Having been totally inspired by all your lovely cobblers, I bought some beautiful fresh peaches on Friday to get ready for my own. After scanning all my cookbooks, I couldn't help but come back to pies and tarts - peach pie especially has always been my favorite. Last fall I was on a mission to perfect a classic French Tarte Tatin, and have to admit didn't have much success. The apples didn't hold their shape well and the whole deal fell apart when I went to serve it. Now I got to thinking, why not try again with these nice looking peaches? And make them in single servings to avoid the mess of cutting it up. I modified the classic recipe slightly, cooking the fruit in the oven instead of all in the same pan on the stove. Here is the result, which turned out completely delicious - even better than the apple.
The recipe is very straightforward:
Individual Peach Tartes Tatin
6 medium to large peaches, should be ripe but still firm
3/4 cup brown (or white) sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butterjuice of half a lemon
pate brisee (recipe follows)
dash almond extract
Muffin tin for 6 large muffins
Preheat the oven to 375 degree. Prep the muffin tin by greasing each cup well with butter, and then place in the refrigerator to chill. Pit and quarter the peachs, sprinkle with lemon juice, and set aside. Do not peel the peaches - keeping the skin on helps them hold their shape.
In a small non-stick sauce pan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and continue at high heat, without stirring, for about 10 minutes. A thick syrup will form. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter and remaining lemon juice.
Poor the hot syrup into the prepared muffin tins, dividing equally into each cup. Position the peach quarters, skin side down into the cups. Each cup should hold four quarters (one entire peach). Put the tin in the oven to cook the peaches, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the pastry:
Pate Brisee (half batch)
1-1/4 cups flour
8 tablespoons butter, cold
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine flour, salt and butter in a food processer. Add ice water, one teaspoon at a time, until dough comes together into a single ball. Remove dough and press into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness or less, and cut into 4-inch rounds. Wrap and keep remaining dough.When the peaches are done, remove the pan from the oven and cover each cup with a pastry round. Press the dough down on top of the peaches. It won't be completely flat, but do the best you can.
Return to the oven and bake until crust turns pale brown, about 30 minutes. After it comes out of the oven, let the tartes stand in the pan for 15-20 minutes until slightly cooled. Then comes the fun part. Run a knife around the edges of each tarte to make sure everything is loose from the pan. Place a cookie sheet on top of the pan and flip the whole operation over smoothly. Bang hard on the tops of the muffin tins so that the tartes slide out onto the cookie sheet. All six tartes should pop out, crust side down, onto the cookie sheet.
Whip the cream, and add a bit of the almond extract, and use this to garnish each tarte.
With the leftover crust, you can pre-pake in a small tart pan, and make any number of creations, such as this little tomato one. Super simple, just heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and grated lemon rind, over goat cheese.