A Fine Peach Tart

This is the 12th attempt at writing this post. In the time between my last post and this one, I have just about dug myself out of an avalanche of uniforms, lunch boxes, traffic nightmares, homework, tantrums and potty training. I also, managed to make a gloriously delicious Peach Tart. Which I then knocked over and it went splat on the ground. There are some weeks, never mind days, when you really don’t know which direction you’re supposed to be going in. I know my reasons for moaning sound incredibly petty, but there you have it. Grin and bear it, is the current motto.

Peach Tart C The Patterned Plate

By some miracle of providence, I got photos of the tart before my ample hip decided to knock the board it was on. It managed to flip over onto the baking sheet, rather than the floor tiles which ensured that it was still safe to eat. The pastry was mostly intact even after it’s Cirque du Soleil act, so that’s a testament to the strength of the recipe. I know peaches are generally out of season by now, but they seem to be lining the Doha supermarket shelves still and I am not complaining. If autumn has well and truly grazed your cheeks with a chilled kiss, then by all means, substitute with pears, plums or apple. Consider cinnamon, star anise, orange or lemon zest or coconut for flavour partners. The mood you want for this is as varied as the colours of autumn leaves.

Nigella’s mince pie pastry is the one I used here. It’s a solid, dependable recipe for me and produces an easy going, forgiving pastry. Light, flaky, puffy but able to stand up to the filling, it’s my go to sweet tart pastry recipe. The use of chilled orange juice as the binding liquid keeps the pastry tender, the use of shortening ensures flakiness and the freezing of fats and flour makes all the difference to the consistency, which is so important, particularly in a humid and hot environment like Doha. Now don’t scrunch your nose at the mention of shortening. The one I used was Earth Nature’s natural shortening, which doesn’t contain hydrogenated fats. Granted, that’s not the only reason that makes shortening undesirable, but it does give those incredible flaky layers. You could however, use butter for the entire fat amounts specified. I don’t mind.

Sliced peaches, skin on (seriously, after the week I had, life was definitely far too short to skin a peach) are tossed with some cornflour  and sugar and  then add spices of your choice. I left it without, simply because I couldn’t be bothered to walk to the pantry and I wanted to add toasted coconut flakes at the end. Use peaches, or indeed any fruit, that’s ripe but firm. If they are well past, they will give out a lot more liquid and you risk having soggy pastry. If that’s all you have, use a slotted spoon to drain out the tossed fruit before placing on your rolled pastry.

Peach Tart B The Patterned Plate

I loved how this turned out. More than that I really enjoyed the process. When feeling out of control, I head to the kitchen to create something that demands more of my attention, taking my mind of other important pressing affairs; or so they seem. At that moment, nothing matters, but flaky, tender pastry. And when you see the result of those efforts come out of the oven, puffed and golden, fruit glistening with juice, annoyances that drove you to the stove seem to become manageable away from it.

Until you knock the damn thing over.

Then, you start again.

Until I get my head round that, there is always a time for a peach.

For Nigella’s Pastry recipe, click here.

Peach Tart

For the pastry
240g plain
60g vegetable shortening, such as Trex
60g cold butter
juice of one orange
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of caster sugar

For the filling
2 large peaches, stoned and sliced finely
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 rounded tablespoons cornflour
optional 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
toasted coconut flake, optional

To make the pastry, measure the flour and add lumps/diced cubes of the fat, in a shallow bowl and shake to cover with the flour. Place in the freezer for twenty minutes.

Mix the orange juice and the salt and place in the fridge.

Prepare your fruit and place in a bowl with the sugar, cornflour and spices if using and mix gently. Set aside

After 20 minutes, pre-heat the oven to 190 deg C. Using a food processor, pulse the fat and flours, until you get a rubble that looks like porridge oats. Add the salted juice pulsing until it looks like the pastry is just about to come together. Or rub the pastry and fats together using the tip of your fingers until you get porridge like flakes. Add the liquid slowly and mix through the pastry gently, but firmly. Whatever method you choose to make the pastry, combine the dough using your hands. Do NOT knead. The less it is handled, the more tender the pastry.

Since this is a rustic approach, I roll the pastry between two sheets of cling film, turning the pastry and lifting the film as needed, until the pastry is around 6mm thick. Place the fruit in slices next to each other and continue till the pastry is filled, leaving a 7 cms border all round. Don’t get too hung up on the math. Just leave enough space to be able to fold the pastry over a wee bit.

Fold the pastry over the fruit, pinching in parts to creating a wave effect, or just fold flat over the peaches.

