I love going to various farms to pick fresh berries and fruit. I guess it reminds me of my childhood and I try to go once a year. For stone fruit I would go to Cherry Avenue Farms in the Niagara region to get juicy peaches and nectarines, plump and sweet plums and delicious pears. I then would spend days baking, peeling, canning and the kitchen would smell of sugar and vanilla. A few years ago I made an amazing Nectarine Jam, last year I made nectarine Quick and Easy cake, and peach pancakes. This year I had lots of ideas!
However, the trip to the farm was very anti-climatic. It was my fault. We went a week earlier than we usually go and I did not check the schedule on their website. After a really boring 3-hour drive to the farm in a heavy traffic, we got to the place only to find out that they had just peaches for picking. No plums, no nectarines, no pears. We were in and out in less than half an hour. I was sad. We then stopped at a roadside fruit stand to get more fresh Niagara fruit. It tasted delicious, but wasn't as satisfying as picking your own.
Nonetheless, I've made my Quick and Easy cake again, I also made Peach Cookies and ate quite a few juicy and sweet peaches. Then I remembered that I also made a tart last year that I found in Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts book. It was a good, solid tart, but I was not in love with it. In fact, I decided last year that I wouldn't make it again. I didn't like the crust which had cornmeal.
But this time, I was leafing through the book and this tart caught my eye again. I decided to make a few changes to the crust and my instinct was right. I changed cornmeal to ground almond, reduced butter a little bit (could have reduced more) and used a full egg. The resulting crust turned out deliciously crumbly and nutty, perfect accompaniment to peaches and plums.
Peach-Plum Almond Tart
Flour - 3/4 cup
Ground almond - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3 tablespoons
Butter, cut into small pieces - 6 tablespoons (I think it can be reduced to 5 tbsp easily)
Egg, extra-large - 1
Almond extract - 1/2 teaspoon
Peaches - 3 large
Plums - 3 large
Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a food processor, combine flour, ground almond, sugar, butter, egg and almond extract.
- Pulse until the dough comes together.
- Line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- Press the dough into the bottom of the pan and about 1 inch up the sides.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
- Once the crust is baked, it might be puffed up, pierce it with a knife to get the steam out and press down with an offset spatula.
- While the crust is baking, spice the peaches and plums into 1/2 inch wedges, add sugar and mix.
- Place the sugared fruit inside the baked crust and bake for another 35-40 minutes or until fruit is cooked through and the edges of the crust start to brown.
- Cool and serve.
- Note: Crust will be quite oily in the beginning since there's a lot of butter and also oils from the almond, but it'll dry up in about 45 minutes. I have a feeling that butter can be reduced to 4 tablespoons, but I haven't tried. Bottom of the crust won't be crispy since almond dough is soft and the juices of the fruit also moisten it, but it'll be super tasty.
On another un-tart-related note, I am going on vacation tomorrow. Yeay!!! Can't wait! So, there will be no recipes for the next week or so.