Nectarine & ginger tarte tatin


A while back, there was an e-mail doing the rounds among my friends.  What you were supposed to do was to open Google, type your name and the word "needs" into the search box and hit search.  The resulting hilarious results were then to be e-mailed to all your friends. 

Using this methodology, Jeanne needs…

… to accept this reality and grieve the loss of her fantasy

… more lunch helpers

… all the demons she can get (!)

… the money, please

… to artfully convey ideas and opportunities to the committee

… to be in touch with the outside world

… a nap

… guidance in how to look like a well-brought up young lady (!!)

Hmm.  Interesting.  Some of the above may or may not be true.  You may aks me 20 questions, I may only say yes or no 😉

Seriously though, what Jeanne (and everybody else!) really does need is a show-stopper dessert that does not cost an arm and a leg and will not chain you to the stove for 5 hours of preparation time.  To my mind, there can be few desserts that fit the bill better than a tarte tatin.

I've written before about this wonderful upside-down caramelised tart.  Although the original is made with apples, I have yet to make an apple tarte – so far it's been pear & cardamom, yellow pepper, and now nectarine.  Whatever you choose to make it with, a tarte tatin makes for a spectacular dessert and it's decadent without being too heavy.  In this version, the sweet nectarines were perfectly offset by the tang of ginger, and I finally got the degree of caramelisation right – hurrah!

Try it.  Trust me – you need to.




225g puff pastry
4-6 nectarines 
thumb-sized piece of ginger root, grated
55g granulated sugar (I used soft brown)
55g softened butter
2Tbsp brandy
1-2Tbsp lemon juice


You will need an 18cm skillet or cast iron omelette pan (it must be something that can go on the stove as well as in the oven). Preheat the oven to 220C.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out a circle of pastry that is slightly larger in circumference than your skillet/pan (you can use an upturned dinner plate to do this). Lightly prick the pastry circle with a fork and chill it while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Using your fingers, press the softened butter into the base of the pan until it is evenly coated. Sprinkle the sugar and the grated ginger over the butter and set aside.

Mix the brandy and lemon juice in a large bowl (add extra lemon juice if not using alcohol). Cut each nectarines into 8ths, carefully pulling each piece off the stone to maintain their chape. Toss in the lemon juice to prevent discolouring.

Pack the nectarine slices in a tight circle in the frying pan, radiating out from the middle. Press the fruit lightly down into the butter and place the skillet/pan over medium high heat.

Keep a close eye on the pan and move it around if some areas seem to be browning faster than others. Once the sugar has caramelised, remove from the heat. Quickly cover with the pre-cut pastry circle, tucking the pastry down the sides of the pan (but be careful – the caramel will be excruciatingly hot!).

Place the skillet in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes until the pastry has puffed up and turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Then take a warmed servig plate, place it upside down over the skillet and carefully invert the skillet while keeping the plate firmly pressed to it. Give it a good shake and the tarte tatin should slip out, caramelly juices and all. Serve with lots of good vanilla ice cream.


Wait for the butter-sugar mix to go a really deep shade of brown before you lose your nerve and whip it off the heat. As always, be very careful when handling caramel as it is really hot and can inflict serious burns.  When you do the inversion of the finished tarte onto a plate, be quick and please make REALLY sure you have a firm grip on both plate and pan/skillet before you flip over – splashing hot caramel all over yourself will result in a trip to the local hospital emergency room, rather than a triumphant trip to the dinner table!

Don't forget to get your entries in for this month's Waiter, There's Something in My… challenge.  The theme is retro classics, so think prawn cocktail, melba toast and steak Diane!  The deadline is Sunday 3 May.

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  1. says

    You’ve succeeded in the show stopper department. I sure wish we could get fresh nectarines that taste like anything this time of year

  2. says

    Elyse needs…this tarte tatin. NOW. It looks so delicious. What a great job! And, of course, you know I’m about to run over to google and type in Elyse needs.

  3. says

    You are right and few thing are as rewarding as pulling out this showstopper dessert in front of quests. I like the nectarine and ginger combo!!!!

  4. says

    Gorgeous pics, and I love nectarine and ginger together. You would thinkwe would get better nectarines here, but I was not impressed this year. I think everything gets exported. It’s all who you know. I need … to know someone with a nectarine tree.

  5. says

    LOVE the bubbly before-shot. and the glazed and glorious after-shot. love it from start to finish. and what a fun google idea–that’ll be my next stop. :)

  6. says

    Hi Jeanne,
    LOL, I think I definitely need money too, and oh I like this one too “guidance in how to look like a well-brought up young lady (!!)” it the best …
    I might have a change to try your gorgeous looking nectarine tarte tatin. Oh, you are going to host the event again, will see if I can participate… I had fun last time.

  7. says

    I tried making a tarte tatin once but I didn’t caramelize enough (sigh)… Taste was awesome, though. I bet this was even better! :)
    Google results? Mark needs… a chick. No kidding. Apparently it’s a song :)

  8. says

    Stunning – it’s on the to-do list for when nectarines are good here (or maybe I should try it on our trip to France this summer. Hm.) And of course, I needed to go Google myself, too :)

  9. says

    this looks scrumptious… i could dive right in if i didn’t know that the caramel is so darn hot! of how i long for tree-ripened nectarines, actually, tree-ripened anything! bring on the summer!

  10. says

    I love recipes like this which have few ingredients, but maximum impact 😉 This looks divine & your caramelisation looks just perfect. Mmmmm …….

  11. browniegirl says

    One of my favourite combinations – nectarine and ginger…and a yummy looking tarte tatin…I could do with some right now…..*drool* xxx

  12. says

    That really is a showstopper dessert. I need to make a small one like this this weekend. It’s like a taste of spring and summer.Was this made in SA or the UK?

  13. says

    I haven’t been commenting for a while even though have been reading your blogs. What I do want to say though, with GREAT enthusiasm, is that this recipe has to be your absolute best ever.
    This is easily the best thing I have ever tasted! I must admit that I did add a little cardom (the seeds) but I’ve made it, half the women in my extremely huge family have made it and family in Italy, Germany and Japan have all made it and we love it.
    You rock girl!

  14. says

    Wow, Jeanne, thank you for all you comments. I love when they are comming, they are like London buses :)
    Your tarte looks absolutely delicious… I would never think of combining ginger and nectarine, very interesting (!)

  15. says

    I STILL haven’t gotten around to making a tarte tatin yet. You do tempt me so. One slight, niggling problem though. I don’t know what to make it in! Do you have a special tarte tatin dish, e.g. a Le Creuset one, or a makeshift version?