Saturday, July 12, 2014

Peach Lavender Tartlets

In between writing essays for some coursework I'm taking this summer to increase my repertoire, I need a little downtime and relaxation so my brain can recover from being fried in lectures and from frantic note taking.
Today was a version of plum-cardamom ice cream from the windfall of plums we were gifted, as well as these tarts.
(Then, of course, back to the grindstone.)

I love the summery peach-lavender combination of peaches in lavender tea, as long as the peaches are ripe, so I decided I wanted to recreate it in a different form.

Any good stone fruit would probably work in this instance, provided it's a soft and sweet flavor, nothing too tart. Ripe apricots or nectarines would be nice. A scattering of fresh blueberries over the peaches to fill in the gaps before baking would also be a good addition. A thin layer of raspberry jam laid down before the peaches, perhaps?

A good sprinkling of vanilla sugar just prior to baking finishes it off for sparkle, an extra boost of flavor and sweetness, and as a slight thickener to any syrupy juices.

Lavender sugar can be made and used instead: about 1 cup (215 g or so) granulated sugar with 1 1/2 t (scant 1 g) dried lavender buds.
Combine in a covered jar at least one day prior to using, better if more. Shake occasionally.

Everything is baked until the crust is golden and the peaches relax and slump a bit, and gain a slight jamminess.

Serve the tartlets with a cup of tea, plain or dressed with freshly whipped cream.
The tarts, not the tea.

Peach Lavender Tartlets
Makes 8, 4 inch tarts

1 1/3 c (150 g) sorghum flour
3/4 c (60 g) almond or hazelnut flour
1/3 c (33 g) tapioca flour
large pinch salt
1 1/2 to 2 t (scant to full 1 g) dried lavender flowers, pulverized with a mortar and pestle
3-4 T (50-68 g) sugar
8 T (114 g) butter
1 large egg
water, as necessary
4-6 fresh, ripe peaches
sugar (plain, demerara, vanilla or lavender infused)
lavender buds for garnish (optional)

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sorghum, almond/hazelnut, and tapioca flours along with the salt and sugar. Pulse several times until well blended. Add the butter, cut into 6-8 pieces and pulse again several times until it resembles damp, crumbly sand. Crack the egg into a small bowl and pour it into the food processor, and pulse several times again until combined. Depending on humidity, the dough may form itself into a nice ball of soft dough, but if it doesn't, drizzle a bit of water (1 t/ 5 ml at a time) on the dough and process again. Repeat as necessary until it comes together into a ball. 
Remove the dough to waxed paper or plastic wrap, wrap well, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 
Divide the dough among 8, 4-inch tart tins. Either roll the pieces of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to use your fingers or a small offset spatula to smooth the pastry evenly across the bottom and up the insides of the tins.
Freeze the tart tins at least 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350/180.
Arrange peach slices in each tart shell and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the tarts 25-35 minutes minutes, or until the edges are set and golden and the peaches have cooked a bit. 
Let the tarts cool about 10 minutes and carefully remove them from the tins. If your tins do not have removable bottoms, upturning a plate over the top of a tart and inverting will help to ease them out of their tins. Place a plate over the bottom-up tart, and invert both plates and the tart so that the tart is right side up. 
Serve as desired. 

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