The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Luke Chavez
The Times 

Fresh Peach Tart

My Recipes|Luke Chavez

 

September 2, 2021

Luke Chavez

Last week, we were gifted a bountiful bowl of fresh local peaches. Few summer treats are as special as the first juicy bite of a perfectly ripe peach at peak season. With a family birthday coming up, I wanted to create a special dessert to highlight the beautiful plump stone fruit. This tart combines French sugar crust (pâte sablée) and a pastry cream (crème pâtissière) with a hint of cardamom to create a delicate backdrop for the vibrant fresh fruit.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons sugar

⅛ teaspoon baking powder

7 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed

1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crème pâtissière:

1 cup granulated sugar

5 egg yolks

½ cup flour

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Assemble:

4-5 fresh peaches

1 cup apricot or peach preserves

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Make the crust: Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add butter, using fingers to rub flour and butter together rapidly, until combined into small pea-sized pieces. (Alternatively, you could use a pastry cutter or food processor.) Use a fork to blend in the egg mixture and vanilla. Gently combine and form dough into a ball on a clean work surface. Use the heel of your hand to smear the dough away from you, one golf ball sized clump at a time, until all dough has been smeared. Collect the dough and gently press it back together. Form into a disk, wrap with plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap chilled dough and place on floured work surface. Working quickly, roll out the dough, keeping surface and rolling pin well-floured. Be patient, dough will be very sticky and crumbly. Repair breaks and tears by pressing pieces back together. Roll out a ⅛-inch thick round. Line a 10-inch tart pan (metal with removable bottom) molding dough around sides evenly. Line crust with foil and fill with pie weights (old dry beans work). Bake for 6 minutes to set crust. Remove foil and weights, prick the bottom of crust with a fork several times, then bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until fully baked. Keep a close eye, as the crust can burn quickly. The crust will be light golden brown all over and slightly shrunken on sides when done. Remove and set on a rack to cool completely.

Make the pastry cream: In a mixing bowl, gradually beat the sugar into egg yolks with a wire whisk. Continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is pale, creamy, and forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted. Beat in the flour. In a medium saucepan bring milk to a boil. Beat mixture with a whisk, while pouring in hot milk, a few drops at a time at first. Continue to pour milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until all of the milk is incorporated with egg mixture.

Pour mixture into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Continue to whisk as you bring to a boil, making sure to scrape up the bottom and sides of the pan. The mixture will start to look lumpy but don't panic, it will smooth out as you whisk. When boil is reached turn heat down to medium-low and continue whisking for 2 to 3 minutes. Make certain not to scorch the bottom. When done, it should be thickened and silky smooth. Take the pan off heat then beat in the butter, vanilla, and cardamom. With a rubber spatula, transfer the pastry cream to a shallow dish, dot top with butter, and allow to cool.

Assemble: In a small saucepan combine fruit preserves, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and stir until slightly thickened, then take off the heat. Brush a thin layer of fruit glaze over the bottom of the tart crust. With a rubber spatula, spread pastry cream in a single even layer, leaving about ¼-inch of room for peaches. Depending on tart pan size, you might not use all the pastry cream.

Slice peaches into ½-inch thick slices. Arrange peaches decoratively over top of pastry cream, in concentric circles starting from outer edge to center. Brush the top of the fruit with glaze. Serve immediately, or chill for an hour before serving.

Notes:

This tart can be adjusted to highlight any fresh soft fruit such as cherries and plums. Fresh strawberries are also lovely. For a tropical delight try a mix of pineapple, kiwi, and mango. The flavorings in the pastry cream can be adjusted to pair with your fruit. Instead of cardamom try fresh citrus zest or a pinch of all-spice. Instead of vanilla extract try cognac, rum, or orange liqueur. Bon appétit! Enjoy.

 

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