Idaho’s last peaches of the season were up for grabs at the farm stand. And these were the best peaches of the year — bigger than softballs, sweeter than a spoonful of sugar, and so juicy that taking a single bite sounded like a toothless guy on the subway trying to eat a turkey leg. These peaches really needed a proper send-off. So I decided to treat them to a rich chèvre custard on a crisp, salty, herbaceous crust.
Making this tart was a hard-fought battle. One afternoon, I dreamed up the recipe and baked the tart. It was beautiful. I couldn’t wait to photograph it, if only so that I could dig in sooner. But in my haste to get photos, the tart slipped off the removable bottom of my tart pan and landed perfectly face-down on the floor.
I was going to cry, but Maddox [the Boston Terrier] ran over to clean up my mess.
The sliver lining to all of this was that on the re-do, I tweaked the recipe for the better. And after getting photos and avoiding another floor tart, everyone in the office enjoyed a slice. It was the beautiful send-off to peach season that I had hoped for.
Peach-Chèvre Tart on Salted Herb Crust
Makes a 10″-11″ tart | Based upon a crust from Pies: Sweet and Savory by C. Bretherton
For the crust:
- 1 C a.p. flour
- 5 tbsp very cold butter, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 T thyme, finely-chopped
- 1 T basil, finely-chopped
- 4 T water
- extra flour for rolling
For the filling:
- 1/2 C chèvre
- 1/2 C whole milk
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 C granulated sugar
- 3 large peaches
- Rub flour and butter together between your fingertips until the mixture has a breadcrumb-like consistency. Work quickly and don’t over-handle — you don’t want to heat the flour and activate the gluten.
- Add egg, salt, thyme, basil, and water to the flour-butter mixture, and combine just enough to form a soft, smooth dough. Again, don’t overwork the dough. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface (overflouring will toughen the dough) to about 1/4″ thickness. Line a 10″-11″ tart pan with dough, and press dough into edges and up the sides. Let excess dough hang over the edge of the tart pan. Poke holes in the bottom of the dough using a fork, to prevent the dough from puffing. Line dough with parchment paper, and fill with baking beans (or dried beans as an alternative).
- Bake crust 20-25 minutes in 350°F oven. Remove beans and parchment, and cut off the overhanging dough. Return crust to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Combine chèvre, milk, and eggs until well-incorporated. Add sugar, and mix well.
- Peel peaches and slice into eighths. Arrange in crust. Pour chèvre custard mixture over the peaches.
- Bake 30-35 minutes until the chèvre custard has set, then place under broiler for a minute to slightly brown the top. Let cool before serving.