I knew taking care of a baby would be hard, but I thought that since I would be at home full time I would actually have more time to devote to my blog. I would bake during naptime, take and edit photos while John played happily, and write posts at night after he’d gone to bed. Well, John rarely takes longer than a 15 minute nap unless I’m holding him, he almost is never happy when left on his own, and by the time he goes to bed I’m too tired to do much else besides watch some TV and then drag myself to bed.
Not exactly what I pictured, but we’re all adjusting and things are getting better. For example, I had the time last weekend to bake this beautiful peach crumb tart. And I’ve even found a few spare moments to tell you about it.
I had a comment on my reader survey calling me out for using only one pie crust recipe in all of my pies (most recently in these blueberry galettes). She wanted to know what I thought of the Cook’s Illustrated ultimate no-fail pie crust and while I was aware of that recipe, I’d never tried it myself. So I decided to put it to the test with this tart. It uses vodka to help keep the dough moist and pliable while mixing and rolling, but evaporates during baking to leave the crust flaky and tender. I made one adjustment to the recipe, and that was to use only butter and not a butter and shortening combination. In my experience, I can get a perfectly flaky crust using only butter and the flavor is far superior.
I liked how the crust turned out. The dough was much less crumbly than my other recipe, though I under-floured my working surface and had some issues with sticking while I rolled it out. The baked crust was very flaky, but I missed the flavor that my crusts usually have thanks to the addition of buttermilk. My verdict, both recipes are winners, but I still prefer the recipe I’ve been using. I’ve been thinking of doing a pie crust tutorial for a long time, and I think I’ll probably do that soon.
Let’s talk more about this tart. It’s like a pie and a crisp all rolled into one and I absolutely loved it. It was fantastic with some local peaches I picked up from the farmers market, but it would be equally good with whatever other fresh fruit you have on hand. I have made a version of this tart with a mixture of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries and it was equally plate-licking good. This tart is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Plan on it not lasting long, it will be gobbled up before you know it.
You may enjoy these other summer pies and tarts:
- 1¼ cup (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons vodka, chilled
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 4 cups (850 grams, about 5 medium) peaches, sliced
- ⅓ cup (60 grams) sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ cup (100 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
- ¼ cup (50 grams) brown sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅓ cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- To make the crust, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the cubed butter and toss until coated. Dump the mixture out onto a flat surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into the flour, using a bench scraper to bring the mixture back together as needed. You may alternately use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture. Return the mixture to the bowl and add the cold vodka and water and mix with a spoon until the dough begins to come together. Use your hands to form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. You may use a smaller tart pan if you wish, but you will have extra pie crust dough and the filling will be thicker.
- On a well floured surface, roll the pie crust out to a rough 13 inch circle and transfer to the prepared tart pan. Fold down the edges so that the crust sticks up just a bit higher than the pan. Set aside.
- To make the topping, mix together the sugars, lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger and melted butter together in a bowl. Mixture will be crumbly. Set aside. In a separate bowl, toss the sliced peaches together with the sugar and cornstarch. Dump peaches into the prepared tart crust and evenly sprinkle the topping on top.
- Bake until crumb topping is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 35-45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and remove tart from pan. The tart can be served warm or at room temperature.
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