Peaches are still so delicious right now, and I love the combination of almond flavor with the fruit. I was searching for a dessert to help celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary, and this was a delicious choice. I love the layers of thin, sweet peaches paired with the almond pastry cream that has the consistency of a scrumptious custard. This tart is reminiscent of the French tarts I love in all the windows of the patisserie in France and makes for a beautiful presentation. You could easily use a round tart pan, or a rectangular one, they all work!
for almond crust:
- 1 1/4 cups flour (I lov Bob’s Red Mill Pastry flour)
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, finely ground
- 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons ice cold vodka
- 2 -4 tablespoons ice water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
for pastry cream:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (substitute vanilla)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup red currant or peach jam
- 4 large, ripe( but firm) peaches, very thinly sliced
In a food processor, finely grind almonds. Add flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add diced butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal. With motor running, add vodka first and then add water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. There may be some flakes of butter and that is fine. Collect dough and flatten into a disc and wrap dough in plastic. Place wrapped dough in fridge, and allow to rest for at least 1 hour. Remove from fridge, and roll out on a floured surface to a 9x 9 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. (Alternatively, you could use a rectangular pan or a round fluted pan with removable bottom). Spray tart pan, with cooking spray and place crust in pan. Roll off any excess dough by trimming the edges as needed. Puncture the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in freezer (for about 10 minutes) while you preheat oven to 350 (I recommend convection for even baking). Line the crust with parchment paper and place ceramic baking beads or dried beans to cover bottom of crust. Bake crust in oven for about 10 minutes. Remove beads and bake another 10 minutes until crust is lightly golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool while you prepare the filling. Keep oven heated to 350.
for pastry cream and tart assembly:
While your crust is in fridge, prepare your pastry cream. In a large measuring cup, whisk the egg yolks with the milk until well blended. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. turn the heat on low and gradually mix in about a half a cup of the milk/egg mixture and whisk until you have a thick paste free of lumps. With the burner turned to medium, add the remainder of the milk mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Gradually increase heat until the mixture nears a boil, and pastry cream begins to thicken. Cook for another few minutes, remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Transfer to a bowl, and cover with plastic to prevent a skin from forming.
To assemble tart, spread your almond pastry cream in the par-baked crust, and level it to fill the to the top of crust, using an offset spatula. Take your sliced peaches and arrange them atop the pastry cream in layers to cover the cream completely. Sprinkle evenly with sugar. cream close to one another and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until peaches begin to caramelize and release their juices. Allow the tart to cool completely. Heat the jam in a microwaveable bowl, and using a pastry brush, glaze the peaches with jam to give them a nice sheen. Serve tart alone or with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Enjoy!!!