Thus I have given myself a challenge. I’m going to cook everything that I eat over the next week completely from scratch. Then, I’m going to blog about the results of this labor and include as many pictures as I can remember to take. I was partially inspired by the trailer for Julie & Julia wherein title character Julie challenges herself to cook herself through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in a year. (I was born in 1989; Julia Child has had very little direct impact on my life and love of cooking.) The grueling motivation of a daily broadcast is exactly what I need to stop being lazy, get back in the kitchen, and think a little more about the health and economy of everything I consume.
I got off to a start yesterday before I thought up the challenge. Homemade buttermilk pancakes for breakfast. Lunch was a simple but powerful sandwich of lettuce, red pepper, parsley, and cheddar/pepper jack cheese on artisanal ciabatta bread with mayonnaise and mustard. I had planned to make an Italian-style eggplant dish for dinner, but I couldn’t work it out in my head so I had another sandwich, this time adding a meaty slice of tomato. It was pretty small so I knew I would need dessert.
Flashes of the Westside Market bakery section were tearing through my mind as I took in the beautiful night air on Low Steps. I wanted a Peanut Butter Cookie and a peach so bad! But no, I had just tweeted away my commitment. It was already about 8:30 and the full moon was making its way to the south. I called my mother to ask her approval – something I do when I really need someone else to tell me not to break my own rules- and it was decided. After a quick glance in my Fannie Farmer cookbook to make sure I remembered the formula for peach pie, I set off to the store.
Peach and Raspberry Tart
I decided to make the tart instead of the cookie I was jonesing for because I wanted to bring everything together in one dish. Raspberries were 3 for $5 so I couldn’t resist the upgrade. I keep forgetting to bring my pie plate from MD, so I switched my mind from pie to tart.
Basically, this is the exact same crust I used to make my Vegetable Quiche except I heeded my own advice and made it without the food processor this time. After stirring together the flour and salt (plus a tablespoon of sugar to sweeten it a little) I cut in chilled, 1/4 inch cubes of butter with a pastry blender until a small and even crumb formed. Next, I continued to cut the dough with the pastry blender while adding the ice water little by little. [Trick: Put cold water in a thin plastic container and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to drop the temperature. Cold water doesn’t get that cold in the summer.]
Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten to a disk, and pop it into the freezer while preparing the filling. (I started too late at night to let it chill for the recommended hour, but this is fine if you’re quick.)
Wash 6-8 peaches. Hold a large knife steady and carefully roll the peach around the blade to separate the meat into two halves. Grab each side of the peach and gently rotate to separate. [This is really hard to do if the peach is under-ripe. Suggestions?] Slice each half into 1/4 inch crescents and put into a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/4 pint of washed, fresh raspberries. Stir to combine. [The lemon juice and sugar are based on the ripeness of your peaches. If your peaches are really ripe, you can probably use less sugar…]
Following detailed instructions from the quiche recipe, roll out the dough and transfer to the tart shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. (I didn’t do this but wish I had because the tart bottom was too soggy from the fruit juices.)
Spoon fruit filling into tart pan. Apply any remaining crust to the top in shapes. (Why let it go to waste?) Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Lightly cover with foil and lower the temperature to 350 for 20 minutes. (I did this because normally pies like this have a top crust to keep the juices bubbling.) Remove the foil, dot top crust shapes with butter and finish baking for another 10-15 minutes.
Try to resist the powerful fruity aroma as the tart cools for a few minutes. I couldn’t.