I’ve always been a really picky eater. I’ve made some progress on that front since I started this blog, but I’m still way too picky to be called a “foodie” or anything like that. But this summer I’ve made some pretty big discoveries that have challenged my preconceptions of certain foods and because of that I’ve decided to change. I made this challenge to myself: I will try everything at least once. If I don’t like it, fine, but at least now I know I don’t like it and I’m not just assuming based on how it looks or smells or whatever weird childhood memories it brings up.
For example, I’ve never liked carrots because in elementary school I threw up in the middle of the cafeteria after eating some. Now it turns out, I still don’t really like the taste of raw carrots. But I use carrots in my cooking all the time now because I’ve discovered that if they are in something else, like a soup or salad or pot pie, then I don’t mind them. I used to obsessively pick them out of everything, which was beyond annoying and I can’t believe I bothered. It’s so much easier not being picky!
But the thing that actually spurred this new approach to food was summer fruit. Specifically cherries and peaches. I’ve never liked either. But I realized that I’ve never actually had a fresh cherry before and the only peaches I’d ever eaten were the kind that come in a can of fruit cocktail. I’ve been seeing tons of cherry and peach recipes all summer long, so when I saw cherries and nice looking peaches at the grocery store, I grabbed them on a whim. When I got home and tasted the fruit, I was blown away by the flavor. But it made me feel SO STUPID. I’d been missing out on delicious cherries all my life because I just assumed they tasted like that awful candy or cough syrup. And I thought peaches were as slimy and flavorless as their canned equivalent. After that I knew I had to stop being such a picky eater. How much wonderful food have I missed out on because I wouldn’t even want to try it?
After I discovered I liked these fruits, I went on a search to find as many recipes as possible that use them, which is how I came to make this tart. It is so good, I think it kind of puts the strawberry tart I made last year to shame. When the peaches caramelize, their juices soak into the dulce de leche filling and it all tastes so good together. It’s a messy dessert, but it’s the kind where you want to lick your plate at the end to get every last bit of it.
If you don’t know what dulce de leche is, it’s a delicious form of caramel and it’s a perfect accompaniment to peaches. You may be able to find some at the grocery store, but it’s also quite easy to make. I made it few times and tried a few methods, but I recommend this method from David Lebovitz because it was really easy and took the least time. The only change I would suggest is to add a couple of cinnamon sticks to the sweetened condensed milk while it cooks because that adds more flavor to the dulce de leche. It especially works well with this tart since there is cinnamon in the crust. This recipe only uses about 1/4 cup of dulce de leche, but don’t worry, you’ll find ways to use it up…if you don’t wind up eating it all with a spoon first! I’ve been using it in my coffee, it’s like a creamer and sweetener in one.
Dulce de Leche Peach Tart
adapted from About.com
Dessert | Servings: 1 9″ tart (8 servings)
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 40 min | Total time: 1 hour 10 min
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dulce de leche
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup pecan halves (optional)
- 4-5 large ripe peaches
- 2 tbsp. dulce de leche
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
- Start making the crust: Cream butter and sugar for a minute or two until well mixed, but still stiff.
- Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and briefly mix with your hands until crumbly and moist enough to hold together when pressed.
- Press into an 8 or 9 inch tart pan, making sure all sides are even and strong.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or just until the sides of the crust start to brown. Remove and let cool.
- Make the filling: In a mixer or food processor add the butter, brown sugar, dulce de leche, egg yolk, vanilla, salt and pecans (if using). Mix until light colored and smooth (might still be slightly lumpy from the butter, that’s ok).
- Spread the filling into the crust.
- Blanch and peel the peaches and cut into thin (1/8 – 1/4 inch), even slices. Put the slices in a colander to drain excess juices for a minute or two.
Place the peach slices on top of the tart, overlapping each other so that they are very close together. Make circles of peach slices until the entire tart is covered. If you still have slices left, stuff them in there! This tart looks and tastes better the more peaches it has on it, otherwise the filling puffs out covers up all the beautiful peaches. I used 4 large peaches for my 9 inch tart.
- Add 2 tbsp. of dulce de leche and 1 tsbp. butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until better it melted. Brush mixture evenly over the peaches. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar.
- Baking from 25-30 minutes or until peaches are caramel colored and the tart is heated through. Remove and let cool.
Serve warm or at room temperature.