Tarts are for dreamers: Blueberry nectarine tarts

Fruit Tart 3

I think most people, buried in the to-do lists of their day-to-day lives, probably have some sort of pipe dream, an “I’ll do this someday when life slows down and the timing is right” sort of thing, that they keep coming back to when day jobs get too busy, overwhelming or stressful, and they just feel like throwing in the towel and running in a totally different direction. For Jared and I, that pipe dream involves moving to some sleepy coastal town and opening a great little coffee shop/bakery/bookstore/art gallery, where we spend our days covered in flour (me), drinking copious amounts of coffee (him) and chatting with customers about Hemingway, Dickens and the latest local artist whose work adorns our walls.

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I’ll admit, on a lot of days, that dream sounds pretty awesome. Peaceful. Slower. Quiet. But of course, there are dreams, and there is real life. There are real jobs to do, real bills to pay, real needs to fill. Oh, and there are those pesky student loans, too. Student loans for educations that, though certainly fueled and arguably achieved through mountains of coffee and books, have very little to do with running a small business that caters to such things. So for now, we keep dreaming. And that’s probably a good thing.

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So we can’t have the pipe dream now. But you know what? I have a fridge full of fruit that needs to be eaten and enough butter, flour and sugar to guarantee a happy day. So I bake. There’s something about making tarts, especially simple, rustic fruit tarts, that makes me feel a lot closer to that someday dream. I don’t know that I want to roll cookies out all day or wait for yeasty dough to rise, but tarts? Tarts I could spend every morning on. I love the simple dough, I love the flexibility in the filling, and I love that no matter how or what you squish inside that little mold, it comes out looking delicious, beautiful and intentional. I only made four for this recipe, and I would have happily made 50. In fact, maybe I should further specify that highly specific dream of ours: coffee shop/bakery/bookstore/art gallery/destination tart shop. Yep, that sounds perfect.

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This recipe is pretty forgiving, so feel free to experiment with the fruit filling. Just add a tablespoon or so more flour if your fruit is especially juicy. And for the crust, you can easily sub out almond extract for the vanilla or switch up the oils (the original recipe recommends ¼ cup canola oil and ¼ cup olive oil). Just top the finished product with a good-sized dollop of whipped cream, and you’ll be in good shape.


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Blueberry Nectarine Tarts
Adapted from Amanda Hesser, Food52.com

• 1 ½ 
cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
• ¾
 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
• ½ cup canola oil
• 2 tablespoons whole milk
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 
tablespoons cold unsalted butter
• 4 small ripe nectarines
• a handful of fresh blueberries

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 ½ cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, milk and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture, and mix gently with a fork, just enough to dampen (you don’t want to overwork the dough!).

Divide the dough among your small tart pans (I used four 4-inch pans and had a little more dough than I needed; six 3-inch pans would probably be perfect. You could also use one 11-inch tart pan). Use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pans, pushing it up the sides until it reaches the top. It should be about 1/8-inch thick all around. Trim away the excess dough.

In another bowl, combine ¾ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and the butter. Use your fingers to pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.

Starting on the outside, arrange the nectarines overlapping in a concentric circle over the crust, and fill in the extra space however you like to snuggly fit in as many slices as you can. Squeeze the blueberries in next to the nectarines, dividing them evenly among the tarts.

Sprinkle the crumbly butter mixture over top (it will seem like a lot), and bake the tarts for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is starting to brown and the fruit is bubbly. (A larger tart will likely take a five to 10 minutes longer). Cool tarts on a rack. Serve them warm or room temperature with lots and lots of whipped cream.

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Photo 33/52: Catching the moment

Bear: A baby boy fresh from his bath. The light was so perfect when I dried him off that night, so I called Jared in to watch him while I ran from the room to grab the camera. Thankfully he was just as picturesque when I returned. Sometimes these simple moments are the absolute sweetest.

Beany: Although we do make an honest effort to encourage Beany’s interest in plenty of things beyond princesses and dress-up, the girl is into clothes, accessories and tutus in a major way. She quickly called this chambray top her “college shirt” (maybe because we’ve been talking so much about her uncle starting college this year?), and it was her own wave of fashion brilliance that prompted her to pair it with the signature pink tutu. But one tutu isn’t enough, of course, so she went on to stack four of them, one on top of the other, until that little waist could bear no more. I am in love with this look, and though it did take a few M&Ms to convince her to stand still long enough for the photo, the look on her face tells me that she didn’t mind it much.

And with that, I’m officially caught up. Huzzah! Does that mean summer is over? I suppose it’s back to the regular swing of things now. After so much busy, though, a routine sounds pretty nice. And even though our summer has been unseasonably cool (hooray!), fall sounds pretty nice, too. A lot of New England orchards open for apple picking at the end of August. And the pumpkin spice latte comes back at Starbucks soon, too! Yep, the seasons are about to be a changing.


This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

Photo 32/52: Quiet time

A sleepy boy and a new Minnie Mouse puzzle game mean one magical moment of quiet.


This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

Photo 31/52: Early morning snuggles

Having a toddler is wonderful. Having a baby is awesome. Having a toddler who regularly requests to hold her baby brother and then sits there whispering things like, “I know, I know, it’s OK,” and, “Oh, I love you, cute boy,” is about as much as my mommy heart can take.


This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

Photo 30/52: Baby blues and growing girls

Bear: Big blues eyes, taking in the world.

Beany: Is it just me, or does she suddenly look like a kindergartener? It makes me proud and weepy all at the same time.

Happy weekend, pals!


This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

Photo 29/52: Niagara Falls

29-52-C29-52-BWe made a stop at Niagara Falls on our way home from Missouri, and that “big, big waterfall,” as Beany still refers to it, was well worth the few miles out of our way. We only stayed a couple of hours, but it’s one of our favorite memories from the whole trip.

Beany: Watching the falls from her perch in Jared’s arms. There’s just something about a dad and daughter that makes me feel all mushy.

Bear: Years from now, when I think back on Bear’s early months, this is how I’ll picture him. Thumb in his mouth, eyes wide open, sweet facing peeking out from behind that choo choo hat. This photo is such a perfect capturing of exactly who he is right now. (Thank you to Mommio for taking it!)

And just because I think a trip to Niagara Falls warrants some extra photos, here are a few more.


This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

Photo 28/52: Let’s go exploring

28-52-C28-52-BBeany: “Let’s look, Mommy. Let’s go looking.” A week at the farm turned her into an explorer.

Bear: Teething in the sunshine. Oh, what a face.


This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.



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