My house is overbrimming with the fresh fruits and yumminess of the season. When I finally got around to making these cups for the first time, it was just in the nick of time for the nectarines who were just shy of their last leg. Crisis averted. 
The original recipes that inspired these little buckets of nectarine glory, had varying components, with one having a filling and one being just shortbread and fruit. I figured, why not combine them and make them in pint size form? Challenge, accepted!
Now, here’s your warning – this recipe will take a while and there are three parts to make these little beauties. Don’t be let the intensity and workload scare you away, because the browned butter and fresh homemade jam is will change lives. Do it for the ones you love.
For your Grocery List Include:
For the Jam:
~ 6 Nectarines, diced

~ Zest of 1 orange

~ 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

~ 1 cup Sugar

For the Filling:

~ 3 Large Eggs

~ 1 cup Sugar

~ Zest of 1 Orange

~ ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp Flour

~ 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

~ 10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

For the Shortbread:

~ 1 cup Sugar

~ 1 tsp Baking Powder

~ 2 ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp Flour

~ ¼ tsp Cinnamon

~ ⅛ tsp Nutmeg

~ 1 cup unsalted Butter

~ 1 large Egg

Whew, right?

Initially, I wanted to brown all of my butter. Over medium heat, melt your butter and let it begin to simmer. It will start to foam and burble, and you’ll know you’re almost there. With a scraper continuously stir your butter and scrap the browned bits off the bottom. It will go from toasty and nutty to smelly and burnt. No one wants the burny taste in their shortbread.

When it’s all toasty and brown, throw it all into a freezer safe container and plop it into the deep freeze to solidify. Go figure, melt butter only to solidify it again. 

The next third-ish part of this culinary calamity is the fresh nectarine jam. Things like peaches and nectarines are notoriously soupy when they get baked into deliciousness. And the last thing you want to do to a perfectly good shortbread is water it down. Thanks to the genius that is America’s Test Kitchen, making soft fruits into jams will concentrate their flavor and get rid of some of the moisture that would otherwise kill your dessert. They used this technique on blueberry muffins, so it’s bound to work with nectarines, right?

After dicing all of the nectarines, I added in the orange zest and vanilla. Is there anything that vanilla can’t do? That’s what I thought.

After pouring it all together in a gelatinous mash of awesome, I got it rolling away for about 30 minutes, mashing and whisking all of the fruit, vanilla and sugar together. When it starts to thicken while hot, you’ll know you’re on the right track. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Viola, insta-jam.
The most important piece of this puzzle is the shortbread itself. Is there anything like a crumbly, butterly, and flaky shortbread?
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove 1 cup of your browned butter from the freezer.

In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices. With a pastry blender, blend in solidified browned butter from the freezer. Place approximately just shy of ¼ cup of pastry blend into each cup of a greased non-stick cupcake pan, packing down with your hands to the bottom and around the sides of each cup.

Par-bake cups in preheated oven for 7 minutes.

Let cool on counter until jam and filling is finished and ready for assembly.

And for the filling, you’ll require..

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, zest of orange, flour and vanilla. Snag remaining brown butter and mix into flour mixture until entirely incorporated.

Now that all three individual parts of this puzzle are ready to go, it’s time for final assembly.

Fill par-baked shortbread about ⅔ full with filling. Dollop jam into the last ⅓ of the shortbread cups. Swirl the jam into the cups with a chopstick or knife.

Bake for 18 minutes in 375 degree oven. Allow to cool thoroughly before removing from cupcake pan. To remove, take butter knife around the edges of the shortbread cups and pop out of cupcake tin.
Serve with tea or devour, there’s no need to be hero when it comes to shortbread.

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