Apparently August is National Peach Month in the US.
Well, as far as I’m concerned any summer month when fresh British seasonal peaches are available, is British peach month to me. But I do appreciate these furry juicy beauties get a whole month dedicated to them by our overseas friends. Deservedly so.
Peaches are one of those fruits that you can use in endless sweet and savoury recipes. Fabulous in chutneys, beautiful simply wrapped in prosciutto, refreshing in salads, buttery tender poached or baked and then served with a dollop of creamy mascarpone and, of course, perfect in tarts.
This rustic freeform tart is known as a “Crostata” in Italy, or a “Galette” in pretty much the rest of the world. It can be made with any fruit, but works particularly well with apples or stone fruits, possibly combined with explosive blueberries, raspberries or blackberries.
It is usually made with a flaky pastry. You can make your own, but it’s perfectly acceptable to use ready-bought puff pastry for this, as this is a recipe that mainly appeals to the lazy bakers among us.
I’ve added a little Middle Eastern twist with the addition of honey, floral orange blossom and the bright green crunch of pistachio. Pearl sugar adds a prim and pretty continental look to the rim, but that’s completely optional.
Peach and Pistachio Galette with Honey and Orange Blossom (serves 6-8)
The ground almonds and the arrowroot help to soak up excess juices. So you’re less likely to end up with a soggy bottom.
The orange blossom water is optional, but it adds a nice floral twist.
TIP: I bake tarts like these on my pizza stone, which I preheat n the oven as I would for a pizza. I also use my pizza peel to easily transfer the tart (on greaseproof paper) onto the stone. I find this helps to achieve a perfectly cooked bottom.
375 gr puff pasty and a little flour for dusting the work surface
5-6 peaches, washed, dried, sliced or cut into 6-8 wedges each
1-2 tbsp honey
juice and zest of half a lime or lemon
1 tbsp arrowroot or tapioca
1 tbsp orange blossom water
4-5 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp chopped pistachios
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp pearl sugar or demerara sugar (optional)
Optional to serve:
150 ml whipping cream
100 gr mascarpone
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp orange blossom water
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or a dash of good bourbon vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp reserved peach juices
Roll out the pastry to a circle of approx 35 cm diameter and the thickness of a £1 coin. Either leave the edges rustic and scraggy, or use a large round serving plate to cut a neater circle.
Lightly score a border of 4 cm or so. It’s optional, but it’s a useful guide for layering the almonds and peaches. Chill for 20 mins or so.
Add the peach slices or wedges to a large bowl together with the lime juice, 1-2 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp orange flower water. Mix to combine and set aside to macerate for 20-30 mins. Drain, reserving the juices, and stir the arrow root through the peaches to coat.
Preheat the oven to 190 C.
Remove the pastry circle from the fridge and place onto a baking mat or a large piece of greaseproof paper.
Mix the lime zest through the ground almonds. Spread out onto the pastry up to the marked border. Cover with the peach wedges, either neatly or tumbling them on haphazardly, up to you.
Sprinkle over the pistachios.
Fold the edges of the pasty over the peaches, again neatly or haphazardly depending on the final “look” you’re after.
Beat the egg with a pinch of salt. This helps to break down the albumen, so that the egg wash is easier to brush on. Brush the pastry edges with the egg wash and a little on the underside of the “flaps” too. Sprinkle the pastry border with a little pearl sugar or demarara, if using.
Transfer the tart (on its baking mat or greaseproof paper) onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 mins or until puffed and golden.
Meanwhile combine the mascarpone with 1-2 tbsp of the reserved peach juices, 1-2 tbsp honey, the vanilla and 1 tsp orange flower water. In another bowl whisk the whipping cream until stiff. Fold through the mascarpone. Chill until serving.
Remove the tart from the oven and rest for 5-10 mins or so. Serve with the vanilla mascarpone cream if using.
The galette is nice at room temperature too, but it’s best eaten on the day, as the bottom does tend to get a little soggy after a night in the fridge.