I like my peaches cold, juicy and unadulterated. Is there any other way to enjoy a fruit that gets so much attention in the summer? Peaches are synonymous with summer. Just like fireworks and the 4th of July. But I must confess, when everyone is waxing poetic about their peaches in July, I’m sitting patiently on the sidelines waiting for peaches to hit their stride in August. Depending on where you are in the world, and what faint memories you have of the best peach you’ve ever eaten in your life, you can get fuzzy, tennis-ball like peaches that smell and taste of a whole lot of nothing. Or you could be lucky enough to get those giant, velvety globes of perfumed perfection that slice like butter and eat like candy. Those are the peaches I hold out for each year. And it’s that time again. With it being National Eat A Peach Day, I can’t think of a better reason to keep holding out any longer.
There are some fruits I just like to eat as is or pretty close to the way nature created them. This recipe is my homage to the perfect peach. When you have good ingredients, the recipe just writes itself. This peach tart with honey goat cheese doesn’t get any easier. And I’m no baker, so I’m totally okay with employing cheater shortcuts like using store-bought puff pastry. If you’re feeling ambitious, knock yourself out and form it into shapes or whatever. All I’m saying is leave plenty of time to enjoy this tart. I finally did, three pieces and a cup of tea later.
Peach Tart With Honey Goat Cheese
1 box ready-to-bake puff pastry sheets
1 orange, juiced, strained and zested
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons Demerara sugar
1 pack Laura Chenel honey goat cheese, or your favorite goat cheese
Makes two tarts
Remove puff pastry from freezer 40 minutes prior to using. Preheat oven to 400°.
Roughly chop two peaches to equal about 2 cups and add to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon zest, brown sugar, cinnamon and seeds scraped from the inside of the vanilla bean. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Take off heat and cool for about 10 minutes before pureeing in a food processor. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and unfold one puff pastry sheet onto it. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Use a fork to poke a few holes into the sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
While the pastry is baking, slice remaining peaches into thin slices and set aside in a small bowl.
Remove pastry from oven. If it has risen more, simply poke a few more holes into it. Spread a layer of the peach puree onto the pastry and then top with rows of sliced peaches. Place back into the oven to bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Let cool before adding honey goat cheese crumbles. Cut into squares and enjoy. Repeat with second pastry sheet.
Demerara sugar is basically raw sugar. It has large granules and is brown. The bulk section at my neighborhood market just calls it by this fancy name. If you don’t have this, you could use brown sugar or regular sugar or no sugar because your peaches will be perfectly sweet without all this fuss.
There are few goat cheeses I can eat and be okay with; Laura Chenel chevre is one of them. What can I say, my stomach has good taste. I found this flavored orange blossom honey goat cheese and think it’s the best thing since melted brie. I mean it, and I love brie. If you can’t find this cheese, a little bit of mascarpone or ricotta would be nice, too. Or just plain goat cheese and drizzle the whole tart with a little warm honey.