Friday, April 15, 2011

April 2-3, 2011: Peaches & cream tart

After seeing my new blowtorch back in January, Johanna kindly pointed me to this recipe for a peaches and cream tart with a crispy burnt sugar topping.  April seemed the right time to try it, with peaches still available at the markets but the weather having cooled down to something a bit more oven-friendly.

With Jane crediting the recipe to Stephanie Alexander I figured I'd start my shortcrust recipe Stephanie-style too, finding this recipe over at  Then I started cheating.  No marble pastry slab, lightly rubbed butter, wells or pastry scrapers here - I make my shortcrust in the food processor.  And I got a little creative with the fat.  When my butter ran out, I began substituting margarine.  When my margarine ran out, I substituted sour cream.  I really had no business succeeding at all yet succeed, I did.

The peaches were a bit of a risk too - rock hard, to start.  But they softened right down while baking in that custard, to the point that one pie-eater asked if I'd used canned peaches.  Even so, baking was the bit I struggled with most.  While the original recipe hinted that this would be done in 20 minutes, my pie still wasn't set after double that time.  By then I had somewhere to be so I covered it with foil, turned off the oven and hoped against hope that it'd set in the ambient heat.  It did, though it was well beyond 'beginning to brown' by then.

Of course, the most important moment of all was the blow-torching.  And that turned out pretty well first time round, when Michael and I tested the pie out 'round midnight.  Then after some time in the fridge the sugar melted and my blow-torch couldn't revive it.  That didn't diminish the pie's lure substantially - it was gone in less than 24 hours.

This recipe is clearly not vegan but I reckon you could have just as much deliciousness without the lacto-ovo.  Use whatever shortcrust recipe works for you, and set those peaches together with brandy-spiked soy custard.  I've got to admit that the sour cream didn't do anything special for me at all.

Peaches & cream tart
(adapted from recipes at and Have bamix will travel, both of which are attributed to Stephanie Alexander)

shortcrust pastry
240g plain flour
50g butter
55g margarine
75g sour cream
2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg white, lightly beaten

3 large peaches
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon brandy
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a food processor, blend together the flour, butter, margarine and sour cream to damp crumbs. Gradually add the water with the blades still running, until the pastry comes together in a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least half an hour.

Preheat an oven to 200°C. Roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap then gently transfer it to a pie dish, removing the plastic wrap as you go. Blind bake the pastry for 20 minutes, then remove the weight and brush the pastry case with egg white, baking it for a further 5 minutes. Allow the pastry to cool and reduce the oven temperature to 180°C.

Peel the peaches slice them into crescents.  Arrange the slices in the pastry case.

In a medium-sized bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the egg yolks and castor sugar.  Add the vanilla, brandy, cornflour and sour cream in turn until thoroughly combined.  Pour the cream mixture carefully into the pastry case.  Bake the tart until the custard is set and beginning to brown - this could take up to 40 minutes.

Sprinkle the top of the tart with brown sugar and use a blow-torch to caramelise it.  Slice up and serve.


  1. Holy moly that looks amazing. I actually have some peach segments in the freezer...hrmm.

  2. Good on you for succeeding with the pastry. I am such a rank amateur at pastry that I try and avoid it making it. The filling looks interesting being made with sour cream - did it give it a tang?

  3. All sounds delicious - reminds me of my dad singing peaches and cream to us. Glad you got some blow torch action with the recipe. Wish I was brave enough to try it. And your idea of using sour cream in the pastry seems very sound - my mum has made maggie beer's sour cream pastry a few times and it is magnificent - a bit like puff pastry

  4. Do it, Zo!!!

    Hi Quince Poacher! To my surprise, the sour cream in the filling didn't seem to add any tang at all.

    Johanna - thanks again for pushing the recipe my way! I must admit that Michael is more enthusiastic about wielding the blowtorch than I am. :-)