Monday, July 20, 2009

Millions of Peaches

OMG! Okay, I have been waiting MONTHS to be able to use that in something more than texting with my teenage sister! Or my husband LOL! But seriously the peaches this year are a little bit of that. I just got some. I was a little scared I admit. And before I go on, I am not trying to offend any peach growers. I am simply speaking from my own peach experiences the last couple of years. The peaches just were not what I remembered. They looked beautiful but yes, their beauty was skin deep. The ones I encountered were either ripe feeling but dry and tasteless or knock your ex-boyfriend out hard as a rock acidic. When choosing between the two, I always picked the latter for two reasons. You could always cook or quickly poach them and bring out some peachy flavor. And just the thought of knocking out your boyfriend with a rock hard peach was enough to bring a smile to your face and make you forget about the lack of peachiness for a second. I was a little more like doubled over in laughter but that seems a little boastful. Those poor dry guys, there was just no helping them. And to be honest with you, I didn't want to. I mean if I you are soooo bad I have to dress you up just to take you out and once we get out everyone is just like 'oh, he's here?' then I don't want to take the time to dress you up. Make sense?

But this year-I haven't seen those problems. Even the firmer peaches I have gotten still have a beautiful perfume to them. You can see from their little blushing cheeks and sweet peach flesh they are only going to get better. And the ripe ones should be labled candy, truly. I just hope everyone else is having a great peach experience. Oh please let the rest of the season yield such delights.

What can I do with them you cry! Whatever you would like of course. Summer is not complete without peach pie or cobbler or crisp or ice cream! Sauté them with a little sugar, vanilla and butter. Finish with a little Sauternes, over ice cream, beautiful! Poach them in a white wine syrup. Dress them up with fresh herbs like thyme. You can even serve them with pork or chicken. In a salad you say? Why not! Just eat them and enjoy them now in their season.

I was recently asked to make a video tape (stop!) and demonstrate a summer dessert I like to make. There is a peach tart I like to make that is so simple and delicious. It is a little more sophisticated than serving a pie and it is even easier. The recipe and directions follow. You can watch me make the tart on and read about the event taking place in December.

Peach Tart

Frozen Puff Pastry - this tart takes 1/2 package of the Pepperidge Farms brand
3-4 peaches-firm but not hard
1/3 recipe almond cream-recipe follows
One rectangle tart pan w/removeable bottom (4"x 13.5")
1/2 stick of butter, melted for brushing the tart just before baking
2 T sugar for sprinkling on the tart just before baking

Thaw one piece of the puff pastry and roll out until it is about 14.5" in length. This doesn't have to be exact, but the puff should be just longer than the pan so it covers the ends and drapes well over the long sides. Dock the pastry with a fork or dough docker and place in the sprayed tart pan. Press gently on the bottom and up the sides. Do not trim. Reserve in the freezer until ready to use.

Almond cream:

4 oz butter, room temp
4 oz sugar
4 oz almond flour
3 ea eggs, room temp

Combine butter, sugar, and flour in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix just until the ingredients start to stick to the sides. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping between each addition. Mix until everything is combined. The mixture should be all one color. The left over almond cream may be frozen in an airtight container.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 350℉. Remove the tart shell from the freezer. Trim the long sides, leaving about 1/4" on each side. Spoon about 1/3 of the almond cream into the shell and spread out evenly along the bottom. Slice the peaches about 1/8" thick and shingle onto the almond cream. Fold in the long sides of the puff and place the tart back in the freezer. Melt 1/2 stick of butter, brush over the tart and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake the tart for 30-40 minutes. The puff will be golden brown and the almond cream will be starting to color. Serve warm or room temperature with pistachio ice cream and a summer fruit salad or out of a picnic basket with a nice glass of sauternes.

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