Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Peaches, More Pastry

I went to a friend's house for dinner last night, which gave me an opportunity to make another peach tart. As I said in my last post, I wanted to try something with a custard and once again Paula Peck came through with a recipe. Hers is a Sour Cream Custard Cherry Tart. Mine was a Crème Fraîche Custard Peach Tart. But it's the same idea: fruit arranged in a tart shell covered with silky, rich custard.
I used crème fraîche because what else would you use with a quart of the finest cream in your refrigerator door and the wherewithal to culture it, but feel free to use store-bought or sour cream or I'm sure it would be delish with mascarpone.
Paula doesn't bake the tart shell blind and neither did I, but next time I might. It seems when you put something as moist as custard in a tart shell, you should do what you can to ensure a crisp crust. Although it's hard to judge, because in the 95% humidity of last night anything would have gone soft regardless of precautions taken.
Despite the atmospheric conditions, the tart was a success and it was all I could do to keep myself from having the leftovers for breakfast.

Crème Fraîche Custard Peach Tart

adapted from Paula Peck's The Art of Fine Baking

  • 1 recipe rich tart pastry
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups peach quarters (6-8 small peaches)
  • To make 2 cups crème fraîche: heat 2 cups heavy cream (not ultrapasteurized, preferably raw) to 165°F. (I started heating the cream to this point after several instances of a bacteria other than the one I introduced to my cream culturing, resulting in effervescent crème fraîche.) Allow the cream to cool to room temperature and stir in 2 tsp. yoghurt. Cover and leave in a warmish place 16-24 hours, depending on the level of tartness you wish to achieve. Resist any temptation to check on it as the bacteria do not like to be disturbed while they do their thing.
  • Line a 9-inch tart pan with pastry and chill in the freezer for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil. Fill a bowl with cold water and set near the stove. Drop the peaches into the boiling water for 10-15 seconds and then transfer to the cold water with a slotted spoon. This makes both the skins and stones easier to remove. Once all the peaches have been blanched, peel them and split them in half to remove their stones. Cut small peaches into quarters; larger peaches can be sliced into more pieces.
  • Whisk together eggs and sugar until well combined. Add crème fraîche and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  • Arrange peach slices attractively in tart shell then pour the custard mixture through a sieve over the fruit.
  • Bake about 45 minutes on the lowest rack in the oven, or until crust has browned and custard has set at the edges, but is still slightly jiggly at the center. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

1 comment:

Yoav said...

I wish I had one of those leftover pieces...it was oh so good!