Haven’t we all though?
Last year, it passed me by somewhat. And this makes me sad, on a deep level.
Let me explain. For a very brief moment, every year, the nectarine moves to the top of the fruit rankings.
Numero uno. No questions asked.
It’s fleeting presence at supermarkets is no doubt a factor in this ethereal appeal. Then, you throw in the option of the white variety, as if one wasn’t enough for god’s greatest gift to fruit culture, and just mankind in general, to be honest.
We don’t deserve nectarines..
Fuck. Before you know it, you’re waxing lyrical so much about them, that you forget to mention that the other component of this tonka bean & duck egg crème brûlée with poached nectarine dessert, is a showstopper too.
Shopping list (serves 4)
Tonka beans (finely chopped) x 80g – buy here
Double cream x 600g
Golden caster sugar x 100g
Duck egg yolks x 6
Golden caster sugar for dusting
10x2cm ramekins x 4
Ripe nectarines (halved, stone in) x 2
Vanilla pods (one thin cut made into one side) x 2
Golden caster sugar x 1 tsp
Juice of half a lemon
Water x 300ml
You’re going to start with the warm infusion of the cream. Simply add the chopped beans to the cream, and gently bring it almost to the boil in a saucepan. At the first sight of any steam, remove from the heat. Allow the beans to infuse in the warm cream for one hour. Sieve, and keep the tonka cream refrigerated.
Turn your oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and yolks. Now whisk in the tonka cream until well mixed. Pour the mixture evenly into four 10x2cm ramekins.
Place them in a large, deep baking tray. Pour cold water into the dish, until it comes up to halfway on the ramekins. Place this bain-marie into the hot oven.
Bake for 25 minutes (they should still have a slight wobble to their centre), and then remove from the oven, and the water. Allow to cool, before placing in the fridge to chill completely, eat least four hours.
When the time comes, turn your oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C. Place all the ingredients for the poached nectarines in a baking tray, and cover with foil tightly. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the fruit carefully and set aside. Reduce the remaining liquid quickly over a high heat, with the vanilla pods, until only 2-3 tablespoons remain. It should resemble a thin syrup.
Remove the filled ramekins from the fridge. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of golden caster sugar evenly on top of each one. Use a blow torch to caramelise the tops until a crisp, shiny, golden layer has formed.
Serve the tonka bean crème brûlées immediately with half a poached nectarine, and about half a tablespoon of the reduced juices.