Posted by camparigirl
I spent years in the professional kitchen studying flavour profiles, coming up with unlikely combinations and, when stumped, I would reach for my faithful Culinary Artistry cookbook, a veritable bible of what ingredients work together (more about the book). But what I learnt early, when wandering the weekly farmer’s market, is that a perfect raw ingredient should not be messed with.
This Summer has been good to California farmers, especially those with peach orchards. My favourite farm, Tenerelli, that specializes in peaches and nectarines in Summer and apples during the colder season, has been selling perfect yellow and white peaches week after week after week and I just can’t get enough. Every Friday, no matter how good my intentions to branch out, I will pop into my mouth one of the slices they offer to entice customers and, every Friday, I will load up.
The white peaches have no acidity whatsoever and they are akin to biting into a ball of sugar while the yellow ones, still very sweet, have a slight tart note which means that, combining the two together, affords you culinary perfection. I usually cut them and serve them just like that, maybe with some lemon juice and a tiny bit of sugar on top. They also found their way into some ice-cream and, this past week-end, into a very simple but elegant tart that showcases the fruit. The idea of quartering the fruit, instead of slicing it , and arrange it in concentric circles standing up, came courtesy of the New York Times and, I have to say, it looks pretty dramatic.
I am a peach glutton which is why I went for peaches but any seasonal fruit combination will work – apricots, plums, apples or pears, depending on where you are, will be perfectly suitable. The jam at the bottom can also be changed according to personal taste.
1 1/2 C Flour (187 g)
1/2 ts Salt
4 T Sugar, divided
11 T Butter, divided (155 g – 113 + 42), cut in small cubes and kept very cold
1 Egg Yolk
6 or 7 Yellow and White Peaches (or other fruit)
6 T Apricot Jam
- Mix flour, 2 T sugar and salt together in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add 8 T (155 g) butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and some pea size butter chunks are present. Add the beaten egg yolks and approx 3 T of cold water and mix just until the dough comes together. Use a bit more water if necessary – dough should be moist but not wet. (You can also make the dough by hand using a pastry cutter to mix in the butter or, else, use a food processor)
- Gather the dough in a flattened ball and roll it out to fit a 10” tart pan (possibly with removable bottom but a pretty ceramic pie pan will be fine also). Transfer it to the pie pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Set the oven to 375F (190C). Line the tart shell with foil or parchment paper and weigh it down with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 12/13 minutes. Take it out of the oven, remove the weights and place it back in for another 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
- In the meantime, cut the fruit. Remove the pits and quarter the peaches (or cut in eighths if particularly large). You want large chunks not thin slices. Do not peel them. Set aside. Melt the remaining butter.
- Remove the tart shell from the oven and increase the temperature to 400F (200C). Spread the apricot jam on the bottom of the tart then arrange the cut up fruit in concentric circles, nestling each chunk very close to one another. Drizzle with the melted butter and sprinkle the remaining sugar – adjust the sugar quantity based on the fruit’s sweetness.
- Bake for another 40 minutes, until the fruit is very tender but not falling apart and not charred. The border of the tart shell should be a deep golden brown.
- Cool and serve with whipped cream or ice-cream.
Recipe adapted from the NY Times