I made this for a recent Sunday open house. Some people have already commented on my recent predilection for fruity desserts. "Jess," they say, "you keep saying that dessert doesn't count unless it's made from chocolate, but you keep feeding us sweet treats that have never even seen a cocoa bean. What is the deal?" Well, I'll tell you. I haven't lost my craving for chocolate, and I haven't suddenly started to accept cocoa-free desserts as a normal and natural part of one's culinary repertoire. There are two reasons for this seeming inconsistency. First: if I make a non-chocolate dessert, I'm more likely to send the leftovers home with someone else and not be tempted to sit and eat it all myself. Second: one of our more frequent Sunday open house guests is allergic to dairy, and it's darned hard to come up with a dairy-free chocolate dessert which doesn't taste of coconuts. A third reason, which comes into play less than I'd like but still counts, is that another good friend of mine really dislikes chocolate, so if we're entertaining her it's all about the fruit.
Anyway, I was feeling pretty enthusiastic about this tart. I had a Vision for how I wanted it to come out. We learned in business school that Vision is important, and I figured since I finally had some I should use it. And while the lighting in this picture isn't the best, it at least shows that my Vision was brought to life. Visually, anyway, which is an important part of Vision. And with strawberries and peaches - together! - how could it go wrong? I'll tell you: Don't make this the night before you serve it. The strawberries and peaches leaked their wonderful, flavorful and delicious juices right into the crust. All night. Which turned my beautiful and wonderful and delicious crust into a soggy, gooey, paste-like mess. I was so sad and so upset! People seemed to enjoy the flavors, and they were kind enough to tell me that they didn't mind the crust. So if you make this at home, make it the day you plan to serve it. I'm just saying.
For the record, while the filling (and therefore the business end of the recipe) is original, the crust was the same one that I used in the Lemon and Currant Tart. It came from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert. Also, I am submitting this to the Strawberry Feast blogging event being hosted by Happy Cook at My Kitchen Treasures.
Peach and Strawberry Tart (serves 8; approx. $1.08/serving)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour
4 peaches, pitted and sliced
1 lb strawberries, stemmed and thinly sliced (save one whole strawberry for the center)
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons raw sugar, divided
1 small pinch rose-scented sugar for dusting (optional; not included with cost per serving)
- 9 1/2" fluted tart pan with removable bottom
- 3 bowls
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In one bowl, combine the butter, sugar, almond extract and salt.
- Add the flour. Mix until well combined.
- Press the dough into the tart pan. There will be absolutely no dough left over, so no nibbling if your inclinations run that way. It may seem like there is not enough dough, but be patient. There is. Barely.
- Prick the bottom of the tart a few times with a fork.
- Bake 20 minutes or until a nice, deep golden brown.
- Meanwhile, put your sliced peaches in one bowl and your sliced strawberries in the other.
- Toss the peaches with 1 teaspoon raw sugar and the cardamom.
- Toss the strawberries with 1 teaspoon raw sugar and the black pepper. Trust me.
- When the crust is out of the oven and is cool enough to touch (use your brain here,) begin to arrange the fruit slices in alternating concentric circles. Create a kind of petal pattern with peach slices laid perpendicular to the circles, and place a single intact strawberry in the center. You may have some slices of fruit left over; reserve them for another use.
- Bake another 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from heat. If you so desire, sprinkle a pinch of rose-scented sugar over the top of the tart immediately after removing it from the oven. Let it cool and serve it the same day.