It’s peach season, and as much as I enjoy eating them straight out of hand, I do on occasion like to use them in desserts. Tarts are a particularly good way to show off gorgeous produce, so it only makes sense that I would end up making a peach tart someday.
I was initially inspired by this recipe from Food52, which was intriguing in that the crust used oil (vegetable and olive oil) rather than butter, and that the fruit itself was topped with a sugar/flour mixture rather than being mixed in with it before baking. The finished tart wasn’t bad, but the crust had a sandy, crumbly texture that didn’t hold together all that well. I thought I could do better.
I made it again, substituting in a crust that uses melted butter but keeping the remaining parts of the recipe, which were pretty darned good. The crust recipe is similar to one I’ve used before, but it includes extra water and oil along with the butter, which seems to work pretty well! Best of all, I made it in one bowl and pressed it directly into the tart pan– no rolling or chilling!
The finished tart is beautiful (but rustic– this is not a pristinely perfect French-style tart), with the crumbly topping melting into a gorgeous bubbly glaze. I like it best served warm with vanilla ice cream, but I’ve been known to eat it with vanilla yogurt so I can call it breakfast.
Crust (from Paule Caillat via Food52)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1 cup flour, plus extra as required
1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees F.
2. In a metal or Pyrex mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except flour.
3. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes, until butter melts and solids turn brown.
4. Carefully remove bowl from the oven and stir in 1 cup of flour. Add more flour by the tablespoon as necessary to form a soft dough.
5. Dump your dough into a removable-bottom tart pan and press thinly along the bottom and up the sides.
4 peaches, cut into 1/2″ slices
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch
2 tbs. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbs. butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1. Arrange peach slices in concentric circles around the bottom of the unbaked crust, overlapping slightly.
2. Combine the sugar, flour, salt, cornstarch, and butter cubes in a bowl and rub between your fingers until it turns into moist crumbs and the butter is entirely incorporated.
3. Spread the topping thickly over the peach slices– it’ll seem like a lot, but you can use it all. (See Note)
4. Bake on a rack set in the lower third of the oven for 35-45 minutes, until crust turns golden brown and the glaze starts bubbling thickly over the fruit.
Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.
- The original tart crust recipe called for a tablespoon of sugar for sweet applications, but I find it too sweet when paired with the sugary topping here so I omitted it and made a special point of saying that you should use a generous pinch of salt. If you prefer sweeter desserts, feel free to put the sugar back in during the first step.
- If your fruit is particularly juicy you may want to take steps to control the juiciness of the tart by adding a tablespoon or so of extra flour or cornstarch to the topping, or (my favorite) adding a layer of crushed cornflakes to the bottom of the tart before you put the fruit in. You don’t even notice the cornflakes once the tart is baked and they help soak up the juice to prevent sogginess.
- Also if your fruit is particularly juicy (and correspondingly sweet), you might want to hold back some of the topping after all. I’ve made this tart twice and while the first tart used some slightly firmer and tarter peaches (and used all of the topping), the second one used some very sweet and juicy peaches and I found the finished product just a bit too sweet. Again, though, if you’re a fan of sweet desserts, use it all and you’ll be happy.