By Samantha Schwalm
Peach season in Illinois is June – September. Even though we truly enjoy peaches in salads, and cooking with them in savory dishes. One of our family’s favorite things is a peach tart.
Tarts are an easy make-ahead dessert that beautifully showcases fresh summer produce. It is the perfect dessert for a warm summer night. You don’t even need to peel the fresh peaches. In fact, the color from the peach skin adds a lovely color to the tart. That lovely sheen on top of the tart is achieved by brushing warmed apricot jam over the sliced fresh peaches. It is an easy trick that makes a fruit tart look like it came straight from a high-end pastry shop.
• 10 ounces (about 2 cups ) all purpose flour
• 4 tablespoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 4 ounces (1/2 cup or 1 stick) cut into small bits cold unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons chilled lard or vegetable shortening
• 6 to 8 ripe freestone peaches
• in a grater whole nutmeg
• 3 tablespoons peach or apricot jam forced through a wire mesh strainer
The pastry can be made in a food processor. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to sift. Add the fat and process until it resembles coarse meal. Pulse in the water a little at a time, starting with 1/3 cup, until it is holding together. Gather it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and chill 20 minutes.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line a 12-inch round tart pan with the dough, pressing it into the sides without stretching it. Prick well with a fork, and chill it for 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle the bottom with cinnamon sugar and let it cool while slicing the peaches. Sprinkle well with cinnamon sugar and a generously grating of nutmeg.
Bake until the peaches are tender and the crust golden brown, about 40 minutes. Melt the jam with the remaining sugar over medium-low heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Let the tart cool slightly and brush it generously with glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.