I know it’s only May. I can’t wait any longer. I’ll blame it on the changeable weather giving us a glimpse of the summer to come for a few hours on the occasional day. Peaches and apricots are starting to arrive this month but they are not yet sun-drenched, butter-soft and sweet-as-candy. They just don’t glow yet.
Summer is my favourite season for food – tomatoes, aubergines (eggplants), cucumbers, nectarines, peaches, cherries, melons, plums and berries. I am forever hunting at the greengrocer for any hint of new fruit and vegetables arriving. Don’t get me wrong, I am positively giddy when I see firm, fresh courgette blossoms, fat, tightly closed asparagus tips, wrinkly morels and plump peas and broad beans bursting out of their pods. My whole family gorged on the case of the alphonso mangoes I found this weekend. Even the baby was crying when the last one was finished. But to be perfectly honest with you, I have been dreaming of fresh peach pie since it last passed my lips last summer. I drool when I dream of it. It’s just that it tastes like goodness. It’s become rather an obsession and I cannot think of anything else to write until I tell everyone about it.
This recipe has a crisp, flakey, buttery crust with pistachios lending it nuttiness. It contrasts perfectly with the cold, juicy peach chunks enveloped by a sweet vanilla and orange blossom infused cooked-peach syrup. Whipped cream works well here too. When do peaches and cream not work, right? But the real story here is the fresh peaches, the taste of summer, made that much better by combining them with the concentrated jammy flavour of the cooked peach accompanied by flavours of pistachio, vanilla and orange blossom.
This is my gift to you. Save this recipe. As soon as you see some fragrant, delicately soft peaches, buy them, run home and make this tart immediately. You won’t regret it.
Crostata alle pesche (fresh peach pie)
- 1 recipe pasta frolla (short crust) – substitute 25 grams of the cornstarch and 15 grams of the flour with 40 grams of finely ground pistachios and add 5 mls (1 teaspoon) almond extract
- 10 peaches, ripe
- 2 peaches, ripe, skin removed and cut into 2 cm pieces
- 150 mls water
- 150 grams sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed
- 3 mls (1/2 teaspoon) orange blossom water
- Heat the oven to 175C. Use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry wide enough to fit a 24 cm pie dish or pastry ring.
- Check that the pastry will fit your pie dish or pastry ring including the sides.
- Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll into the dish or ring. If using a pastry ring, place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Press the pastry down into the dish or ring ensuring that it is pressed into the corners around the mould so it does not slip down. Use a knife to trim the edges, use a fork to poke holes around the bottom and side and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Bake the pastry for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. If the pastry puffs during cooking just pierce it with a fork and continue baking. Let the pastry cool.
- Meanwhile to make the peach syrup, place the sugar, water and vanilla pod and beans together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the 2 cut peaches and the orange blossom water to the mixture.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Let it cool and remove the vanilla pod.
- When ready to serve, remove the skin of the remaining 10 peaches.
- Cut the peaches into 2 cm pieces.
- Toss the peaches together with the cooled simple syrup.
- Place the peaches onto the cooled pastry and serve.
What summer dish have you been longing for all winter? Please share below in the comments.