September 17, 2008
Peach and Blueberry Amandine Tart
When I made this peach and blueberry amandine tart I gathered up some inspiration from several sources. Firstly, the garden ("what am I going to do with all those peaches?!"), the need for a quick, crowd-pleasing dessert for a dinner with our lovely neighbours, and most importantly from Clotilde Dusoulier's Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook where her recipe for a classic French amandine tarte with blueberries was not only a wonderful recipe, but utilised a special pâte sablée dough for the tart base, whose method and ingredients were perfect for me to adapt to a gluten-free pâte sablée-esque crust.
In fact, I'm still getting over the surprise that the gluten-free version came out so well. The crust has an incredibly buttery, crumbly (but held it's shape when cut), melt-in-your mouth texture, ...and for the record, it held together beautifully for it's entire 2-day lifespan- a surprising accomplishment for naturally crumbly dough.
This recipe comfortably feeds 10 people including several 6'4" men especially hungry for dessert.
In addition to the dough ingredients below you will need:
A 28cm tart pan (if your pan is slightly smaller then reduce the amount of butter in the filling by 25g, and omit the whipping cream)
200g fresh blueberries
2 very large peaches or 4 medium peaches
100g ground almonds
100g unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large free-range eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream (double cream is okay too)
First, prepare the dough. The dough should be chilled for at least 30 minutes, but can be chilled for up to 1 day. (makes just enough to line a 28cm tart pan)
85g sweet rice flour
75g potato starch
45g tapioca starch (or 25g tapioca starch and 20g buckwheat flour if you don't mind tasting the buckwheat a little in the end product)
100g unsalted butter at room temperature
75g fine-textured cane sugar or caster sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
3-4 tbsps milk
If you're using a food processor then add the sugar, flours, and salt, then add the butter, pulsing the mixture just a few times to create a consistent crumbly texture. Then gradually add the milk one tablespoon at a time and pulse the mixture to bring the dough together. If you are not using a food processor, then do the following:
Combine the sugar, flours and sea salt and sift together into a bowl. Add the butter in small pieces by using a knife to shave pieces off the measured block into the bowl. Use a wire pastry blender or your fingers to rub the ingredients together until you have a fine, crumbly texture. Add 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of milk at a time, lightly stirring the mixture after each tablespoon. After 2 tbsps of milk then try to clump the dough in your hand. If it stays together then you've added enough milk, but if not, then gradually add another tbsp or two until it clumps successfully. This means that the dough is malleable and will hold together as a tart crust.
After chilling for at least 30 minutes the dough can be carefully pressed by hand into a buttered tart pan to form a thin, even layer on the bottom. Proceed to work the crust piece by piece into the sides of the pan. This may take a little time, but is well worth the results. Be sure to cover any cracks or thin areas in the pastry by patching it with more dough where necessary.
Preheat the oven to 180°C then bake the tart shell for approximately 10 minutes. The colour should be lightly golden but not browned. Leave the crust to cool while preparing the filling.
For the amandine filling
Make the almond cream by stirring together the sugar, salt, and ground almonds. Add the softened butter and blend together either in a food processor or with an electric whisk. Next add the eggs one by one blending in between each addition until the mixture is smooth (this step seems silly, but chemistry is complicated, and I've learned from trial and error that this step will decide the fate of your almond cream), then stir in the whipping cream. Peel the peaches either before slicing (by blanching them in a pot of boiling water for 10 seconds) or after each slice with your knife. Cut the peach into slices about 1.5 cm thick and arrange on the bottom of the tart pan, then pour the blueberries and disperse evenly between the peaches.
Pour the almond cream over the fruit and level the top with a spatula. Return the tart to the oven to bake for 40 minutes. Be sure to check the tart after 30 minutes to be sure it is not being overcooked (some oven temperatures are much higher than they seem- an oven thermometre is a worthwhile investment). Remove the tart from the oven and leave it to cool completely. The tart can be refrigerated covered with plastic wrap if making in advance but just be sure to bring it back to room temperature before serving.
This is a very flexible tart with many possible variations. It can also be made with nectarines, pears, raspberries, blackberries, or plums, with additions of lemon or orange zest if you like, or a tbsp of liqueur such as amaretto, to bring out the almond taste even further. If you omit the fruit, consider lining the bottom of the tart crust with pieces of chocolate, for an even more decadent dessert.