• December 26, 2014

De-stress with peaches, nuts

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Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:30 am

When I’m feeling stressed out, I bake.

There’s something soothing about measuring and mixing ingredients. It’s also rewarding to see the finished product when it pops out of the oven.

My latest baking adventure involved a new tart recipe with some peaches I needed to use quickly.

PEACH & PINE NUT TARTS

  • Makes: Six 5-inch tarts
  • For the crust
  • 2 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 12 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • For the filling
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup pine nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 or 4 medium, ripe peaches

6 ounces Explorateur or other soft-ripened, triple-cream cheese, cut into 6 equal pieces (You can usually find it in H-E-B’s deli section or at Central Market in Austin).

For the crust: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a food processor; pulse to blend. Add the butter pieces and pulse just long enough to form a crumbly mix with pieces the size of small peas. Add the egg and egg yolk; pulse just until the dough comes together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto it and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Arrange tart pans on a baking sheet. Unwrap the dough. Roll out on the floured work surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut into 6 equal pieces; press each piece into a tart pan, trimming off any excess. Prick the bottoms with a fork all over, then refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the chilled tart shells with parchment paper and dried beans to weight it down. Bake for 15 minutes or as needed until the tart shells are firm and dry but not browned. Cool while you make the filling.

For the filling: Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on low then medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated.

On low speed, add the flour, pine nuts and vanilla extract; beat until just combined. Divide all the filling among individual tart shells (still in their pans, but remove parchment and beans first), smoothing the tops.

Cut the peaches in half; discard the pits. Cut each half into thin slices, then arrange them as you wish, so they mostly cover the filling of each tart. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the center of the filling feels firm and springs back when gently pressed. Transfer the tarts (in the pans) to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, then remove the tarts from their pans. Serve with a piece of the cheese alongside each tart.

Nutrition per serving (based on 12): 440 calories, 9 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 125 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 16 g sugar.

Adapted from “The Cheesemonger’s Seasons: Recipes for Enjoying Cheese With Ripe Fruits and Vegetables,” by Chester Hastings.

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