The past week, our fridge turned into a jewel box of stone fruit. I haven’t made a trip to the kitchen without taking a little handful of cherries or pulling apart a perfect apricot. But in preparation for yet another pendaison de crémaillère, I was racking my brain for a clever way to showcase all these seasonal beauties in a dessert. I envisioned a colorful pavlova with macerated nectarines, cherries, and apricots, the luscious fruit sandwiched between vanilla-studded whipped creme and crispy meringue. But after eating (and tirelessly trying to replicate) so many flawless French fruit tartes, I was sold on creating a humble free-form fruit tarte, with a flaky pastry folding over the kaleidoscope of summer fruit. Nevertheless, it was a bonne soiree indeed. Although mon mari uncannily likened my tarte to a pizza, I took it as a good opportunity to have him to serve me another slice.
Free-form stone fruit tarte
1 1/4 cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon
10 tablespoons of butter, chilled
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-5 tablespoons ice water
3 cups seasonal stone fruit (peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, mirabelles, cherries, etc), pitted and quartered
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon rum
1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. Add sugar and salt to flour. Using a food processor, pastry cutter, or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a fine meal. Adding one tablespoon at a time, pour in the ice water and stir just until a dough forms, being careful not to overwork the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
2.) In the meantime, dissolve the honey in the rum. Pour over the pitted and quartered fruit and add the tablespoon of flour. Stir. And let marinate while dough is cooling.
3.) Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper until 1/4 of an inch thick. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Prick the center of the dough with a fork. Spoon the fruit into the center of the dough leaving 2-3 inches on each side. Fold the dough over the fruit. Brush the pastry with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
4.) Bake for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream. Or cold with creme fraiche or whipped cream.
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