Nectarine Cream Tart in a Gingersnap Crust is a cool, delicious dessert that you can enjoy whether summer is in full force or is in its last days. And it looks as beautiful as it is tasty!
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I first found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen's website several years ago and later learned that it was originally a Bon Appetit recipe. Which usually means that it can be trusted! We make this dessert every summer and look forward to it immensely!
The ginger flavor in the crust comes from gingersnap cookies. Use any brand you like or make your own. I use the gluten-free ones made by Mi-Del.
Process them in a food processor, then mix with melted butter and press into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom so that it's easier to serve. To press the crumbs in, I like to use a measuring cup. Fewer crumbs stick to my hands and I get a more even crust thickness.
The crust needs a simple eight minutes in the oven … just to set it and toast it a bit.
The filling for this cream tart is so delicious. The base is mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, just a wee bit of sugar, lemon peel, and vanilla extract.
Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese from the Lombardy region. It has a much higher fat content that our American cream cheese because its base is heavy cream. If you can't find it, you can use all cream cheese, but the taste and texture will be slightly different.
The original recipe calls for candied ginger in both the cream filling and as a topping. However, I find that it's too chewy with the creaminess of the filling and the beautiful texture of the nectarines. So I leave it out and enjoy the ginger flavor from the cookies in the crust.
Tips for putting the filling in the crust
- Let the crust cool fully.
- Spoon the filling evenly across the crust to aid in spreading it out.
- Spread it carefully, using much the same technique as you would when frosting a cake. Spread, but don't pull back too much.
- When you see crumbs pulling up, let go, and push from another place.
The crust and filling can be done ahead and I recommend making them the day before you'll serve the tart, actually, although a couple of hours is plenty.
The final bit is cutting the nectarines into beautiful slices and laying them in a beautiful, flower-petal-like pattern on the filling. If you have a daughter, such as I have, who is so precise with the slicing, you should definitely employ her by keeping the grandchildren occupied while she styles your pie.
Top it all with a bit of peach jam to keep the nectarines from browning and to make it patisserie-worthy. Cut it immediately to serve, but if you have to hold it to serve it later, hold it a maximum of six hours. If you hold it longer, the crust will start to get soggy making it harder to serve beautifully.
At any level, this Nectarine Cream Tart is a quintessential summer dessert that you must add to your collection of recipes.
Other recipes you might like:
Nectarine Cream Tart in Gingersnap Crust
For the Crust
- 2¼ cups gingersnap cookies ground | I buy the gluten-free Midel brand.
- ¼ cup butter melted
For the Filling
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon peel grated
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping
- 4-5 small nectarines peeling left on and sliced in thin slices
- ¼ cup peach jam
For the Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Finely grind gingersnaps in processor. Add butter and blend until crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Press mixture over bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. (I like to use a cold metal measuring cup to get a nice, clear demarcation between the base and sides.)
- Bake crust until color darkens, pressing sides with back of spoon if beginning to slide, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
For the Filling
- Beat first 6 ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread filling in prepared crust. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
For the Topping
- Overlap nectarine slices on top of the filling in concentric circles starting at the edges and working in to the center. Spread the jam over the nectarine slices.
- Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated for up to 6 hours.