Last summer a kind neighbour invited Sally Wise to pick the last of the nectarine crop from her trees. ‘There’ll just be about half a bucketful’, she said – such a humble understatement of her generosity. Sally came away with more than two buckets filled to overflowing. She bottled many, with pies, crumbles, and tarts in mind. This recipe is a combination of all three: a crostata-type slice covered with lattice pastry and topped with crumble. While almost any fruit could be used in this recipe, nectarines or peaches are especially delicious.
WHAT YOU NEED
For the filling
900g (2lb) nectarines, stones removed and flesh cut into small cubes
60g (2¼ oz) white (granulated) sugar, or to taste
3 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed to a paste with 40 ml (1¼ fl oz) cold water
For the pastry
125g (4½ oz) very soft salted butter
200g (7 oz) white (granulated) sugar
300g (10½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
150g (5½ oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
For the crumble
15g (½ oz) cold salted butter, diced
40g (1½ oz) self-raising flour
55g (2 oz) soft brown sugar
For the assembly
1 egg white, lightly whisked
WHAT TO DO
To make the filling
Place the nectarine and sugar into a saucepan with 60ml (2 fl oz) water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the fruit is just tender. Stir in the lemon juice.
While still simmering, gradually stir in enough cornflour paste to reach a thick custard consistency. Set aside to cool.
To make the pastry
Using a hand whisk, mix the butter and sugar together until creamy, then whisk in the eggs until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together then, using a large metal spoon, fold them through the egg mixture until well combined. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up before using.
To make the crumble
Place the ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, this can be achieved by rubbing the ingredients together with your fingers.) Set aside.
To assemble for baking
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Grease a 22 x 35cm (8½ x 14 in) slab tin, 8 cm (3¼ in) deep. Cut one-third from the pastry, cover and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining pastry to the size of the tin and press into the sides and edges. Brush with some of the whisked egg white to seal. Spread the cooled fruit mixture over this. Roll out the reserved pastry and cut into long strips about 1 cm (½ in) wide. Place these in a lattice pattern over the top of the fruit.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture into the spaces between the lattice strips. Bake for 30 minutes, or until it is nicely browned.
Leave to stand in the tin.