Caramelized Peach Tart

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This has happened to me a couple of times now…when I’ve made a recipe that I really want to share with you.. but then I just cannot come up with a story to go with, or something fun to talk about. This delightful peach tart just happens to be one of those times. I think the last recipe that I could’t come up with anything was my peas and carrots recipe, in which Michael informed me that we don’t do anything fun… and that we suck.

So, I foolishly reached out to him last night once again.. asking him if we’ve done anything in our lives that might pertain to peaches. You know, anything fun, or funny. He informed me that we still suck, and nothing is funny. At the time, he was watching a football game, and I’m assuming it wasn’t going the way that he had hoped.

Immediately shrugging off Mike and his crankiness…I texted Katie, asking her if there was anything fun that has happened in our life that might go with that peach tart.  She texted me right back, and suggested I talk about our yellow lab that we had years ago, named Sadie.

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Yeah… Sadie. My little peachy.

I’m a nicknamer…and any living being on this earth is fair game to me. You never know when it might strike…and most likely, it’s going to stick because the names tend to catch on, and before you know it, a person or sweet little four legged creature has a new nickname.

Sadie was our very first dog. She was a yellow lab, but more on the whiter side…and she was about the size of a polar bear. Honestly..she was a big girl, but she had the sweetest nature..a gentle giant, if you will.

And…Sadie was loved by everyone who knew her..
She was a peach..

The Peach
Peachy
Peachy Pie
Peaches

And she knew it. She knew her name was Sadie…but she also answered to all of those names above.

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You know…dogs have such great, yet different personalities. I can’t say that the Peach was funny…because she never acted goofy, but she had a great sense of humor. She was always willing to go with the flow.

We had a black lab / chow named Mollie (Choonie, Choon, Choon-a-loon) at the same time as the Peach, a few years younger…and her personality was just the opposite. I always said that Choonie really wanted to be a lab, but the chow wouldn’t let her! When people would come to the house… Peachy would be there to welcome them with open arms…and was genuinely happy to see them! Choonie, on the other hand… I’d have to tell the people “Don’t look at her, don’t talk to her, and don’t put your hand out to her… just let her sniff you until she’s comfortable with you”… And the person would stand there stiff as a board, scared to death!!

Peachy would let a burglar in, and show him around the house… and offer him a cup of coffee while he robbed us. Choonie, on the other hand…would bite his arm off, and hold him down by the neck until reinforcements came…

They were a pair… the odd couple.

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And as cranky as she was…Choonie was funny, quite comical…and I swear, Peachy was always laughing at her… There were so many times that you might find Peach following Mollie around the yard in her slow Eeyore kind of way…almost shaking her head in laughter knowing that Choonie was going to be up to something funny… which always meant that Choonie was up to no good…and the Peach would think that was hilarious! And then they’d both get into trouble….

They loved each other….those two girls.

Sadly, we lost the Peach at age 13…and while most people will say that she lived a long and happy life for a dog… and she did… there is still a little hole in our lives without her. About a year later, we lost Mollie at age 7.. we are convinced that she could never get over the depression from losing her Peachy.  We were devastated.

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And now we have Sophie… Funny Face, Funny, Feenie, and Sofaletta…and she has brought us more joy in these last two years that we desperately needed.

But this one… this is about the Peach. This sweet caramelized peach tart is the perfect dessert to dedicate to my Peachy.  It’s sweetness is the epitome of her…  And I’m quite certain…a tart that she would offer to the burglar as he robbed us blind…

I decided to use a puff pastry for the crust, because I wanted it to be strong enough to hold the cream cheese filling, the juicy peaches, and the caramel that would be poured over it in the end.  I wanted to be able to remove it from the pan, and serve slices that would hold up on their own.   The puff pastry was the perfect choice.

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This is a tart that I will make again…and again. The ingredients are simple…and it doesn’t take long to throw together… and it’s one that really calls for a strong cup of coffee or tea… Perfect for a cool day…an end of summer dessert,  in celebration of those glorious peaches that come and go so quickly…that tell us that summer is almost over… and that we will be heading into the crisp air of fall very, very soon.

So how about you? Do you have a little four legged love in your life? I’d love to hear about him/her…

Life is good.  It’s a “Peachy kind of sweetness for a sweet kind of Peachness” kind of good…

Caramelized Peach Tart
Serves 8

1 puff pastry, thawed

3 large peaches, sliced wedges
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp dark rum

1 8oz cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Chopped pecans for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Press the thawed puff pastry into your favorite tart pan, and bake according to the package directions, and it is golden brown, and fully baked. Set aside to cool.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over low heat, and add the peach slices. Sauté for about five minutes on each side, remove from heat and add the brown sugar, salt, and rum to the pan. Stir gently to combine. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the brown sugar has caramelized onto the peaches. Just make sure that you simmer them on low heat… and don’t over cook the peaches so that they become too mushy! Otherwise you’ll be spreading them on toast, which isn’t a bad thing at all, just not what you want to accomplish for this particular tart!

