Nectarine Coconut Teacakes

OK, yes, it is officially fall, but I can't get the fact that you can still find delicious and amazing stone fruit at the farmer's market. Case in point, Tenerelli Orchards who sells at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer's Market. They seriously have the BEST nectarines right now! I always feel so lucky to live in Santa Monica where I have access to the best fruits, veggies and organic local meat. It's really so hard to not spend all our grocery money in a matter of a couple hours. :) 

This week I knew I wanted to feature these gorgeous nectarines in a lovely teacake. And what better way than little mini tea cakes?! I baked these in a 12 cup standard muffin/cupcake pan and they came out perfect! I love the size and how it gave each piece a little crunchy crust but still was light and fluffy in the middle. Also using coconut shavings and cream made it the perfect amount of coconuty-ness ( I know that's not a word). Next up I'm going to try a vegan version of this since it already uses minimal eggs and butter. 

Couple of tips... 

- Splurge for really yummy delicious organic fruit. It really does make a difference in your final product. 
- Make sure to not slice your nectarine for the bottom of the pan too thin. Some of mine ended up sticking to the bottom of the pan which is a bummer since you want these beauties to end up on the teacakes!
- Do not skimp on buttering your pan!! Seriously. This is where you need to ensure they don't stick to your pan after turning out. 
- I really love making my own vanilla sugar and this adds a little extra finesse when you see the tops of your nectarines with little vanilla bean specs. I highly recommend using vanilla sugar vs. just plain sugar. 
- Make sure you use unsweetened coconut cream. It could be too much of a sugar overload if you don't. 
- You can easily double the recipe to make 24 teacakes. 

Nectarine Coconut Teacakes
Makes 1 Dozen Teacakes


  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened (56 grams) 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (paige or navel) 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream, unsweetened 
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened 
  • 1 medium sized nectarine, sliced to be slightly thinner than 1/2 inch 
  • organic vanilla sugar or regular organic sugar (for the pan) 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter (for the pan)  

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Take your 12-cup muffin/cupcake non-stick pan and butter each of the sections throughly. Make sure to get the sides and bottoms with a nice even coating. From there, take your vanilla sugar (or regular sugar) and sprinkle the bottoms of each section. You don't need to over do it. It's just a light sprinkling to give each cake some nice caramelization.

2. Slice up your nectarine and place a few small pieces on the bottom of each section. usually about 3-4 pieces. Set aside additional slices to add on top of the cake batter. Set aside pan until ready to fill with batter. 

3. In a medium bowl, add all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and baking soda. Whisk together to incorporate. 

4. In a stand mixer bowl, add butter, sugar, salt and orange zest. Using your paddle attachment on your mixer, cream butter, sugar and other ingredients together until it's light and fluffy. Should take about 3-4 minutes. 

5. Using a spatula, scrape down the edge of the bowl. With the mixer on, add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. 

6. Switch your mixer to low. Now, alternating between mixed flours and your coconut cream, add some of your dries and then add some coconut cream, repeat until both have been fully incorporated. Turn off your mixer immediately so you don't overmix. Remove bowl from mixer and add in your shredded coconut. Fold in by hand until just incorporated. 

7. Using a cupcake scooper, distribute the batter evenly in each of the sections of the pan. It should fill a little more than 1/2 way. Smooth out the tops of the batter with an offset spatula or spoon. Then add 1-2 slices of nectarines on each cake.  

8. Pop them into the oven and bake for about 20 -25 minutes. Rotate at least once after about 14 minutes. Cakes will be done when the tops are slightly springy and golden brown on the edges. You can also try the clean toothpick test but I noticed mine still needed a few minutes even though the toothpick came out clean. 

9. Allow teacakes to rest in the pan for about 4 minutes. Then turn the cakes out on a wire rack. If not all of them come out easily then run a thin pairing knife along the edges of the few that seem to be sticking. You can also turn them out very quickly and firmly on a cutting board. 

9. Cakes can last at room temp for 4 days but can last longer in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy cakes at room temp. 


Raspberry Almond Tart

The last time I made a frangipane tart was on The Great American Baking show so it was quite nice to not have the stress of the tent on my shoulders baking these today. One thing is for sure, I really need to make more frangipane desserts because this stuff is DELICIOUS! It's such a great balance between nutty, flaky crust and since I topped it with fresh fruit there's a brightness each bite that it brings light into my day. I think the orange zest is what really makes this recipe! ;)

This recipe can be adapted so many ways with different fruit and toppings. I went fresh fruit because this is for the ultimate berry lover. I also couldn't resist these gooorgeous raspberries at the Santa Monica's Farmer's Market this week. I mean, come on. They don't get more picture perfect than this. 

