Spiced Peach Tarts

(From a concept from Lois McMaster Bujold)

To make 12.

Make shortbread, chill.

Take a large peach or nectarine, cut it into quarters without peeling, cut three of the quarters into quarters (twelve slices), and halve those (twenty four). Eat the extra quarter. Wash the mixing bowl.

Take shortbread from fridge, cut in half, put the other half back for something else later.

Roll out the shortbread on floured greaseproof (waxed) paper. (This not only makes it easier, it saves a lot of cleaning flour off the work surface.) When rolled out, cut 12 circles the size of standard patty tins. Put the pastry circles on the patty tins. Put the oven to pre-heat to 180 C.

Put two pices of nectarine in each pastry circle.

Melt 2 ounces of butter or marge.

Measure 2 ounces of vanilla sugar into the mixing bowl. (You didn’t forget to wash it, did you? Well, if you did you have time now while the butter melts if you’re quick.)

Pour the melted butter/marge into the sugar, beat enthusiastically with a balloon whisk until mixed. Add an egg. Beat enthusiastically until mixed.

Measure 2 ounces of SR (self raising, patisserie) flour (if you don’t have any, make in proper SR flour proportions with baking powder and salt), and sift it on top of the mixture. Sift in half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg. Fold in the flour and the spices with a metal spoon, using the “folding under” method so as not to get rid of the oxygen you added with the balloon whisk.

Using the metal spoon, put a spoonful of mixture on top of the nectarine on top of the shortbread in the patty tins.

Bake at the top of the oven for 15-20 minutes. The cake layer will be darker than usual because of the cinnamon, so go by smell.

Fiddly, but surprisingly delicious hot or cold.