If you feel the pastry is too soft, place in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up a bit before placing in the oven.

You can, if you like, brush the edges with an egg wash, made with a beaten egg mixed with some milk or water. This will give it a lovely brown sheen.

Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the peaches are soft and the pastry is golden and puffed.

A few minutes before it’s done, you can apply a light brush of warmed, smooth apricot jam over the fruit, to give it a sheen. Place bake in the oven for half a minute and take it out. Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes, if using.

Leave to cool a bit. This tart is gorgeous served warm, with some velvety creme fraiche or cold, smooth ice cream. I wouldn’t say no to a slice cold either.

It is best on the day it’s made.


67 thoughts on “A Fine Peach Tart

  1. melanie

    love the new look….and the pics are fantastic…love the look of the tart on the whole….I’d eat it right off the floor and you know I would…..I’m particularly interested in the no tin or tart dish baking just fold over seems to appeal to me…..

  2. Joost Poort

    This looks gorgeous and I love your post, as always. Oh, and ten points for perseverance! I don’t know if I would have made a new one after knocking the first one over 😉

  3. Sarvani @ baker in disguise

    Oh i love a rustic looking pie.. and I love the part where sometimes the juices overflow and stain the pastry.. yum!!! and if i mine fell on the ground.. U do know the ‘5-second rule’ .. a quick look around… shhh…all’s well…

  4. Ann Koekepan

    and than the pictures! Aren’t they stunning! Love your post Carrie, and love the tart. Good idea to use the mince pies pastry, it is indeed an easy pliable dough.

    1. The Patterned Plate

      It’s good bothways. I don’t know what it is about peaches that make them such a perfect partner to rich dairy products. But, having said that, I prefer it plain myself, it’s just my thing. I am an apple pie girl, but please save the custard for yourself, sorta person!!

  5. To Markt To Markt

    I just returned from a culinary trip to Paris and treated myself to as many French pastries as humanly possible, and this tart looks exactly like something that would make my mouth water at a classic french Boulangerie. Well done- what a stunning peach tart! Your photography is beautiful as always… I love following your posts 🙂 Bon appetit!!

      1. To Markt To Markt

        It was a phenomenal trip to Paris!! Pastries galore, pate, bread, fantastic french food… they had to roll me onto the plane 🙂 It was all completely worth it! I will be posting about my adventures for weeks to come so keep checking back. Looking forward to seeing your new posts as well!

        1. The Patterned Plate

          I went there with my best friend almost 8 years ago now and it was the best. Talk about stuffing our faces! But we walked everywhere so it negated the indulgence, or so I tell myself! Good to hear you had a good time, it’s such a memorable city to visit. Look forward to the posts 🙂

  6. Big Hungry Gnomes

    This peach tart looks wonderful. I think had I been making this in a flying around the kitchen mad panic, I probably would have sliced open a finger when cutting the peaches, given up and had a cup of tea, and would never have produced such a beautiful tart as yours. Thanks for sharing the fantastic recipe

  7. Allison

    Such a nice idea to sprinkle coconut shavings over the tart! And I’m so glad that you made it again despite knocking that other one over! No such thing as too many peach tarts… this one looks beautiful.

  8. Natalie Morine

    Cant say I would have made another either…you must have really fancied some tart. Glad you did though another enjoyable post & wonderful photography. Looking forward to a book in the future???? P.S. Like the new Up sized cover picture. 😉

  9. Big Sis Little Dish

    Good for you for defending shortening! No one is eating entire buckets of it. A bit in a crust every once in a while is not going hurt a person. Surely any harm is outweighed by the magical healing properties of flakiness! Right? I love your fall banner!

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Exactly and I mean, the flakiness! Oh, it’s worth a bit of shortening!
      Thanks! I worked harder on this one haha! It’s good to change things up a bit…still not sure about the background, but I’ll see how it sits over time 🙂

  10. emmycooks

    How beautiful. I know what you mean about enjoying the process–I also like cooking because it is a bit meditative, and lets me be in the eye of the storm in the whirlwind life of raising small children! And eating dessert always makes me feel better too. 🙂

    1. The Patterned Plate

      I like that analogy and as a mum with two small kids, I totally understand! I particularly like yeast based or pastry based baking/cooking because it really demands your concentration..or mine at least. And peaches, oh, how can anyone not be happy when eating a juicy peach? 😉

  11. Rushi!

    Carrie trust you to create something spectacular using peaches. I love making pies and tarts, just makes you feel all domesticky (is there such a word? 😀 ) I was wondering if it’ll hurt the tart if I leave out the sugar, I’ve been banned from consuming sugar so trying my level best to find something that I can eat but then again two tablespoons is nothing much, atleast that’s what I’ll tell myself.
    Anyway so happy to see a new post from ya, we missed you alot 🙂

