Well before I had a blog, many years ago, I used to write down recipes I created, particularly for special occasions and events, in a spiral bound notebook covered (by me) with good food newspaper clippings. You will find some of my favourite recipes in that book, including Anfie’s gourmet carrot cake and floating chocolate pudding. You can see the recipes for the feast I made for my 19th birthday (starting with an international prawn trio), and the picnic I took to Melbourne Zoo Twilights in 2004. Many of the recipes are just as exciting now as when I first made them. But it is one of the recipes I created to take to Melbourne Zoo that I am revisiting today.
I remember vividly, picnic shopping at Queen Victoria Market, and being stopped in my tracks by the heady, sweet smell of perfectly ripe peaches. Even then, though less so than now, it was very difficult to buy peaches that were properly ripe, juicy and fragrant from spending the optimal period of time on their tree. This is how peaches should be. It is how my grandfather grew them. It is the only way to show due respect to the beauty of the peach. All too often, they are picked early, so they won’t bruise in transport and storage. But the product sold this way, is barely a shadow of what a peach should be. That day, I knew I had to buy some and treat them with respect to make something wonderful. I came up with this recipe I have been wanting to revisit this year. But even at the farmers’ market, it’s hard to buy worthy peaches.
Imagine my delight on Saturday when I saw the juice dripping from a large peach being sliced before my eyes. I had an inkling this was one of those worthy peaches and am sure I ogled at it. When I was offered a piece, I smelled the tell-tale fragrance as I bought it to my mouth. This was indeed a worthy peach. I could have bought the whole bowl for $10, but had spent too much already. So I bought half the bowl, as the grocers laughed joyously at me licking my fingers back and forth, savouring every last drop. The gentleman in question hail from Renmark, and are listed as stallholder ‘G Dicerbo’.
If you can keep from eating all the peaches as is, with their juice dripping down your hands, you should make these lovely little tartlets. They are delicious, and pay great respect to the very best of Australia’s peaches.
Makes 6 tartlets
|20||grams||raw castor sugar|
Combine the flour, sugar and ground almonds. Rub the butter into this mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add just enough water for the mixture to come together. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, halve your peaches and peel them. Slice off the cheek of each half so you are left with a flat bottomed peach piece that will fit inside your pastry lined tart tine. This will likely take a little bit of effort to test and adjust. You may need to trim the breadth of the peach too. Line a large baking tray with silicone paper and lay the peaches, with the hollowed side down, on the tray.
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Roll the dough out till it’s about 4 millimetres thick. Cut it into six pieces and line your six small tart tins and place on the tray with the peaches. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven. Flip the peach pieces over and place them inside the tart shells so the hollow side is facing up.
Crack the egg into a medium sized bowl and beat it with a whisk. Beat in the sour cream. Dissolve the cornflour in the honey and add to the egg mixture. Gently pour this mixture into the tart shells till they are full. Pour a little into the peach, where the stone once stood. Sprinkle each tart with a little cinnamon and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the custard is set.