My mother came to visit me recently and left me with two mottled, overripe nectarines upon her departure. I didn’t want to throw them out, but they were definitely past their prime, so I decided to bake them. That’s the nice thing about fruit — when it goes brown, you can still enjoy it by cooking it.
I also happened to have some extra shortbread dough chilling in my fridge, left over from a rather interesting attempt at lemon meringue pie bars (a birthday cake substitute for my boyfriend). I had used a shortbread base for the bars as opposed to graham cracker crumbs, and I saved the leftover dough thinking it would come in handy eventually. And it did!
How did the combination turn out? Well, how does a golden, crunchy, buttery lemon topping paired with cinnamon infused nectarines sound?
If you answered that it sounds amazing/incredible/heavenly/out of this world/mouth-wateringly good, you are so right.
Nectarine Lemon Shortbread Crumble
for the shortbread
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon zest
4 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup flour
for the filling
4 ripe nectarines
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
1. Preheat your oven to 350º.
2. In a bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Stir to coat the zest in sugar, and use the back of a spoon to press down on it. You will begin to smell the lemon strongly, which means you’re releasing more of its flavour.
3. Stir in the flour, then add the butter. Your butter should be chilled and cut into small cubes. Use your fingers to break up the butter and incorporate it into the flour mixture. The resulting mix should be one that resembles damp sand — it should crumble very easily, but also clump and hold its shape briefly.
4. Wash your nectarines and cut them into medium-sized chunks. Place them in a separate bowl with the sugar and cinnamon and stir until the fruit is coated with the spice mix.
5. Place the nectarines in the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle the shortbread crumble over the fruit and bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the shortbread has browned.
6. Serve warm, with or without ice cream or whipped cream.