peach and blackberry tart

28 06 2010

We move often: sometimes small shifts, occasionally cross-country or trans-continental. In all the small rituals of regularly packing up your life, including storing flattened moving boxes in all kinds of crannies and absently noting the location of storage and moving supply stores in the area, two rituals are especially charming memory-gifts. And they both involve offerings of food.

One ritual, for local moves that don’t shift beyond your circle of friends and family, is a house-warming party. Once your new place has been unpacked and settled, a simple gathering is such a nice way to Welcome love and good cheer into your home. It can be an intimate meal with just a few people or a potluck feast with big open-house crowds.

A second ritual, for big moves that journey toward lands and crowds unknown, is a going-away celebration. Big or small, complicated or not, this is a lovely gift to give and receive.

We have some wonderful friends who are making a big journey Away, and we were so happy to spend an afternoon together this weekend. In addition to being kind, thoughtful, and always interesting individuals, they are also friends with whom we share a lot of milestones. College. Adventures in D.C. after college. Getting engaged, then married. Being new parents.

Movers generally don’t need another tangible item to pack away, unless it’s given early in their packing process before they are frazzled and stressed, Edible going-away gifts are a nice compromise. We brought home a drawerful of peaches (maybe too many) from the farm this weekend, so a baked peach treat was definitely appropriate.

peach blackberry tart

I still haven’t managed to get a decent sweet tart dough assembled – our old food processor is packed away in storage and cutting in butter by hand is a process I’m still very bad with – so I combined a couple of recipes to create a nice, crunchy, peach-and-berry tart. This tart crust is more like a pie crust, using no sugar and shortening instead of butter, but it is nicely flakey. I’m a novice tart-maker, still nervous about the whole experience, so if I can do this recipe then anyone probably can. Just make sure you have some time to get all the parts assembled. Experiment and enjoy!

This is #12/100 in my year of 100 Desserts.

Peach & Blackberry Tart (serves 8-10)
adapted from 2 sources: No Skill Fruit Tart recipe posted at AllRecipes, and from Summer Fruit Galette recipe in Baking by Dorrie Greenspan

2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 C shortening
1/2 C cold water

fruit filling
3 peaches, peeled and chopped
1 C blackberries
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon* (optional, but very tasty)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1/3 C sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven at 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease a 9-inch tart pan or springform pan with a bit of butter.

Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut in shortening until dough pieces are small and crumbly – most recipes say, “until it looks like oatmeal,” but personally my oatmeal is never chunky so that description doesn’t work for me. Add water slowly, stirring between each addition until the water is absorbed in the dough. Knead for 20-30 seconds, just enough so that the dough holds together. Minimal mixing & handling is one of the keys to getting flaky crust, another key is cold dough, so after kneading, put dough back in the bowl and set aside in the freezer.

Mix sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon (optional) together in a large bowl. Add chopped peaches and whole blackberries. Toss gently until fruit is covered. Set aside for a bit.

Place tart or springform pan on the covered baking sheet. Remove dough from freezer and place in the tart or springform pan. Use your hands to press the dough down and around until it is spread evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Back to the fruit filling. Drain juicy liquid from the bowl – a sieve or colander is fast and easy, but it also adds another clean-up step later. If you skip this step and leave the liquid in, the bottom of the tart will be soggy instead of firm. And who likes a droopy slice, really? Spoon the fruit onto dough, spread evenly over the whole bottom of the tart and next to the edges.

It will look a bit sparse when things are all spread out, but don’t worry – the custard will fill in those bits later. For now, put the tart in the oven. Bake 25 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

While it’s baking, make the custard. Combine sugar, egg, and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk well and slowly whisk in butter. The liquid custard mixture will thicken slightly once the butter is mixed in. Set aside.

After tart is browned, remove baking sheet and pan from heat. Pour the custard around the sizzling fruit, making sure to cover the whole tart and near the edges. Return to oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until custard is lightly browned and doesn’t shift when you move the pan. The custard may still look a bit moist right around the edge of the blackberries, especially if you use large blackberries.

peach blackberry tart - closeup

Remove baking sheet from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Then lift bottom of tart pan (or springform pan) from the sides. Carefully slide tart off the bottom piece onto a wire rack and let cool. Enjoy!

You can use whatever combination of fruit that you like. I added cinnamon because I love it with peaches and yogurt in the morning, and here it adds a nice zip to the tart. Ginger would also be nice with peaches. But you can try other spices or do without any.




6 responses

28 06 2010
john lee

this is great. Serve with a large cup of coffee from freshly ground beans. specially blue-mountain coffee. heavenly

28 06 2010

O MY GOD. I’m at work and drooling on my desk. I’ve got a little bag of fresh peaches and saw some berries at the market on my way to the subway this morning. I’m putting this in my bookmarks and coming back to it asap. I wish I had some right now.

28 06 2010

Looks lovely! Unfortunately it involves heat and that ain’t happening in my apartment with no AC.


Nice Ani reference this morning, by the way. Put a smile on my face.

more joy, less shame indeed.

28 06 2010
elizabeth ~ so wabi sabi

your tart looks so yummy…and look at those blackberries!

29 06 2010

thank you! aren’t they crazy big? they’re from an organic farm near our house

28 06 2010

that tart looks fantastic! i picked up some peaches at the market over the weekend and i’ve been indulging in two per day. mmmmmmmm.

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