How to Present Your “Last Hurrah” Peaches of the Season

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I cannot get enough of the summer fruits. I always buy a ton of them when I am going to the market, because I feel as if they are conversing with me: “Take me. Take me! You will not regret it!” And you know what, they are right. Even dough when I get home, I do not know what to do with them. If I want to place all the fruits that I purchased during a single visit, into the refrigerator, I would need to take out everything else and leave just the fruits.

Since that is not possible, I also create myself a problem, because I refuse to throw out food (this feeling of refusing to throw out food is a remnant from my childhood, when we had periods when it was nearly impossible to get any food and we went to bed hungry. The truth of the matter is that my parents gave us, kids, whatever they were able to get, and they went to sleep hungry most of the nights – but this is another story for another time), so I have lots of jams, fruits preserved in alcohol, or just frozen fruits in a plastic bags, ready to be used in the entire winter.

Jams are quite easy to make, (but look at these peaches! out of this world!) but unfortunately, I am moving and packing now, so I cannot show you the process. I promise to remedy this once I will settle in my new place. We enjoy these creations throughout the winter with waffles, pancakes and crepes. To make a smoothie in the winter using the frozen fruits that you prepared in the summer is a real pleasure. I am already excited, just to think about it.

I always remember how my mother used to prepare a lot more than just fruits for the winter, in the “old country.” First of all, at that time and in that place you really depended on these preserves in the long winter. She would preserve all the vegetables, plain as is, for the pantry or cook a tasty dish that would go to the deep freezer. However, sweet things were problematic, because my father did not have patience to wait for the winter; he would sneak into the pantry, open up the bottles or other containers and enjoy his “stolen” goodies. Most of the time, he would forget to close the containers back, as they were prepared so neatly by my Mother and she would get puzzled, how come that the stuff got spoiled?

My father was telling her the stories of “thousand nights”, like “most likely we have a mouse in the pantry, dear” “I am going to buy a mouse trap”….or “the rubber bands we bought must have been too old” “I am going to get you a new batch” …Are you sure you cooked them in the water bath long enough?” and so on….but never “I am sorry, I just felt like to eat it now” and we kids were hiding in our room and giggling out of control.

I am sorry, but once again I made a detour with my stories. But no more; here comes the recipe:

Chocolate Tart Shell

(I used a the basic Pate Brisee recipe from my post, dated 6/22/2011; http://www.chocolatesandfigs.com/how-create-impressive-desserts-for-entire-summer-days)

Ingredients

  • 11/4 cups (6.25 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (o.75 oz) cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup (2 oz) confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons (4.5 oz) unsalted butter, very cold, or frozen, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Zest of 1 orange

Method of Preparation

  1. Put the flour, cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse the processor a couple of times to mix the dry ingredients well.
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse the processor until butter’s size reduced to a size of a pea.
  3. Stir the egg yolk with a fork, just to break it up, than add it to the Food Processor.
  4. Pulse he Food Processor again until this mix forms dough.
  5. If it does not happen after 10 pulses you may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of very cold water to help the dough formation. If your refrigerator produces ice and cold water that can be used through outside the door – use that water.
  6. Take out the dough from the Food Processor and place it on a counter that is slightly dusted with flour and knead the dough gently only a couple of times to make sure that the dough holds together.
  7. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap it with a foil paper that its shiny side was buttered and that is the side that touches the dough when you wrap it.
  8. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

While the dough rests, prepare the pastry cream

Chocolate Tart with Peach-Flavored Pastry Cream

Pastry Cream

It is the standard cream that is used with fruit tarts or in éclairs. It is very easy to make but you need to watch it, not to let the eggs curdle, or create lumps. Just stir it continuously until it thickens to an extent that when you take the wooden spoon out of the cream and draw a line on it with your finger, the line remains stable.

Pastry creams can be flavored with nearly anything that comes to your mind, but here I flavored it with the fresh peach puree and the peach liqueur. The puree lightened up the cream and gave it a delightful, refreshing taste. The alcohol needs no explanation.

Ingredients

  • 2 (32 oz) cups of whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 oz cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) butter
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons (10mL) vanilla extract
  • 2 oz Peach liqueur

Method of Preparation

  • Cut the vanilla bean open vertically and scape out all the vanilla from it with the back of a chef knife. “Rinse” the knife in the milk and bring the milk to simmer over medium heat.
  • In a bowl whisk together the egg, the egg yolks, the sugar and cornstarch until smooth. When the milk is simmering, pour about 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture and stir it well. Then pour the entire egg/milk mixture back into the pan where the milk is simmering and continue to cook it over medium fire and stir it continuously with the whisk. Make sure that you also reach into the corners of the dish so that it does not get scalded in the corners.
  • You will feel when the cream starts to thicken, transfer it to a clean bowl and add the butter pieces off the fire. When the butter completely incorporated into the cream add the peach liqueur and mix it well. Finally cover it with a plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the cream and refrigerate it until use.

Note: In the event you cream had lumps, just stain it through a mesh strainer.

Let it cool for 30 minutes and add the peach puree.

The peach puree should be obtained by peeling two peaches, discard the pits and cutting the fruit into smaller pieces. Place the pieces into the Food Processor and puree it until you obtain a completely smooth “jam-like” consistency.

Assembling the Tart

Pour the pastry cream into the pre-baked tart shell and distribute it evenly. Smooth he top with a spatula. Decorate the top of the cream with the pieces of the peach. You can use any kind of design you wish. Finally, brush it with the peach jam glaze.

Alternative base for the fruit:

Mascarpone Mousse

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. (225g) Mascarpone cheese
  • 4 oz. (115g) Honey
  • 2 oz. (60mL) Lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons (10mL)
  • 1.5 oz (45mL) Peach liqueur
  • 4 oz. (140mL) Heavy cream

Method of Preparation

  1. Place the mascarpone cheese, the honey, and the lemon juice into a bowl and mix it well
  2. Whip the heavy cream to firm peaks, then add the liqueur by folding it into the cream
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese preparation very carefully, not to break the whipped cream.
  4. Finally puree one or two fresh peaches in the food processor (depending on the size), weigh out two ounces and fold it into the mascarpone mousse.

Refrigerate until use.

Di you prepare peaches in other was? Could you let me in on it? Could you suggest a post? Like what would you like to read here?