Art of the Tart

Kate’s Blog

A week ago I came home with a mountain of peaches in preparation for the debut of the season’s peach tarts. I was full of pleasure at the prospect of first blanching, then slicing into eighths each juicy peach. I would then plunge the slices into hot, sweet Riesling in which I’d previously steeped a fat bunch of fresh spearmint. But I get ahead of myself:  return to the mountain of peaches…………to the first peach in fact, when I plunged in my opening knife-stroke, got nowhere much, and realized (after a fashion) that I had before me a mountain of cling peaches.  

I feel shame now in the retelling of my ignorance of the finer points of peaches. At my advanced age, and as Madame Tart, to have failed to absorb — really absorb — the difference between a cling peach and a free-stone peach does me no credit. I can think of little use for a cling peach other than for eating out of hand. The flesh of the cling clings to the pit with a tenacity you’d be hard-pressed to find in other fruit. It won’t let go. There are no perfect slices in the world of cling. Just inelegant hunks of peach, bits and pieces, ragged efforts. If you try to force the issue at all you can end with a handful of mush. I apologize to you all and announce here that the local free-stone peach season will begin in about a week. This free-stone version is the peach life we love and rightly anticipate. And as soon as the free-stones are ready, I’ll restart the peach tart season having learned a hard and much overdue lesson.

 

Tarts on the table this week:

? the sweeties:

1)  apricots poached in saffron syrup

2)  blueberries with fresh lemon zest

3)  tart cherries poached in red wine and star anise

4)  either raspberry or blackberry tartlets (not sure yet)

? the savory:

1)  pissaladières — onions caramelized with rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and lavender and then garnished with niçoise olives, fresh basil and anchovies (or not).

 

- Kate Weiner 

Kate’s tarts are available at the Millbrook Farmers’ Market on Saturdays