Free-form tarts, also called galettes (French) or crostatas (Italian), seem like they were made for casual, al fresco dining. I make them often during the summer months. They always vary in their fruit fillings, and never disappoint. I save fussier tart presentations for dining indoors, during the cooler months.
This peach free-form tart was dessert to our dinner last night (on a neighbor's patio). And, as usual, I served Vanilla Ice Milk alongside.
Peach free-form Tart
adapted from a recipe by Melissa Rubel Jacobson
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1/4 cup ice water (you may not need all of this)
• 2 pounds ripe but firm peaches, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
• 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• Pinch of cinnamon
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1 tablespoon heavy cream
• 2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar, or another coarse sugar
• sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves, optional
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Slowly add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just begins to come together. You may not need all of the ice water. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Wrap in the plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the peach slices, brown sugar, vanilla, a pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons flour; gently stir to combine the ingredients and set aside while you roll the tart dough. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly dust a sheet of waxed paper with flour and center the disk of dough on top. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour. Lay plastic wrap on top of the dough and roll the dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer the rolled tart dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet with 1-inch sides. (I will put the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes whenever it starts getting warm). Mound the peaches in the center of the dough, leaving a border of approximately 2-inches. Carefully fold the border of tart dough over the peaches, pleating the dough as you go. Take the beaten egg and brush the egg underneath the pleats of dough. This will help to adhere the folded pleats and keep the dough from sliding away from the peaches during baking. Place the tart in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
3. While the tart is chilling, preheat the oven to 425˚F. When ready to bake, pull the tart from the refrigerator and brush the top of the dough border with the heavy cream. Sprinkle with the Turbinado sugar and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. The crust should be golden and the peaches bubbling. If you have a lot of juices that have leaked through the crust onto the parchment, take a spoon to scoop them up and drizzle back on top of the peaches. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, if desired. The tart should cool at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with scoops of ice cream or Vanilla Ice Milk.
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