Last year around this time, I remember leaving my apartment in the afternoon every week day and walking down the street on my way to pastry school. On the way, I would stop off a local grocer and buy two big peaches or nectarines. I could never wait to eat the first one - I would take a big bite as soon as I left the store. The bite would be one part biting into the fruit and one part sucking all the juices that immediately came out. I always felt like I was badly making out with the fruit with all the licking and sucking. Yet I always had juice dripping down my wrist as I walked down the street, which I shamelessly licked off. You don't waste good Okanagan stone fruit juice.
I realize not everyone is as close to the Okanagan as I am, but if you're near California or Georgia, you probably have a time and a place where the best peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots come from. You wait all year to taste the soft and sweet flesh that seems to produce more juice that you thought possible. By the end of it, with your hands and mouth sticky with juice, you're sucking on the pit trying to get the last drops of juice from it. It's not the prettiest thing, but god damn, is it the tastiest.
While I usually eat my peaches and nectarines as I just described, I bake with them sometimes. It's tough to find a way to cook with them that doesn't leave them as mushy baby food. That's why I chose a white nectarine, a fruit I find to be a bit firmer than other peaches and nectarines.
The pairing of almond, nectarine, and brown butter is a winner, by the way. I'm getting all kinds of ideas for next years stone fruit season with this flavour combo. Ice cream, frangipane tarts, pie, cake, you name it, I've probably thought of ways to get those three ingredients into it.
I think I speak for everyone who has ever had one of those juice-dripping-down-the-wrist peaches when I say I wish stone fruit season was longer.
Almond and White Nectarine Financiers
Recipe adapted from Frozen Desserts
61 g almond flour/meal
61 g all-purpose flour
144 g icing sugar
144 g egg whites
103 g brown butter, cooled to room temperature
1 white nectarine, cut into thin slices
Lightly spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed using the paddle attachment. Increase the speed to medium and add the egg whites in several additions, scraping the bowl between additions. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add the butter until thoroughly incorporated.
Pour the batter into the muffin tins about two-thirds the way up. Place two to three slices of nectarine on the surface of the financier.
Bake until golden brown and the financier is baked through all the way at its centre, about 15 to 18 minutes. Let the financiers cool in the tin.