Peach Puff Pastry Tart
I would like to take this moment to announce that I still hold the reigning title of, "Non-Baker". I do, however, occasionally like to challenge myself. This tart is very simple to make and tastes out of this world. The brown sugar and spices tease your taste buds with the flavors of Fall, while still providing a light and "mostly" guilt-free summer treat (and again, this tart is equally delicious with plums, cherries, or a blend of stone fruits).
2 yellow peaches, very ripe and sliced evenly
1 package of frozen puff pastry
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 lemon, juiced
Blanched almond slivers, for garnish
Grapeseed oil, for baking
To begin, completely thaw out your rolled up puff pastry. A while back, I read an amazing tip from Sarah Carey, Editorial Director of Food from Martha Stewart Living, recommending to leave the puff pastry dough rolled up while flattening it out into a rectangle with a rolling pin. I historically tended to break and crack my dough in utter frustration while attempting to unravel it into a sheet, so this method worked like a charm for me. Plus, the intact layers aid in the lifting of the dough while it is baking in the oven.
Speaking of the oven, preheat it to 375 degrees. While the sheet is thawing out, prepare your peaches. Slice both peaches evenly and place in a medium sized mixing bowl. Squeeze half of a lemon onto the slices to hinder browning and brighten the flavor. Mix the brown sugar and both extracts in a small bowl and add to the sliced peaches. VERY gently give them a toss to evenly coat. The objective here is to disturb the delicate peach slices as little as possible. Set aside.
With a floured rolling pin, flatten out the rolled up pastry dough into a rough rectangle. If there is paper separating the layers, gently lift the layers to remove, prior to. They slip right out. The rectangle does not need to be perfect; in fact, it will add to the rustic look of the final product. With a paring knife, gently score a border around the perimeter. Do not cut all the way through. This will also encourage the pastry dough to lift and create a beautiful edge while baking. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Lightly brush the entire surface of the dough with oil and add the peach mixture within the lines of the scored border. I'm a control freak, so I may or may not have laid them out one by one in an orderly, but seemingly random fashion.
There will be extra syrup remaining in the mixing bowl, but do not be tempted to add it to the pastry. The peaches will caramelize so much on their own, they will not need the aid of extra syrup for glaze or for flavor. The extra liquid will only overflow and scorch. Save it to drizzle on top after baking, if you feel the need to add more. Top the peaches with blanched almond slivers and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned to your satisfaction.
Once I have removed the tart from the oven and placed on a cooling rack, I allow for it to cool a bit before finishing it with a final sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar. Another fine accoutrement? The peach ice cream we just created from this same post. Yes.
Fun fact: The puff pastry packages typically have two rolled up sheets to each container, so don't be shy. Make two. You'll need a back-up after you find the first one devoured in about 5 minutes flat.