Although the summer is generally dominated by the king of fruit, i.e. mangoes, there is much to be said for deliciously juicy peaches, which are at their best just before they are about to go out of season.
The beginning of peach season brings with it the clingstone variety of the fruit in which — as the name suggests — the flesh clings to the skin, but as the season wears on, freestone peaches flood the market and these are excellent for cooking or baking. I’ve realised lately that a lot of people are averse to eating fuzzy peach skins so I’ve peeled them in the recipe below; however, if you live in a household where they are appreciated, proceed with the skin on!
Today’s recipe is a peach frangipane tart. If you read this column often enough you will have guessed that I enjoy making and writing about tarts. There is something quite wonderful about the crisp tart base coming together with a soft (and in this case, warm) filling. It also makes a nice change from the melbas, cobblers and crumbles that most people make when they think about cooking with peaches.
The peach frangipane tart has three elements — tart base, frangipane cream (also known as almond cream), and the fruit topping.
Peach frangipane tart
Tart base - Ingredients
- Flour – 142 gm
- Butter (salted) – 85 gm (chilled, cut into cubes)
- Icing Sugar – 53 gm
- Salt – ½ teaspoon
- Almond powder – 18 gm (if you don’t have access to almond powder, you can make your own by blanching almonds, drying them and then grinding them into a fine powder)
- Eggs – 32 gm (to weigh your eggs, simply break them into a bowl and whisk them; then put another bowl on a weighing scale and measure out how much you need)
Put the flour, butter, icing sugar, salt and almond powder into a food processor and process until the mixture looks like sand (be careful not to over process). Add the eggs and process only until the mixture starts forming clumps. Put the clumps on a clean kitchen counter and bring together into a ball of dough. Flatten the dough into a four-inch circle, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour. Grease a tart pan (I used an 11-inch tart pan with a removable base), remove the dough from the fridge and roll it into a large circle (the ideal size is at least two inches larger than the diameter of your tart pan). Set the dough in the pan and trim off any excess dough on the sides (this dough has no water in it, therefore, it will not shrink during baking). Use the tines of a fork to poke holes all over the base and refrigerate the unbaked tart for 15 minutes.
Frangipane or almond cream - Ingredients
- Almonds (blanched) – 220 gm
- Caster Sugar – 150 gm
- Salt – ¼ teaspoon
- Eggs – 2
- Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon
- Almond essence – 1.5 teaspoons
- Melted butter – 2 tablespoons
Put the sliced almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor and mix until the almonds are finely ground. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond essences and mix until combined. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse until mixed.
- Peaches – 4-5 large ones, peeled and sliced thinly
- Caster sugar – 2 tablespoons
Bake the tart base in an oven pre-heated to 160 degrees C for 20-26 minutes or until the base is golden brown and the edges start leaving the sides of the pan. Cool for 5-10 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees C.
Pour the frangipane into the still warm tart base and spread out with a spatula to ensure it is even. Arrange the peach slices in two circular rings, sprinkle on the caster sugar and bake for 45 minutes or until the frangipane is puffed up, set and golden brown.
The writer holds a diploma in pastry from Le Cordon Bleu.
Originally published in Dawn, EOS, August 25th, 2019