The orchards of Southern Ontario have a long-standing love affair with summer sunshine. Their union produces some of the country's sweetest, juiciest, sexiest peaches, which in turn inspire desserts so delicious, they often lead to amorous unions of their own. Blueberries and peaches are known for their summer flings: over the moon for one another in crumbles, muffins, cakes, and this tasty Blueberry Peach Frangipane Tart. I made the tart to celebrate a union of friends both new and old at a late summer dinner party inspired by Lidia Bastianich's soon-to-be-released cookbook: Lidia's Favorite Recipes. This tart tastes like summer love feels, and is gone just as quickly.
Lidia's original recipe calls for apricots, but a basket of peaches practically blushed as I walked by, so I used them instead. In my experience, when food speaks to you, you mustn't ignore it. In fact, I've made many impulse purchases listening to food that has flirted in the past and have never regretted heeding the call of pretty produce. Attractive seasonal fruit has the power to bring me straight to the kitchen, which was a given with these peaches. Besides, it's not the first time I've been taken in by dimples.
The tart's crust is sweet and lemony, thanks to the addition of freshly grated lemon zest. Flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolk and chilled butter, along with the zest, are quickly combined with ice water to form a dough. There is just enough dough in the recipe to fill an 11" tart pan. While the tart shell is firming up in the freezer, almond flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla are brought together to form the deliciously aromatic frangipane batter. Frangipane comes from the Italian 'frangere il pane', which means to 'break the bread'. I like that the name implies sharing: sharing a baked good immediately spreads the love, which has been baked right in.
The frangipane spreads itself languidly across tart blueberries, covering them in an indulgent blanket of sweet, buttery almond batter. Fresh peach slices are fanned across the frangipane, edges overlapping so just a bit of batter peeks through. Like a tastefully-cut gown, this is a dessert with a modest décolletage: well aware of its seductive power in leaving something to the imagination.
When it came time to serve the tart to my friends that evening, I made sure everyone got a good look first, as she was quite the beauty. Doing this only encouraged my guests to place bids on the one remaining slice before I'd even cut into the tart at all!
Like any good summer lover, this tart is perfect to reminisce about as Autumn's chilly winds and greyer skies edge out the summer sun and the fruit it bears.
BLUEBERRY PEACH FRANGIPANE TART - Inspired by Lidia Bastianich's Crostata di Mirtilli ed Albiccoche al Frangipane from Lidia's Favorite Recipes
For the Crust:
1 1/2 CUPS all-purpose flour
1/4 CUP sugar
1/2 TSP baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 CUP butter, cubed & chilled
1 egg yolk
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
Ice water, as needed
For the Frangipane:
1/2 CUP butter, softened
1/3 CUP sugar
1 CUP almond flour
1 TSP vanilla extract
1/2 CUP apricot glaze
1 CUP blueberries
3-4 ripe peaches, sliced
In a food processor, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add the butter, egg yolk, and lemon zest and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle ice water tablespoon by tablespoon (I used three), continuing to pulse after each addition, until dough holds together when lightly pressed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for an hour in the refrigerator.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12" circle. Carefully place in a 10" tart pan, press the dough well into the edges, and use a rolling pin across the surface to remove excess overhanging dough. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and let firm in the freezer for 10 minutes.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the almond flour and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Brush the tart shell with 1/4 cup of warm apricot glaze (you can make your own glaze by heating apricot jam with a tablespoon or two of water over low heat). Spread the blueberries evenly over the bottom, and top with the frangipane batter. Arrange the peach slices in a spiral starting from the centre of the tart and working towards the edges, allowing the slices to overlap slightly. Place the tart in the oven and bake until the pastry edges and the frangipane is golden brown (about 40 minutes).
Let the tart cool for 30 minutes, and brush with the remaining apricot glaze. Serve a la mode and enjoy!