While the peaches are simmering, using a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled puff pastry. Add the peaches on top of the cream cheese, and pour the remaining caramel sauce from the pan over the peaches.

Sprinkle with pecans.

Serve warm or cold (It is delicious cold, but I tend to like it warm)

Enjoy!
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February Calendar Fun: Bakewell Tart

Sometimes things just don’t taste the way you “see” them in a picture…

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Here we are in March already, and if you remember, I talked about the recipe calendar that I have at my desk, and my plan to prepare the recipe of the month, at the end of each month… At the end of January, I made these cookies, which were absolutely delicious..

February’s recipe featured this Bakewell Tart. I was a little bit excited to try this tart, because in my mind, I was expecting a pecan pie type of deal, but with almonds and raspberry instead, and expected it to be delicious..

As described in the calendar, this tart originated in the English village of Bakewell, as Bakewell pudding. Digging a little more online, I found that there is a Bakewell Tart Shop in Bakewell, and the the tart has been baked in puff pastry since the 1870’s.

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Whether this is true or not, the story starts with a customer ordering a strawberry tart from Mrs. Greaves, who was the landlady and cook of the White Horse Inn, in Bakewell. Supposedly, the cooking assistant forgot to add the strawberry jam to the filling, and at the last minute, spread the jam onto the bottom of the pastry shell and then covered it with the cream filling. Apparently, there is a secret ingredient that only one person knows. Before Mrs. Greaves died, she passed the recipe including the secret ingredient to a Mr. Radford, who before his death, passed it to Mr. Bloomer. I guess the Bloomer family owns (or did own) the Bakewell Tart Shop (wisegeek.com).

And..because it’s a myth, I can’t confirm the story. Sometimes it’s just fun to keep history as is…myth or not.

I just wonder why the cooking assistant didn’t mix the strawberry jam into the filling before she poured it into the pastry. It seems that if she had time to spread it over the bottom of the pastry, there was time to mix it into the filling. But what do I know? Maybe she had a grudge against the customer!

So…the Bakewell Tart..it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. I didn’t care for the texture, which is a surprise to me, because texture in food isn’t usually a negative factor for me. I’m not exactly sure what the true texture should be, and this could be due to this cook’s error, but it was a little on the thick jelly side. The taste was bland, and quite boring to be honest.   

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With all due respect to those who might love this Bakewell Tart, I just didn’t love it, and was disappointed for sure. I think that this is one of those recipes that you really need to grow up with in order to love it.  Or maybe I was disappointed because I was expecting one thing, but got another..

On a positive note, it’s a very pretty pie, the fresh raspberries and whipped cream were delicious!

Would I make it again? Most likely not, unless I were to come across another recipe that had a little “oomph” to it..

So, what would I do differently? I wouldn’t use puff pastry, but would use a buttery, chopped almond cookie crust instead, and I would bake it in mini tartlet pans rather than a pie plate. I think I’d use more jam, and less of the almond filling, and then top it with chopped toasted almonds. I’d still serve them with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Maybe a drizzle of chocolate…you know, just because chocolate makes everything better…

Stay tuned… I think I’m on to something here!

I’m sure that there is someone who is familiar with this tart, and I’d like to know your thoughts!

Just a quick note: This recipe called for a 7” pie plate. I didn’t have one, so I used a 9” instead, and doubled the recipe. It called for a 30 minute bake time, but I doubled that too, and lowered the temperature from the suggested 400 degrees to 350 degrees. It browned and set beautifully in one hour.

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Bakewell Tart
(As written on my calendar)

225g/8 oz puff pastry
30ml/2 tbsp raspberry or apricot jam
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
115g/4 oz/ 1/2 cup (caster) superfine sugar
115g/4 oz/1/2 cup butter, melted
55g/2 oz/ 2/3 cup ground almonds
A few drops of almond extract
icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
double (heavy) cream, or ice cream, to serve

Preheat the over to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line an 18cm/7 inch pie plate. Trim the edge of the pastry with a knife.

Re-roll the pastry trimmings and cut into strips. Use these to decorate the edge of the pastry case by gently twisting them around the rim, joining the strips together as necessary.

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Prick the pastry case all over, then spread the jam all over the base.

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Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together in a bowl until the mixture is thick and pale.  Gently  stir the melted butter, ground almonds, and almond extract into the whisked egg mixture.

Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is just set, and lightly browned.

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Decorate the tart with a little bit of icing sugar before serving it warm or cold with generous dollops of double cream or ice cream.

