually found out my local grocery indeed carried it, they were just out the times I was looking for it before. Mascarpone cheese is Italian cream cheese. It's thick and very creamy but not tangy like cream cheese. This was my the first recipe I have used it in and I was really excited to try it.

We shared this dessert with our friends and we all thought it was great. I liked using the gingersnap cookies for the crust because it's different than a typical graham crust and I also really like ginger. I think the stronger taste of the ginger also contrasts nicely with the creaminess of the filling and the sweetness of the nectarines.

This recipe calls for crystallized ginger, which I happen to have on hand because I make these muffins. I know it's not a very common ingredient and I'm sure if you leave it out you will still have good results. If the candied ginger is not your thing, you could try shaving a little fresh ginger into the filling (not sure if I would try ground ginger though).

You'll want to make this several hours ahead of time so the crust and the filling have time to chill and all the flavors have a chance to get comfy with each other. It's best to let it chill overnight.

For the crust:
34 gingersnap cookies, coarsely broken (about 9 ounces; about 3 1/4 cups)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 8-ounce container *mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger

For the topping:
4 to 5 small nectarines, halved, pitted, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup peach jam, warmed
gingersnap cookie crumbles

Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind gingersnaps in a food processor. Add butter and blend until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Place tart pan on a cookie sheet. Bake crust until color darkens, pressing sides with back of spoon if beginning to slide, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Beat first 6 ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in crystallized ginger. Spread filling in prepared crust. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Overlap nectarine slices atop filling in concentric circles. Brush with jam. Sprinkle with gingersnap cookie crumbles. Serve, or refrigerate up to 6 hours.

*Look here for a mascarpone cheese substitute.

SOURCE:Smitten Kitchen, originally from Bon Appetit

This recipe linked to And Baby Makes Five.

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