I Do My Best

 … to keep it 100.
 
Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
^100 exclamation marks.
 
^100 slices of stone fruit.
(Okay, it’s 97.  But I’m the only one crazy enough to count.)
 
100 posts.
That’s right! This little blog isn’t so little anymore.
*sniff*
 
It’s hard for me to believe that “Caramel Craze and Memorial Daze” was 100 posts ago!
 
We’ve covered cakes, pies, tarts, ice cream, molecular experiments, cupcakes, candy, heartbreaks, birthdays, celebrations, and goodbyes.
But what better way to celebrate this milestone than with peaches and pastry, two of my greatest loves.
In case it has escaped you, this blog is named after a peach.
Why?  I dunno.  It rhymes.
Just kidding.  It’s because I love stone fruits.
Plums, apricots, cherries, peaches, and all the variations.
The appearance of local stone fruits is always an indicator of summer, one that leaves me with drool juice dripping down my chin and a big smile perched right above.
 
I eat summer fruit like it’s my job.  It pretty much is my job.
The other day, I had a bowl of yogurt with a maple-nutmeg-strawberry-rhubarb compote, an apricot, a plum, and a peach.
I could eat our entire farmer’s market. 
Remember how I said that those patriotic shortcakes were devastatingly summery?
Well this tart goes above and beyond those lil biscuits.  
Just looking at it wraps me up in summer like a towel warmed by the sun after a bracingly cold dip in the lake.
 
A truly simple summer dessert, the star here is the fruit, so be sure to choose ripe, fragrant ones.
You can use any combination of stone fruits here; use whatever looks, smells, and feels best in your area.
A ripe stone fruit should be very fragrant- floral and a touch almond-y- should yield slightly to gentle pressure, and should separate from its pit quite effortlessly.  
If you struggle to pull the pit from your first peach while making this recipe, put it off for a few days.  
Put your fruit in a brown bag with a banana, which gives off copious amounts of ethylene, the fruit ripening hormone.
The crust will wait patiently in the freezer (wrap it well in aluminum foil) for the leading lords and ladies to take the stage.
I chose plums, peaches, and apricots because I wanted to showcase as many stone fruits as I possibly could, and I love the way their juices bleed colors into one another.
They all bring a certain flavor to the party: peaches are floral and fresh, plums are tart and crisp, and apricots are sweet and velvety.
In addition, all three work marvelously with almond, thanks to the noyaux in their pits.
I refurbished my favorite pâte sucrée to include plenty of almond meal; enough that you can taste it in the crust.
I also added a fine dusting of a buttery crumb with sugar and almond; it coaxes more flavor out of the fruit without overpowering the tart.
 
A note about the crust and the weather: in humid weather, tart crusts absorb moisture quickly.  
They will be no less delicious, but markedly softer after a few hours in a humid and hot environment.  If this is an issue, I suspect that storing the tarts in a refrigerator would help to diminish the softening.
Serve this tart with the simplest vanilla ice cream (recipe below).
Seriously, simplest ever!
Make it with cold half and half and it literally takes 3 minutes to put together, plus the 20 minutes for churning.
No eggs, no cooking, just cold, creamy, vanilla goodness.
It’s homemade ice cream for us impatient folks with a warm tart that needs accompaniment! 
So, in conclusion, this peach grows!
And may it continue.
Once again, a shout out to you, my readers.
You rock.
 
P.S. I typed this with 9 fingers, which is surprisingly difficult as a touch typer who is accustomed to going a mile a minute.
RIP finger.
*sniff*

Simplest Stone Fruit Tart
Makes 1 11-inch plus 2 4-inch tarts
ingredients:
16 tablespoons (8 ounces, 2 sticks) butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (sub AP or whole wheat)
1/2 cup almond flour/meal
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons almond flour
pinch salt
1 tablespoon softened butter
thinly sliced peaches, plums, and apricots (I used 3 yellow plums, 2 apricots, and 3 peaches)
directions:
Cream butter, sugar, and salt together on high for 5 minutes (if butter is softened, cream for 3 minutes; if it’s cold, 5), until fluffy, pale, and shiny.
Scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add in the flours and mix until almost entirely combined.
Add the egg yolks and mix until completely homogeneous.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes and up to a day.
Roll out your dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and place in pan.
Alternately, press dough into pan.
Prick all over with a fork and freeze for at least 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons almond flour, and a pinch of salt.  
Using the back of a spoon, smush the tablespoon of softened butter into the dry mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Remove your crusts from the freezer and arrange your fruit.
Sprinkle the fruit with the sugar mixture, sparingly if you want your design to show through.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is juicy and the crust is golden. 
Serve with the simplest vanilla ice cream, below.
 
Simplest Vanilla Ice Cream
ingredients:
1 3/4 cup half and half, cold
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch sea salt
1/2 a vanilla bean
directions:
In a blender or with an immersion blender (shudder), blend all ingredients together until the vanilla bean is in tiny chunks.
Churn in an ice cream maker.

2 thoughts on “I Do My Best

  1. Hi Rachel,

    My name is Kate Knapp, and I work for Eat Boutique–an online shop dedicated to discovering the best small batch foods, as well as a brilliant food magazine.

    We absolutely adore your blog! We’re in the process of writing a round-up of our favorite fruit tart recipes, and we think your post about Simplest Stone Fruit Tart is the perfect fit. We’d love to include it, if that’s alright with you.

    We would, of course, link back to your original recipe. All we need from you is the first and sixth photos from your original post.

    If you’re interested (and we do so hope you are), can you please send it to me by Wednesday, August 27?

    Here’s an example of how your post will appear: http://www.eatboutique.com/2013/11/22/what-were-loving-pies/

    Please let me know if you’d like to be featured, or if you have any questions.

    Best,
    Kate

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