RECIPE: Smooth as KY Bourbon Peach Tart
This tart is buttery soft with a kick from the lemon that the bourbon just soothes right away. You'll want seconds. Especially if there's vanilla ice cream around.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons browned butter (recipe here), cold
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 2 large eggs
- 2 lbs peaches, preferable fresh (listen, I used frozen)
- 3 tablespoons browned butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- pinch salt
- sparse 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or more or none!
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 - 2 tablespoons bourbon, to taste and consistency
- sugar for dusting
Sweet Pastry Dough
Prep: 15 minutes Rest: 1 hour, up to 3 days Total: 1 hour + 15 minutes - 3 days + change
This is my go to recipe for sweet pastry dough. I've adapted it from the book bake! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking by Nick Malgieri, which I highly recommend. But listen. If you want to use packaged pie dough from the grocery story, no one is judging you. And if they are, stick to my favorite motto that I learned from a dear friend, Sigrid Heath (who has carried it with her from North Carolina from her dear friend): If you can't fuck 'em, fuck 'em.
For this sweet pastry dough, you'll need the first set of ingredients from the above list. I like to mix my dough by hand, but you can easily use a food processor if you prefer. In this recipe, I used a combination of browned butter and unsalted butter. The browned butter absolutely added a nice, nutty layer to the crust, but it also made it more difficult to work with before baking. If you would like to use straight unsalted butter, you'll still have a delightful crust.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Divide your COLD butter into six to seven smaller pieces and add to the flour mixture. If butter isn't cold for this step, it will just melt into the flour and not provide the flaky texture you're going for. Using your fingers, massage the butter into the flour mixture until you have a nice, sandy texture, as pictured above. Make sure you dip your hands to the bottom of the bowl to get all the flour evenly combined. Add the eggs one at time and work into the dough. Once combined, place dough on lightly floured surface and press gently into a disc shape, then divide in half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour. Refrigeration allows the butter to chill and prevents it from melting when the dough is rolled out for the pastry.
Prep: 10 minutes
While dough chills, begin the peach filling. If it's summer or warm and you are blessed enough to have fresh peaches, you'll want to remove the skins using this cool trick. Basically, make an X at the base of each peach, toss them into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately drop them into ice cold water. The peach skins will slip right away. If you got excited about peach season too soon (like me) and are using frozen peaches, make sure they are thawed before moving forward.
Add 3 tablespoons of browned butter to a medium pot or saucepan over medium heat. While the browned butter isn't necessary in the crust, I do feel strongly about it here. The nutty, earthy flavor of the browned butter helps balance the tartness of the peaches and the lemon. If you didn't already make the browned butter for the crust, it's simple and you can find directions here. Once the butter has browned or melted, add two pounds of peaches into the pan and stir to coat.
Lower heat and add 3 tablespoons of sugar, pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of flour. Allow mixture to thicken and simmer for about five minutes, making sure the peaches don't stick to the bottom of the pan. A thicker sauce will help prevent the tart from leaking and will deepen the flavors of the butter and peaches. Remove the mixture from the heat and add juice of 1/2 lemon (more or less to taste - it's important to begin tasting the mixture to add acid if it's too sweet, or sugar if too acidic), sparse 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (you can be creative here. I also like cardamom in peach pies and adding nothing at all is fine too.). Set mixture aside to cool as you roll out your dough.
Peach Tart Art
Prep: 15 - 20 minutes Flash Bake: 10 minutes Bake: 40 - 45 minutes Total: 1 hour + 10 - 15 minutes
Preheat oven to 400.
While your peach mixture cools and the oven preheats, you can begin rolling out your sweet pastry dough. The biggest trick to rolling out pie or pastry dough is keeping it cold, so if your dough hasn't chilled for a full hour, it really is best to wait. Get all your materials ready before you get the dough out too. You'll need flour for dusting, a rolling pin, and a 9 inch tart pan. I like to roll my dough out on a silicon baking mat to help clean up, so you can try that too. I also lightly butter my tart tin before adding my crust as well.
Lightly dust your work surface and place one chilled disc in the flour. Dust the top with flour and coat your rolling pin as well. When rolling out the dough, start in the center and roll outward several times. Then, lift the dough and rotate a quarter-turn. This helps both to roll the dough out evenly and to prevent the dough from sticking to your work surface. If the dough begins to stick to the counter or the rolling pin at any time, add more flour to that area and to your rolling pin. Don't be afraid of adding too much. If the dough is getting too warm and hard to work with, slide it back into the fridge and wait 10 - 15 minutes. There's a great tutorial about rolling dough on Smitten Kitchen. Continue rolling and rotating until you have a 12 inch circle. Then gently fold the dough over your rolling pin and place in lightly buttered tart tin. Trim dough so there is an even 1/2 inch overhang all the way around.
Cover the bottom of the tart with parchment paper, add rice and beans or pie weights, and flash bake crust for ten minutes. Flash baking will help prevent the tart from becoming soggy and is important when baking moist pies.
While the bottom crust flash bakes, prepare your top crust and the bourbon glaze. You can take one of two paths for the top crust. I won't judge you no matter which you choose. One: roll out the second disc to 12 inches, dump the peach mixture into the tart tin when the bottom crust is finished, cover it all up with the top crust, crimp the edges closed, and shove it in the oven for the final bake. Two: roll out the second crust and cut out leaf and rose designs (surprisingly uncomplicated). Either way, while the crust flash bakes, prepare the top crust of your tart.
For the glaze, add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of water to saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Then, add 1 - 2 tablespoons of bourbon and simmer 2 - 4 minutes until the mixture is full in flavor and syrupy.
Remove the pre-baked pie crust from the oven. How you have decided to do your top crust impacts your next step. If you are adding a full top crust and ditching fanciness, just dump the peach filling in there because no one will know otherwise. Add a touch of the bourbon glaze to the peach mixture, close the pie with your second crust, crimp edges, and use a pastry brush to apply the rest of the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar and onto the center rack of the oven it goes.
If you are going the fancy path, place the peaches in concentric circles beginning with the outside and working your way in. Drizzle remaining peach filling evenly over the top. Add your dough cut outs, then use pastry brush to distribute the bourbon glaze across the dough and the peaches. Sprinkle with sugar and place in the center rack of the oven.
After 20 minutes in the oven, check to see if the edges or other areas of the tart are browning to fast. If so, add a pie guard or aluminum foil around the edges. Continue to cook for 20 - 25 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 3 hours before cutting. Serve with vanilla ice cream and a hot toddy!