And just like that, we are almost halfway through January, and halfway through summer too. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know I can’t get enough summer stone fruit! As much as I love yellow peaches, nectarines and plums, I had never given much thought to baking with white peaches before. But I love their light, floral taste and they are in season right now.
Over the weekend I wanted to experiment with a new tart crust recipe, based on Matt Moran's chocolate pastry that has never failed me. I hate it when pastry shrinks in the oven, but this recipe uses eggs to bind it together instead of water and eliminates that, so I wanted to see if a plain sweet version would work based on the same method. I'm happy to report that it did, and while its not as delicate and buttery as some other pastry recipes, it seems to be a little more reliable, easy to roll out, and it freezes really well too (this recipe made enough for two large tarts and a few smaller ones).
And so with the tart crust a success, I needed a delicious filling to go inside! Inspired by a beautiful dessert that my friend Karen made last summer, I decided to use hazelnuts, Frangelico and lots of vanilla in the frangipane mixture (because I had run out of almonds, oops) and it was so lovely.
And on top, some of the beautiful white peaches I had bought a few days earlier, cooked gently in a syrup made from dessert wine, honey and vanilla bean, just perfect. I used a lovely Cane Cut Semillon from Vasse Felix that has been one of my favourites since our lunch at the vineyard a few years ago that was a lovely match for the peaches. And if stone fruit isn't in season where you live, I think this would also be beautiful with apples or pears!
It was so nice to be pottering around in the kitchen again after all the craziness in the last few weeks. I'm so inspired by all the great produce around at the moment so I can't wait to share some more summery recipes with you before the season is over! But it has me curious, what is your favourite summer fruit? xx
Hazelnut Frangipane Tart with Semillon Vanilla Peaches
Pastry (adapted from Aria Restaurant)
- 380g plain flour
- 160g caster sugar
- 160g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 2 eggs
- 150g butter, slightly softened
- 150g icing sugar
- 150g hazelnut meal
- 2 eggs
- 20ml Frangelico liqueur
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 30g plain flour
- 4 peaches (I used white but yellow would be delicious too), ripe but slightly firm
- 100ml dessert wine (I used Vasse Felix Cane Cut Semillon)
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla bean halved and seeds removed
To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar, butter and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add eggs and process until dough just starts to come together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Flatten into a disc shape, wrap in clingwrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick. Line the base and sides of a tart tin (the recipe will probably make enough for at least two tarts - any leftover can be stored in the freezer) with the pastry, and trim any excess. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking weights or rice. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating at the halfway mark. When the edges are browned, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
To make the frangipane, cream butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes). Add the hazelnut meal and beat until mixed. Add the eggs, Frangelico, vanilla and flour and beat until combined. Mixture can be refrigerated covered for a couple of days or frozen. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature to soften before adding to pastry case.
Spoon enough frangipane into your cooled pastry case and use an offset spatula to even it out (do not fill more than 1/2 cm below the top of pastry case). Bake in a preheated 180°C oven for around 15 minutes until frangipane is puffed, cooked through and lightly golden (it’s ready when the centre springs back). Remove tart and cool on wire rack.
To make the glazed peaches, first peel them by bringing a pot of water to a boil (enough water to cover the fruits). Meanwhile set aside a large bowl of iced water. With a paring knife, score the bottom of the nectarines with a small cross. When the water has boiled, turn off the heat and add the fruits making sure it’s submerged. Blanch for about 40 seconds (depends on how ripe it is). Remove with slotted spoon and immediately plunge in bowl of ice water and leave for about 20 seconds to stop it from cooking.
Remove the loosened skins, remove the stone and cut into thick wedges. In a pan over medium heat, bring the wine, honey and 2 tablespoons of water to a simmer and cook until reduced by half or until it’s a syrup consistency. Stir through the vanilla seeds. Add the cut fruit and cook, stirring occasionally for a couple of minutes until warmed through.
Serve with the tart with extra syrup and a dollop of double cream or ice cream.