    1. The Patterned Plate

      HAHA! I am not sure Rushi, if there is such a word, but it’s very fitting!
      Yes, you can definitely leave out the sugar from both, the pastry as well as the fruit, if you have pretty juicy, sweet peaches. Nectarines, plums, apples (not sharp ones, go for an eating apple to give you sweetness without sugar) and pears can all be given the same treatment. Using orange juice and adding some zest to the fruit is another option for added flavour.
      I have been working behind the scenes! New banner and it takes time cos I can only do it after everyone is in bed. But hope to start posting more regularly. I’ve missed all the interaction too! 🙂

      1. Rushi!

        Oh good, that means I can make it during the weekend and eat the leftovers when hubby’s off at work, hope that didn’t come out as being too greedy.

        As for guavas, I love ’em. Haven’t come across any here but my aunt had a tree and I used to hang around alot at her place just to get my hands on those fruit. Plus the last time I visited my mom I had this juice thing made out of gauva and strawberries.

        1. The Patterned Plate

          hahah! I love the way you have pre-planned everything!

          I adore guavas…even sprinkled with chilli powder and salt, a treatment I give to mangoes too. I can see guavas and strawbs working really well together.

  12. TheCubanFoodBlog

    Giggling away as I read your post! Thanks for giving us a slice of your life and your peach tart. I always apply the 5 second rule when it comes to food even on the sometimes dusty floors in Havana. My immune system is ten times stronger as a result. I’ve not encountered peaches yet here, so I’m going to have a go making this tart with Guava. From your blog post the pastry looks very doable so fingers crossed 🙂

    1. The Patterned Plate

      I am a big believer in the 5 second rule too, so long as no one is watching!
      I ADORE guavas. I go through kilos during it’s season and there is such a vast array of types and colours. I would love to know the outcome using guavas as I have never cooked with them. It isn’t traditional to do so where I am from,though I know its cooked in Caribbean and related cuisine. Good luck!

  13. amartin1991

    this tart is absolutely gorgeous, as is the lighting. what do you use to light your photos (to filter the light, produce it, etc.)? i’m a bit of a beginning blogger/photographer and would love to learn from the pros 🙂

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Thanks 🙂 I am anything but a pro!! Hope this info helps though.

      I don’t have anything special like diffusers or reflectors. This photograph was taken by the side of a large window in the front of the house but the sun was already over the back, so it didn’t need too much diffusing. I have a light, see through, thin curtain over the window which I gathered and placed to the side, so that it cast a shadow over the top edge of the board the tart was on. This allowed only the tart to have the access to the most light. Keeping it this close to the window meant that I could get darker shadows and brighter highlights, both of which you can soften with a diffuser. If I do want light to be reflected back in to the frame, I use a simple, cheap white foam board.
      This place (scroll down on the question, how can I improve my photography) will give you links to good articles on food photography. Good luck!


  14. saltandserenity

    Beautiful tart! I love free-form tarts too. So easy. The folding and gathering of your tart looks so symetrical. Peach and coconut is an inspired combo. I will be checking out Nigella’s dough recipe. My go-to galette dough uses a bit of cornmeal with the flour and butter and sourcream. It is quite flaky and very easy to roll out.

    1. The Patterned Plate

      OOh I like the sound of your pastry. What kind of texture does it have? I’d guess there’s a bit of grainy texture with the cornmeal. Love the idea of sour cream to bind too. Must have a stab at that…

      This pastry is so utterly maleable. That’s why I chose it for a free form and it doesn’t suffer too much for not being refrigerated though I had to, with the temp in Doha.

  15. The Spicy Saffron

    The new header is fantastic , Carrie. I am totally loving the rustic, subtle, grayish orange (if its the right description of the color?) and again the tart has got the same rustic feel as if it’s a celebration on account of the new header!! I am so going to make this tart soon…. before the peaches disappear from the market 🙂

  16. Rural*ish

    Gorgeous pictures, hilarious post! As a mama who’s in the thick of two sick, whining, clingy boys under 4 this week, I definitely feel your pain. Kudos to you for conquering it all, you gave me some much-needed laughs & a little extra strength to get through today. I came across you while researching the “Imbalance 2” theme, and I think I might just stick around awhile…thank you!!
    🙂 Jenna

  17. Pingback: Puff Pastry Peach Tartlets | Breezerts

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