These are relatively easy to make but it's just more about the chilling time. I've also seen many recipes using frangipane with either blind baking the crust first or baking the crust and frangipane together at the same time. This time I used the blind bake method but next time I'll try it all together and see how I like the difference. On the smaller tartlets the crusts brown crazy fast so that's something to keep in mind while the larger one seemed to be OK. 

For garnishes, on the larger tart I wanted to go more sophisticated than I typically make my desserts so I tempered chocolate to make chocolate spirals and used some gold leaf to give it that extra pizzaz. Or you can go simple and top with fresh raspberries after the tartlets have cooled to room temp. 

True be told, I friggin' love this combo of flaky crust with the almond filling. The sliced almonds also give it a little more texture when biting into the bottom. I love all the textures of this recipe because you get juicy, crumbly, buttery and crunch! And, if you add on the meringue,  it's even better because it that adds an extra soft texture and vanilla flavor. All in all, a great tartlet for birthdays, dinners or just cause. ;) 

Raspberry Almond Tartlet w/ Vanilla Italian Meringue
Makes 1 x 8" square tartlet and 3-4 smaller individual tartlets. 


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 large pinches kosher salt 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, small pieces 
  • 1 jumbo egg yolk with 2 teaspoons water 


  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp  
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 large eggs, room temp 
  • 1 cup almond flour, finely ground  
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest ( I like naval or cara cara oranges) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, blanched or skin on 


  • 2 punnets fresh raspberries 
  • 1 batch Italian meringue (optional) 
  • Chocolate shavings or decorations 

1. Start by baking the dough. In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, salt and butter. Work through the dough with your hands by pinching the pieces of butter with the flour mixture. Keep pinching and incorporating until the dough is a rough sandy mixture. This is not your traditional pie crust where you have to keep the butter crazy cold. Once the butter is well incorporated and most of the pieces have been smashed into the flour, add the egg yolk/water mixture. Knead together in the bowl till it becomes a round smooth ball. Add a teaspoon of water if it's not coming together. Flip dough on floured surface and form into a round disc.

2. Next roll out the dough to a large circle at least 2 inches wider than the size of your pan.  If the dough is too soft to handle, wrap with plastic wrap and put into the fridge. Mine was fine but I just had to make sure to keep flouring my surface I was rolling on and my rolling pin.  Lay the dough on your fluted 8" tart pan with a removable bottom and press it into the creases. Use any remaining dough to fix any holes. Place the pan/dough into the freezer for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Take the tart out of the freezer and dock the dough all over with a fork. Blind bake the crust in the oven for 13-15 minutes until it's lightly browned. This recipe does not require you to use pie weights or cover. Note, my crust did shrink a bit in the pan so know that in advance going on. Watch the crust carefully towards the end to ensure you don't over brown it. 

4. Next, make the filling. In a stand mixer bowl with a paddle attachment, add sugar, butter and salt and cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and continue to beat together for another 2-3 minutes. Turn the mixer off.  Add in almond flour, flour, orange zest and almond extract then mix on low until incorporated. The mixture should be thick. 

5. Remove tart crust from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Add in the almond filling and smooth it evenly in the tart pan. Work quickly because it will start melting the mixture. Sprinkle the top of the tart with the almond slices. Quickly place the tart back into the oven. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake until golden, around 25-30 minutes. If you insert a toothpick it should come out clean or press it lightly with your fingers and it should resist. 

6. Cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes. Be very careful to remove the tart from the pan by taking off the outer rim first then the bottom. Allow to come to room temp on a rack before decorating. 

7. Feel free to garnish with raspberries and chocolate shavings. If you want to make Italian Meringue, see below. 

Italian Meringue Recipe: 
Makes about 2 cups. Recipe from Serious Eats


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 room temp egg whites, fresh eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • pinch of salt 

1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over high heat, brushing down sides of pot as necessary with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cook until sugar syrup registers 240°F on an instant read or candy thermometer.

2. Meanwhile, combine egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; alternatively, wipe the mixer bowl with cut side of 1/2 lemon before adding egg whites (and omit cream of tartar or lemon juice). Set mixer to medium speed and mix until soft peaks form (when lifted, the head of the mixer should form gentle peaks in the egg whites that very slowly collapse back into themselves), about 2 minutes.

3. With the mixer running, carefully and slowly drizzle in hot sugar syrup. Increase speed to medium high and whip until you reach stiff peaks. When your meringue is almost done, add in vanilla extract and salt. Do NOT over mix or your eggs will separate. If you must, stop and check as you go. Total time may be about 3-6 minutes.  


Fresh Fruit Tarts

Photography by Ryan Feng

One of my go-to desserts I love to make is a fresh fruit tart! These are so versatile for lunch, dinner parties, birthdays and just about any gathering of people. People usually don't feel so guilty eating it since there is fresh fruit involved. Me included. Haha. 

