Friends, it’s been seven months and I’ve been negligent. Again. So instead of talking about it, let’s talk about a recipe I tried last summer that didn’t go very well, utilizing an ingredient you can’t currently get. Yeah. Let’s do that.
You may recall my love of summer peaches. This past summer, instead of making the peach pie I know and love, I thought, “Let’s get creative. Peach pie is perfect, sure, but there must be other good peach desserts out there.” I find peach desserts to be challenging. If they’re not peach pie or cobbler (I assume, having never made peach cobbler), they inevitably don’t taste peachy enough. So I tried to split the difference between peach pie and other, more disappointing peach desserts with a recipe I found in The Blackberry Farm Cookbook, “Roasted Peach Tart.” (You’ll find it on p. 43 in the Summer section.) It wasn’t as straightforward as peach pie, but it wasn’t as convoluted as those peach shortbreads I linked above.
I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t really like this. The honey in the “caramel” really overwhelms the flavor of the peaches, or at least, mine did. I was using schmancy honey because I got it as a stocking stuffer and I don’t actually like honey so I don’t have regular honey and maybe if I used regular honey it would have been fine. But I didn’t, so I don’t know. Also, the peaches remain whole, so it’s not like you’re getting peachy goodness on every bite – they don’t disperse their flavor or anything. Finally, it’s a pain in the fucking ass to make. Part of that is the fact that I didn’t read the damn recipe before I started (always read the damn recipe before you start) and so found myself having to make pastry in the time it took the “caramel” to caramelize rather than at a sensible rate. I do not blame the recipe writers for that. But I do blame them for crafting a caramel that never actually solidifies and then making me flip it out of a pan and onto a plate like a upside-down cake and assuming that won’t be a fiasco.
Maybe you’ll have better luck than me. I do encourage you to try. But I’m skeptical. Here’s the recipe, with my own slight modifications.
Roasted Peach Tart
Barely adapted from The Blackberry Farm Cookbook
For the crust: 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, frozen
4 – 6 tablespoons ice water
For the peaches: 2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (The recipe calls for fancy-ass salt, so used the fanciest-ass salt you got.)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons water
5 – 6 peaches, pitted, halved and peeled
Preheat the oven to 350.
Make the crust. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, then add your cubes of frozen butter and pulse until combined (should look grainy, i.e. “like coarse meal”). Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time until the whole thing pulls together. Set aside in the fridge. If you want to roll it out now, you’ll probably be glad you did.
Prepare your peaches: poach, then peel, pit, and halve.
Make the caramel. Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 3 tablespoons water in a large pan or skillet, then distribute the 1/2 cup sugar evenly over the honey-water mixture. Cook over medium heat without stirring for 11 – 12 minutes, until the sugar is entirely melted and the mixture is uniformly caramel colored. Because you are, after all, making caramel.
As soon as the caramel is ready, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, butter, and honey. (Why butter? I don’t fuckin’ know. I just did it.) Place the peaches, cut side up, in the hot caramel so that they cover the whole bottom of the pan. Place the crust over the top of the pan and tuck the edges in, like a crust blanket.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cool for 10 – 15 minutes, then place a large dinner place over the pan and flip. Good luck with this. I found it to be a total fiasco of a step, and I’m clumsy, but this is beyond the pale of things I should be expected to do, I feel.