peaches and cream rustic tarts

I’ve wanted to try a sour cream tart dough for a while now.  I’ve seen it here and here, and elsewhere I’m forgetting now.  Word on the street (a.k.a the internet) is that it’s flakey.  Serious flake – I’ve heard the words “like puff pastry” thrown around on the subject, which given my love for puff pastry, croissants, and the like (in combination with my aversion to making them at home) is very appealing.  Especially given this is almost absurdly easy to make compared to tackling puff from scratch.

So this weekend, with a strong nudging from a bowl of over-ripe peaches and a rapidly breeding population of fruit flies, I grabbed my rolling pin and put it to the test.

Wow.  Just, wow.  This is some seriously flakey crust, people.  Not quite puff pastry flakey, but we’re definitely moving in that direction – it out-paces my already super-flakey stand-by recipe by a long shot, and is hands down my favorite tart crust I’ve made in recent memory.  Packed with tender-ripe peaches stewed in their own juices and a little butter, this simple summer tart won us all over.

I’m sure the crust would be equally delicious filled with whatever ripe summer fruit you have on hand – nectarines, apricots, or even cherries, though I would avoid berries here as the dough is quite moist as is and might not stand up to all that juice.  I’ve also read that this dough is best baked free form, as shown here, for the same reason – it tends to be weighed down under all that fruit and juice when baked in a traditional pie plate.  All of which makes for a handy excuse to keep things simple and fuss-free in the baking department this summer.

One Year Ago:  Brioche Part I and II.

Makes 1 large 10 inch tart or 6 small 4 inch tarts.

Rustic Peaches and Cream Tart

For the Sour Cream Dough

  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ # (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup cold water

*For tips on making pie and tart doughs, see here.

Measure the flour, sugar, salt, and butter into a mixing bowl.  Chill together in the freezer 30 minutes.  Once chilled, place in a food processor and pulse until the butter is cut into small pieces – you want to retain some texture here; the larger pieces of butter should be the size of peas.  Alternatively, you can do this by hand with a pastry cutter.  Pour the mixture back into your mixing bowl and set aside in the fridge or freezer.

Whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, and water in a small bowl.  Add this to the flour-butter mixture and, using your hands, mix until you have a shaggy looking dough that just holds together.  Don’t over-mix!  Push the dough together into a disc, wrap with saran wrap, and chill at least one hour.

For the Peach Filling and Assembly

  • Flour for rolling
  • 5 to 6 ripe peaches, cored and cut in thick wedges
  • Butter for dotting
  • Granulated sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Working on a flat work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll your dough into a thin circle, about 12 to 14 inches in diameter for a large tart.  For small tarts, divide the dough in 6 pieces and roll each into thin circles, roughly 6 inches in diameter.  (I opted for an in-between size, and divided the dough into 2 pieces as seen in the photos above.)  Work quickly to avoid warming the dough too much.

Place the rolled dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper of tin foil.  Arrange the peaches in the center of the dough and dot with a few small pieces of butter.  For small tarts, divide the peaches between the 4 rounds of dough.  Sprinkle with a little granulated sugar (more or less depending on your taste and the sweetness of your peaches – I used only 1-2 tbsp for a large).  Fold the edges of the dough up around the peaches and pinch closed.  Chill the formed tart(s) in the freezer 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolk with a little cold water in a small bowl.  Once the tart(s) are chilled, brush the edges with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.  Bake 40 to 50 minutes for a large tart or 30 to 45 minutes for smalls.  You want the tart to be nicely golden brown and bubbling.  I check for doneness by carefully sliding a knife or spatula under the tarts and peeking to see if the underside is browned.

Cool 20-30 minutes and then serve warm of room temperature.

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