For those of you who love it… Enjoy!

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Potato and Onion Tart

Happy New Year!!  I hope that 2014 brings you peace, happiness, love, and the best of health..

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Looking back on 2013, I’m thankful to have my son here today. He gave us quite the scare last April, but with the wonderful doctors at Children’s hospital in Buffalo, he’s here and will be for many many years to come.

I’m also thankful for my friends who supported this crazy notion of starting a blog. For helping me come up with the name, and proofreading and proofreading, and tasting and tasting!!  And for all the tasting that is still to come!! I’m thankful for those of you who commented on my very first post,  and for the quick friendships that have grown…I’m thankful for those of you who follow my blog… and I look forward to sharing 2014 with each and every one of you. I’ve enjoyed every last minute of this blog for the last few months, and I can’t wait to see what the New Year brings!!

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I felt that it was fitting to start butter, basil and breadcrumbs’ 2014 the way that it began in September 2013… with a savory tart.  This one isn’t as complex as my Rustic Tomato Tartlet, but it certainly has the flavor of a complex tart. Of course, it definitely has to involve bacon and some sort of caramelized sweet onions…and what would it be without some sort of cheesy goodness?

I had a lot of potatoes to use up this morning.  I wasn’t really hungry for potato soup, or scalloped potatoes, or potato salad.  I was limited on ingredients because I didn’t have the desire to run to the store, which would have meant changing into decent clothes and taking my hair out of the ponytail. Lazy. And in the same fashion as I usually prepare a meal, I started rummaging through the fridge to see what I had on hand. Pepper Jack cheese. Eggs for custard. Onions. How about roasted balsamic onions? And bacon.  A potato tart it would be. Perfect.

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I have to say that I love this tart. I just love it when you can throw some simple ingredients together to come up with a recipe worth saving. It’s simple. It’s rustic. It’s perfect as a side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It’s perfect to be the main course for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Potato and Onion Tart

I used a 9×9 square tart pan with a removable bottom.

The whole time I was preparing this tart, I kept wishing that I had sharp cheddar in the fridge, because I really believed it would really make this tart what my taste buds thought it should be.  But…after taking that first taste of this tart, those taste buds of mine were absolutely certain that the pepper jack was the honest to goodness cheese for this tart.

Since I made this for breakfast, I thought that a couple of fried eggs would top it off nicely.  I was right!

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You’ll notice that the picture shows five potatoes in a pan of water.  That’s what I started out with, but to be honest, I only used three of the potatoes.  The other two are now a small potato salad in the fridge.

Tart Filling:
3 medium potatoes, all the same diameter
3 medium onions, all the same diameter
8 oz pepper jack cheese, cut into cubes
½ pound bacon
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
Custard (recipe below)
1 tsp dried rosemary

Boil three medium size (same size) potatoes until they’re tender, but not completely softened. When they’re cooled, slice into ½” slices.  Set aside.

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Slice three medium onions that are about the same diameter into ½” thick slices.  Place each slice on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and a generous amount of balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about ½ hour, until the onions are soft and browned.  Remove from oven, set aside.

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While the onions are roasting, fry ½ pound of bacon until crispy.  Roughly chop.  Set aside.

Custard:
6 egg yolks
¾ cup heavy cream
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne (or more to suit your desired heat)

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and cayenne until well blended.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

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For the tart, I used Aunt Linda’s pie crust:
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
1 tbsp vinegar

In a small bowl, mix the milk and vinegar together.  Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, blend the flour, shortening, and salt together until mixture is in pea size crumbles. Pour the milk and vinegar mixture into the flour mixture and stir.   The dough will be sticky.

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Use plenty of flour, and roll the dough into a ball. Cut the dough ball in half, and if you’re using a square tart pan, shape the dough into a square.  (You can refrigerate the other half of the dough for a later use) Using plenty of flour on your rolling board, roll the square to 1/8 inch thick.  Press the square of dough into the tartlet pan, and fold the overlapping dough back down the inside of the pan to make the sides of the tart sturdy.  I always weigh my pie crust down with dried beans and a piece of aluminum foil. To make it easier to handle the tart pan, place it on a baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove the pie weight and let the crust cool in the pan. Set aside. Do not remove the crust from the pan at this point!! 

To assemble the tart:

When the tart crust is cooled, spread 2 tablespoons of spicy brown mustard on the bottom of the crust.  Spread the chopped bacon over the bottom of the crust. Spread the pepper jack cubes over the bacon.

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Layer the top of the tart starting with the potatoes, and alternating with the onions, until the tart is filled.

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Pour the custard over the potato and onion layers, making sure that the custard fills all of the nooks and crannies between the potatoes and onions.

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Season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the custard is set.

Serve immediately as a side dish, or your main course.  Enjoy!!

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