A sweet, antioxidant-packed nectarine tart

First week of September – yikes! For me, this means back to school to complete my last year (hooray!) and reorganizing my closet to reacquaint myself with my fall wardrobe. I must admit, fall is not my favourite season. But you know what does cheer me up? Something sweet… and preferably something healthy so I don’t have to feel guilty afterwards.
Today, Divya from Flavour Fiesta has concocted a delectable nectarine tart drizzled in a sweet orange-vanilla syrup. Packed with antioxidants, this dessert definitely has my beauty stamp of approval!

Just like the world of fashion, the culinary world has its trends. Grilled fruit has been in vogue for the last couple years, so I decided to give it a try to see what the fuss was about. I live in a condo, so owning a real grill is out of question, so what’s a foodie to do? I bought a grill pan and tried it out over the long weekend. Let me just say that I’m definitely planning to use that grill pan again! I love nectarines, but sometimes eating plain fruit gets a little boring. With the grill pan, the fruit was beautifully caramelized. Succulent fruit with a slight caramel crust – it can’t get any better!

These grilled nectarines are great on their own, but to take things up a notch I decided to make tarts. Fruit tarts are delicious if they are done right, but they are definitely high in fat and sugar with all that custard and cream. I’ve kept things simple with this recipe. The caramelized flavour of the grilled nectarines brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit, so you don’t need to add much sugar. The custard and cream is replaced with strained chilled yogurt. To top things off and to pull the dessert together, a pop of flavour is added with an orange-vanilla syrup. Absolutely divine!

serves 4-6
For the tart
12 pre-made tart shells
3 medium nectarines, just ripe
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups low-fat probiotic yogurt

For the syrup
1/2 cup orange juice (no pulp)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Step 1: Strain the yogurt in a cheesecloth for one to two hours. This will make the yogurt thicker and creamier.
Note: Alternatively, you can use Greek yogurt instead of probiotic yogurt in this recipe as it already thick and creamy. Since Greek yogurt is somewhat sour, you may need to add some additional sugar to the recipe.
Step 2: Prepare the orange-vanilla syrup by heating the orange juice, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon on medium-low heat for 6-10 minutes until the volume reduces to half. The mixture should resemble a syrup, but should not be too thick. It will become more viscous as it cools.
Step 3: Halve the nectarines and remove the pits. Sprinkle some brown sugar (1 tbsp) on the cut side of the nectarines. Grill the nectarines on a grill or on a grill pan face-down for 5-7 minutes until grill-marks are visible. Cool down and slice thinly.
Note: The skin of the nectarines can be removed once cooled. I prefer to keep it on to retain the fibre and nutrients.
Step 4: Mix the strained yogurt with 3 tsp of the syrup to sweeten it lightly. Set aside in the fridge to chill.
Step 5: Bake the tart shells (according to the instructions on the package) without any filling until crispy and slightly browned.
Assemble the tarts just before serving. Start by layering a few slices of nectarines, followed by a dollop of yogurt and a spoonful of the orange-vanilla syrup. Top off with one nicely grilled nectarine slice.

What a perfect end-of-summer-beginning-of-fall dessert, don’t you think? Make some smart ingredient choices and this nectarine tart can be both delicious and complexion enhancing! Here’s why …

Nectarines: Like other fruits in the red, orange or yellow colour family, nectarines are rich in beta-carotene. Why do you care, you ask? Well, beta-carotene is responsible for helping your body produce Vitamin A – and Vitamin A is necessary to keep your skin smooth and youthful-looking. This sweet, juicy fruit is also high in lutein, which will help combat free radicals lurking in your body.

Probiotic yogurt: Studies are being released documenting probiotics and its ability to strengthen one’s skin barrier. Translation? Your skin becomes more resilient to potential irritants. Say goodbye to inflammation because a regular dose of probiotics will keep your skin calm and serene.

Orange juice: You don’t need me to tell you that orange juice is packed with Vitamin C. But did you know that a glass of orange juice has better protection capabilities than just Vitamin C by itself? This is because orange juice contains a wealth of phytochemicals that works synergistically with Vitamin C, and together they create an even more powerful antioxidant. Expect a healthy glow this fall…

Let us know how it goes – leave a comment!


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