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Inspired by summer holidays in Central Otago Nikki and Jordan Shearer have come up with with a recipe that celebrates the beautiful stone fruit our country produces.

You may recognise the names Nikki and Jordan Shearer. The mother-daughter duo began their cooking adventure together on season five of MasterChef NZ. Their distinctly Kiwi food philosophy is based on sharing, and cooking from the land using local, seasonal produce wherever possible. ‘NZ is great for foraging, local connections and insider secrets,’ they say. ‘These are the things that bring a special quality to a dish.’ From beach, to bach, to boat, to back yard, their food is designed to feed the whanau and generate treasured memories.

In this recipe they’ve softly poached the fruit to bring out the flavour, ‘but you can just as easily top the tart with sliced raw fruit and glaze with jam. We have chosen plums and apricots for this recipe but any stone fruit or berry would work just as well. You choose the shape of the tart, using mini muffin tins, normal muffin tins, rectangular tins or one big tart tin to serve the masses. We promise you… there will be none left!’

Summer stone fruit tarts with thyme and pistachio crumb

INGREDIENTS

Pastry:
1 ⅓ cup high grade flour
2 Tbsp caster sugar
90g butter, chilled and chopped into chunks
Pinch salt
1 free range egg

Filling:
250g cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
½ cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp rum (or your favourite tipple)

Topping:
1 cup water
½ cup caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
3 sprigs thyme
6 apricots (or your choice of stone fruit), halved and stone removed
6 plums, halved and stone removed

Praline:
½ cup caster sugar
2 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp pistachio nuts, shelled and lightly roasted

Extra thyme leaves for garnishing

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
  2. Place first four pastry ingredients into a food processer and blitz briefly until the mixture becomes like breadcrumbs. Add the egg and blitz until the dough starts to come together.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and quickly knead together until a soft, smooth dough is formed. Mould into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. While it is chilling, put all the filling ingredients into a food processer and blitz until combined and smooth. Chill.
  5. In a small saucepan heat the water, sugar, vanilla bean and thyme until the sugar is dissolved. Add the fruit and gently simmer for no more than 5 minutes, until the skin just starts to peel away. Remove fruit from heat, cool and remove skin. Discard poaching liquid.
  6. Spread the pistachio nuts on baking paper. In a small saucepan heat the extra water and caster sugar over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the toffee becomes golden in colour. Do not stir, but gently swirl the pan as the toffee caramelizes.
  7. When golden in colour pour over nuts and leave to set. When cool and brittle chop into a crumb or blitz in a food processor.
  8. When the pastry has rested roll out as thin as possible (approx 5mm thick) and cut into the desired shape to line your chosen tart tin.
  9. Line the pastry cases with baking paper and blind bake (fill with rice or similar) for 10 minutes. Remove baking paper and rice, and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes until golden. Remove and cool.
  10. Just before serving, fill shells with the cream cheese mixture, top with fruit halves, sprinkle with pistachio praline and garnish with thyme.

Nikki and Jordan began their cooking journey on MasterChef NZ. Their Kiwi food philosophy is based on sharing, and cooking from the land using local, seasonal produce. As busy mums and businesswomen, they strive to serve up no-fuss meals to feed the whanau and create treasured memories.
Follow them @onespoonnz

First published in Capital issue #39
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