Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Peach Jam and a Frangipane Tart

We're coming on the final month or so of Summer and Ontario peaches are insanely juicy and jam-packed with peach flavour right now. I don't know many things that can beat a perfectly ripe, fresh Ontario peach. Really, it's tough. I mean, they're so good that I'm hard-pressed to bake with them. But, then again, my name is Christina Marsigliese and we all know their destiny. Essentially, I will bake with them.

This recipe is special, because it takes a bit of work. Yes, there are multiple steps to making this Spiced Peach Frangipane Tart. I'm sorry to give you so much work, but there are multiple steps to my Peanut Butter Caramel Brownies, and I'm certain those are outrageous and the time is most definitely worth it!

So, please take a few deep breaths and hear me out. For the first layer of this tart you need to take those unbelievable fresh peaches and make jam.

What!? Make jam!? But why? Why would you make jam if you can buy it at the store? Because I'm asking you to and you need to trust me - it will be better. Way better.

If you're not familiar with making jam, you can read about it here where I taught you the science behind it and how to make a simple Classic Strawberry Jam.

For today's Spiced Peach Jam, I do not peel the fruit because the peels have a higher pectin content which will help the jam set up nicely. Plus, it saves you loads of work!

Underripe fruit yields more pectin than very ripe or overripe fruit. So, although ripe fruit has the best flavour, it is smart to use half the quantity of underripe fruit for optimal gel formation. As fruit ripens, certain enzymes break down pectin into pectinic acid and subsequently pectic acid. This process is responsible for the softening of ripe fruit.

To make the almond cream, process almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor until finely ground. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and honey and add to the almond mixer. Process until moistened. Add butter and process until smooth and completely incorporated. Scrape mixture into a clean bowl and fold in cream.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To assemble tart, spread 1 cup of peach jam over the base of chilled pastry shell. Spoon almond cream over the jam and gently spread it out to smooth the surface. Arrange sliced fresh peaches decoratively over top. Place tart on middle rack of oven and bake 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350
°F, place tart on bottom rack of oven and bake until top and bottom are golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

So, if you haven't already started to prepare your ingredients to make this tart, I suggest you do it now. I'm not trying to be bossy, I'm just trying to look out for your best interest. Really, I am.

At least go ahead an make this peach jam, because you'll need the practice for my next recipe. PS - it keeps in the fridge for at least 2 weeks so it's perfect for your morning toast.

To summarize: Make this tart. No excuses. Please and Thank You.

Love, Christina.
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