I had so much fun shooting these photos with my good friend, Ryan Feng, who is a super talented photographer as you can see. He came over and watched me bake. In turn, I fed him left over sweets. It's a pretty good bargain if you ask me. ;) 

This fruit tart recipe is simple and just requires a few different components. Luckily you can make all these these in advance and then just assemble as soon as you're ready to eat. 

The crust is a slightly sweet shortbread type of crust so super crumbly and pairs perfectly with the light vanilla bean pastry cream. Then you pile on whatever berries or fruit till your heart's content. I love strawberries and blueberries but have also gone full raspberry on this baby. Pick berries that are in season or if you're like me which ever are calling to you at your local farmer's market. 

The powdered sugar is totally optional. If you're serving this immediately upon assembling, then feel free to dust away. If not, opt for the apricot jam coating to seal in the juices of the berries and especially if you laid cut strawberries. 

Voila! You have a very impressive dessert all done to feed your friends and family. :) 

Fresh Fruit Tart w/ Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
Makes 1 x 12 inch tart or 12 mini 1 inch tartlets

Shortbread Pastry Crust: 

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened and sliced

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream: (Recipe from Tartine Bakery) 

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, cut open down the middle, seeded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes


  • A few containers of strawberries, raspberries and blue berries 
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam

Make the Pastry Crust: 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease your tart pan with butter or with baking release spray. 

2. In a food processor, combine the confectioners’ sugar, flour, and butter, and process until the mixture forms a ball. Remove and place on a lightly floured surface.  With your fingers, press the dough into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Make sure to pat until the crust is even and thin as you can make it without the dough breaking. 

3. Place pan into the freezer for 20 minutes to chill. Meanwhile, prepare a large piece of parchment paper by crumpling it up and then opening it back up again. Spray one side with baking oil. That will be the side that faces down on the crust.

4. Remove the pan/dough from the freezer and poke holes with a fork throughout the bottom of the crust and especially in the corners. The same way you would do so when you're blind baking a pie crust. Add parchment paper spray side down on the crust then add in your pie weights on top of the paper. 

5. Bake chilled pastry in heated oven for 20 minutes until the edges of the crust are lightly browned. Take the pan out of the oven and remove weights. Return back to the oven uncovered and bake for another 15 minutes or so depending on how long it will take for the bottom and edges of the pastry to be browned. 

6. If the pastry dough is puffing up too high since there aren't any weights anymore, quickly open the oven and give the crust in the puffy parts a little jab with a fork. This will help release some of the hair that's trapped in the dough. 

7. Once the dough is finished, remove from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Carefully remove the pastry crust from the pan and place on a wire rack to complete cooling. 

(Alternatively, you may also make 12 mini tartlets with this recipe. Fill each cup with the right amount of pastry dough and crumple up small pieces of foil covered in baking spray to keep from the crust over filling in the oven. Baking time will vary since you're making smaller crusts vs one large one.) 

Make the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Filling: 

1. In a small saucepan, add milk, vanilla bean seeds and salt and carefully scaled over medium heat. Have a whisk handy to stir the mixture. Milk can easily burn on the the bottom of a hot pan. Watch it carefully or you'll have to start over. 

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and eggs until smooth. Remember for a thicker cream, add 4 tablespoons of corn starch. For thinner cream only add 3 tablespoons. 

3. When the milk is done heating, slowly add 1/2 of the milk mixture into the egg and whisk constantly to temper them. Add the 1/2 milk mixture back to the pot and return to a saucepan. Cook the mixture on a medium heat until you get your desired consistently, make sure to always be whisking. You'll want to see a couple of slow boil bubble pop up and the cream should be nice and thick. 

4. Remove from heat and pour into a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Let mixture cool for 2-3 minutes and then with a spatula, incorporate the butter, one tablespoon at a time until smooth . The key is to properly introduce the liquid butter fat into the rest of the cream slowly. 

5. Transfer pastry cream into a medium bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap directly touching the cream. Let the rest cool completely in the refrigerator and set for at least 1-2 hours before using. 


1. I do not recommend making this more than 24 hours before eating. These are best when they're fresh if you ask me. Place your pastry tart crust directly on a plate or something you were hoping to showcase. Take your cooled pastry cream, add to a piping bag and begin piping throughout the entire shell. Use an off set spatula to smooth out the tops. 

2. Grab your cleaned berries and start to place them on your tart. This is your opportunity to apply your own design to this creation! I love the look of red & blue so always want both strawberries/raspberries along with blueberries. 

3. In a small saucepan heat your apricot jam and stir occasionally until the jam is more fluid and able to be brushed. Then with a small pastry brush, brush off the tops of every piece of fruit. 

5. Place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes before eating. Only remove from fridge when you're ready to eat. 

After all that work you can finally enjoy a beautiful tartlet! So what do you guys think about Ryan's photography? Pretty beautiful right?? <3