Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peach Tart

I made pastry cream! Bucket list, check.

Pastry cream is a homemade custard (just like you would make for ice cream or pudding), and at the end you add in butter.

It's flavored with vanilla.
It's divine.
You'll want to lick the spatula ad infinitum.

We got the peaches for this tart at the farmers market. They're like candy: sweet, soft, trickle-down-your-face juicy. So amazing.

I love how at farmers markets you can talk to the people who made the food you're buying. It's more meaningful than buying from your grocery cashier (which is also totally wonderful and I don't doubt that you could have a fantastic relationship with your local grocery store and get fabulous produce there too).

But I betcha don't get free samples! Farmer's market samples are the best. And the guy always throws in an extra peach or tomato, which is so nice.

Oh, goodness, and the crust. It's a super flaky, rich, buttery shortbread cookie crust. Yumyumyum.

We had extra dough. I made cookies out of it. They were gone within 15 minutes of coming out of the oven. Plain, no decorations, just straight-up good.

And then the tart is finished off with a glaze that includes the leftover peach juice! Leave no flavoring unused!

Peach Tart

Note: the original recipe suggests berries, and I do think they would make for a neater tart, since a blueberry/raspberry/blackberry doesn't gush juice everywhere. If you're subbing in berries, skip the maceration step!

Yield: 1 tart


For the pastry cream:

2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the tart shell:

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2/3 cup (2 2/3 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Putting it together:
Berries, peaches (peeled/sliced, macerate in a couple of tablespoons of sugar to get some moisture out), other fruit--we used 4 peaches
1/3 cup red currant or apple jelly


Prepare the pastry cream first:

  1. Heat the half-and-half; 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk-in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
  3. When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer, gradually whisk the simmering half- and-half into the yolk mixture to temper. Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. If mixture looks curdled, whisk like your life depends on it, then strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
Then, prepare the tart shell while the cream cools:
  1. Whisk together the yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process briefly to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll out between 2 lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to a 13-inch round, fixing cracks by pushing the dough back together. (If the dough is soft and sticky, slip it onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until workable, 20 to 30 minutes.) Transfer the dough to a tart pan and ease the into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge with one hand while pressing it into the corners with the other hand. Run the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to remove the excess dough. Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze 30 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen tart shell and over the edge, and fill with old beans or metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights by gathering the edges of the foil and pulling up and out. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Set the baking sheet with the tart shell on a wire rack to cool to room temp.
It's assembly time!
  1. Spread the cold pastry cream over the bottom of the tart shell, using an offset spatula or large spoon.  Arrange the fruit on top of the pastry cream, draining peaches from whatever liquid ran off when they were macerating.
  2. Microwave the jelly and the leftover peach juice (if using peaches) together until boiling/thick, then dab, flick, and brush over the fruit.
  3. Slice and serve!

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