Text Susan Jung / Photography Jonathan Wong / Styling Nellie Ming Lee
I love the fresh fruits that are available at this time of year, including peaches and plums. Occasionally, though, they prove to be disappointing; I recently bought some expensive apricots imported from Italy that had a mealy texture and insipid flavour. When I come across fruit like this, I cook it, rather than eating it fresh.
Apricot galette (pictured)
Adjust the amount of sugar according to whether the apricots are sweet or tart.
This rustic tart is also delicious when made with plums. Choose the smaller, denser varieties; certain types will give off too much juice.
30 grams granulated sugar, or more if the fruit is tart
½ a vanilla bean
15ml fresh lemon juice
A 500 gram slab of all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, whisked with about 15ml of water
Brown sugar crystals, for sprinkling
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry so it's 3mm thick and about 30cm in diameter. Flour the dough as needed so it doesn't stick to the work surface or rolling pin. Without stretching the rolled-out dough, carefully place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate it for at least 45 minutes.
Halve the apricots and remove the pits. Cut all but one of the halves into two pieces. Put all the apricot pieces into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Cut the piece of vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and scraped-out pod into the bowl and combine thoroughly, then leave to macerate at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Scrape the ingredients into a colander set over a saucepan and drain thoroughly (there won't be much liquid). Set aside the apricots. Put the saucepan over a medium flame and simmer until the liquid reduces to a thick glaze, then stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
Brush all the flour from the surface of the puff pastry then flip it over so it's still on the parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the flour from the other side. Use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into a circle that's about 28cm in diameter. Use the tines of a fork to poke holes over the surface of the dough, leaving a 3cm edge around the perimeter of the entire circle. Arrange the apricot quarters closely together and cut-side up over the dough, laying them in concentric circles and leaving a 3cm edge. Put the apricot half in the centre. Cut the vanilla pod into several pieces and lay them over the apricots. Fold the edge of the pastry over the apricots so they're semi-enclosed. Brush the folded-over edge with the whisked egg, then sprinkle with sugar crystals. Bake at 220 degrees for 15 minutes then turn the pan around, turn the heat to 200 degrees and bake for about 15-25 minutes. The pastry should be medium brown; if it darkens too much before the tart is done, lay strips of aluminium foil over the edges.
When the tart is ready, remove it from the oven. Heat the apricot glaze until simmering - if it seems too thick, stir in some water so it's a brushable consistency. Brush the glaze over the apricots so they're lightly coated and glossy. If you like, use a propane torch to brown the edges of the apricots. Serve the tart warm.
Roasted peaches or nectarines with raspberries, almonds and streusel
6 firm, ripe peaches or nectarines
15 grams granulated sugar
30 grams sliced almonds
100 grams fresh raspberries
Butter, for greasing the baking dish
For the streusel:
130 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
80 grams muscovado sugar
1/3 tsp fine sea salt
90 grams unsalted butter, slightly softened
Vanilla or almond ice cream, for serving
Make the streusel. Combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into chunks and add them to the flour mixture. Use your fingertips to break the butter into pieces that are about the size of peas. Refrigerate until needed.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Butter a baking dish that will hold the peach or nectarine halves in one layer.
Halve the peaches or nectarines and remove and discard the pits. Place the fruit cut-side up in the baking dish. Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the peaches or nectarines, then top each half with a generous spoonful of streusel (you might not need all of it; the leftovers can be refrigerated for about two weeks, or frozen for longer storage). Bake at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the fruit starts to soften and give off some liquid. Dot the raspberries over the peaches or nectarines, then scatter the almonds on top. Bake for about 15 more minutes, or until the almonds are lightly toasted.
To serve, put two peach or nectarine halves on a plate with some raspberries and almonds, then top each portion with a scoop of ice cream.