You never know where your inspiration for a certain dish sweet or savory may come from. That’s certainly the case with this one. Several days ago I began my search for a peach tart. Why peach? I don’t have a clue I just knew I was in the mood for something peachy. And the kicker is I’m not a big peach lover. They’re good and most of the time I have them either in a smoothie or occasionally in peach cobbler. But for me to have my heart set on a peach tart with almonds and blueberries, unheard of. Blogging surely has me stretching my tastebuds. I found this recipe At The Baker’s Bench Here are my changes:
- Frozen peaches for fresh
- Vanilla paste instead of Vanilla Sugar
- Shortbread Crust instead of regular pastry crust
- Granulated Sugar instead of Turbinado
The crust was JAMMIN!! I could spoon off all the filling and just eat it plain. I am so making this many many more times. The peaches definitely needed more sugar for me, but hey I get enough sugar don’t I. Cutting back on this one doesn’t hurt. Did I tell you how much I love this crust?!! One thing though, if you don’t like almonds this isn’t your dessert. Feel free to use a different kind of nut of flavoring and make it your own.
Peach Frangipane Tart
3 large fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS vanilla sugar or granulated sugar
½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)
1 recipe Frangipane (follows)
1 pastry for single-crust pie
2 TBS mild honey, warmed (optional)
½ cup blanched almonds (whole or slivered)
¼ cup white sugar
Pinch sea salt
1 large egg
½ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp ground vanilla bean or ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
3 TBS butter, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray a rectangular or circular tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick pan spray. Lay pie pastry over tart pan and ease into place, lifting sides and gently molding them to fit the corners and interior edges of the pan. Fold the excess loosely over the top and run rolling pin over to cut off excess.
To make the Frangipane: Combine the almonds, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine meal. Add egg, almond extract, and vanilla bean or extract and pulse to mix. Add butter gradually, pulsing to incorporate. Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl of the food processor and pulse again to mix thoroughly. Spoon a layer of Frangipane into crust, about ¼ inch thick. Use a small offset spatula to distribute it evenly over the bottom of the crust.
Toss peach slices in lemon juice, then sprinkle vanilla sugar over and toss again to coat. Starting at one end of the rectangular tart (or on the outside edge of the circular tart), arrange peach slices so that they overlap slightly. Place blueberries around the outside of the row of peaches. Brush peaches with the warmed honey and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
Place tart in preheated oven and bake until the Frangipane is puffed and golden and the peaches are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. To serve, let cool on rack until barely warm, then unmold and dust with confectioners’ sugar or top with vanilla ice cream or creme anglaise. Refrigerate leftovers.
Almond Shortbread Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ cup ground almonds
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp orange peel
½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
Additional powdered sugar for dusting
The first time I made this crust I used hazelnuts instead of almonds and it was yummy indeed. I really don’t think you can go wrong with any type of nut crust. It’s all a matter of preference. In a food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, nuts, lemon and orange peels and the butter; cover and process until mixture forms a ball. Press pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
Ready for more of the story. I’m doing a bit of a flip-flop here. Read on and I’ll explain.
No more bright lights and big city. Now it was really all about me, and I felt more overwhelmed than at the beginning of the program. What was coming around the bend would change my life and my family’s from now on. Looking back on the whole experience which took place six years ago, I see how it was all a part of the plan. It was more of a discovery of who I am than about weight loss. Which is true for most people who are carrying excess pounds. I’d lost and regained 30+ pounds many times and had become accustomed to the ups and downs and closet full of clothes from A-Z.
At the end of March I’d lost almost 30 lbs. What intrigued me the most was how much my attitude changed each time I dropped the weight. Even though the numbers on the scale and the tape measure were going down there was something I couldn’t shake. That something was the memory of my experience with depression and self injury. I spoke of the depression with CNN and briefly mentioned the self injury. I came across I file the other day that I thought I’d deleted and once I read through a rush of memories came back. After reading it I realized that this is where I should have started sharing my CNN experience with you. I’ve also hesitated about doing so but have decided to go ahead. You’ve come along with me this far I hope you continue the journey. Here’s where I insert those words of caution, “it’s not going to be pretty”.
When I carried the extra weight I’d gotten used to the daily aches and pains. Usually I attributed the stiffness and minor aches to post exercise soreness. During that period they felt different and didn‘t disappear as quickly. At the same time the horrendous headaches I had experienced in previous years intensified, and I often felt as though I was having a heart attack. One other thing that really creeped me out was a feeling of impending doom and gloom? That’s when I figured out that I was an emotional eater. Prior to the CNN experience much of my life passed in a blur.
I was steadily gaining weight, always in pain, and my personal life was falling apart. The pain only got worse, and I was zombie from the sedative. On to the next drug, Elavil. And I thought I was out of it before; Elavil took me straight to la-la land. Working soon became difficult. My jobs and my health were at risk. Cautiously I agreed to therapy. There is a stigma in our community about therapy. Where I grew up black folks didn’t do therapy, and anything remotely considered a mental health issue was hushed. Even in therapy, the panic attacks continued to taunt me. One day while driving to work what I thought was the blink of an eye, was actually me falling asleep at the wheel. When I opened my eyes a tree loomed a few feet in front of me, I had run off the road. A visit to the psychiatrist ended with a recommendation for sick leave. At the onset, it was two weeks, and then another two. Soon after, I filed for disability.
Never had I been on so many medications, or felt so poorly about life or myself. The most incredible feelings of worthlessness had set in. Lexapro, tofranil, wellbutrin, elavil, effexor, serzone, celexa, flexeril, fiorinal, and, klonopin; these were the drugs that graced the shelves of my medicine cabinet. Not all at once, but during a span of two years. Klonopin was the drug of choice for panic attacks. It brought that mellow feeling very quickly, but didn’t fix anything. When the drugs wore off everything that was wrong in my life was still there. I was living the movie “Groundhog Day”, all I did on a daily basis was cry, eat, and lay on the couch. Once very much a diva, it took all my strength and resolve to put on clothes. A funky blue lethargic fog enveloped me. I’m sure that anyone who seen me on the rare occasions that I ventured out in public thought I was intoxicated. As I continued to take the anti-depressants, my psychiatrist informed me that one of the side effects was weight gain. “Whatever”, I just didn’t want to feel this way any longer.