On my tier of “greatest fears,” right after wrongful imprisonment, death by mosquitoes, and coffee shortages, exists the fear of “not having enough food for people. ” So when I had a mini party at my house, I spent weeks agonizing over the quantities required.
This is how I ended up making enough dessert for each person to have a third of a pie. I know. I made that lemon basil pie, a blackberry pie, and these chamomile peach tarts. Don’t worry, there was also pasta salad, grilled meat, so much corn on the cob we had nine ears left, and a two cheese plates.
I like to blame this ridiculousness on my Italian heritage.
Martha Stewart Living did a beautiful spread on desserts featuring savory ingredients, from which I pulled all desserts for this party. The Chamomile Peach Tart was voted on by my friend Kaitlyn, so you have her to thank for bringing this delightfulness into your life.
If you have never made a tart and are intimidated, this can be your gateway tart. The crust is made in your mixer and has four egg yolks, and is so easy to work with that when I ran out of tart pans I free formed a tart. There is no custard to stir and strain, instead the filling is sweetened sour cream. To keep it truly simple, you could leave out the chamomile poaching altogether and just top it with sweetened fruit. THERE, now you are a tart master.
If you are ambitious, the chamomile poached peaches are subtle but lovely. I started the night before, poaching them in sugar, water, and loose leaf chamomile buds. After the poaching, you let them sit overnight, soaking up the gentle chamomile flavor.
Assembly of the tarts is straightforward. Bake the shells, add the sweetened sour cream, and top with the sliced peaches and cooked down chamomile syrup.
If you loathe chamomile tea and think it tastes like socks, it’s a truly subtle flavor in this recipe, but I think you can skip it and be fine, or substitute black tea. The recipe is very versatile.
Chamomile Peach Tarts
- I assumed taking the skins of the peaches would be easy, like removing their little jackets. WRONG. These are terrible to peel. Keep a paring knife handy.
- I used loose, dried chamomile buds for the peach poaching, and cut apart teabags from the Wegmans “Just Tea” chamomile tea for the crust. I wanted a full flavor for the peaches, but wanted the tea very fine in the tart shell.
- If you know me at all you know I did not find fresh chamomile flowers for serving.
- Lacking square tart pans, I tried to use six mini tart pans. That was definitely not enough, and I ended up making a GIANT free formed tart.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup dried chamomile blossoms (from 10 to 12 tea bags)
- 3 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 8 teaspoons chamomile tea (from 8 bags)
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- Fresh chamomile flowers (unsprayed), for serving
- Peaches: Bring 6 cups water, sugar, and chamomile blossoms to a boil in a medium pot, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil gently until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 1 hour. Strain out solids, then return liquid to pot and return to a simmer. Add peach halves and cover with a parchment round. Let simmer 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let peaches cool completely in liquid. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
- Remove peaches from liquid, peel, and cut each half into fifths. Pass liquid through a fine sieve and measure out 1 1/2 cups. Return peaches to remaining liquid. Transfer 1 1/2 cups liquid to a pot; bring to a boil and reduce until syrupy (about 2 tablespoons), about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Crusts: Meanwhile, combine butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, then flour, salt, and tea; mix until dough just starts to come together. Dividing evenly, press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of two 4-by-13-inch rectangular tart pans with removable bottoms. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake crusts until golden brown, pressing down centers of tarts if puffing up, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Filling: Stir together sour cream and sugar in a bowl and spread in bottom of crusts, dividing evenly. Remove peaches from liquid and blot dry. Dividing evenly, arrange peaches over filling; drizzle with reduced syrup. Serve immediately, topped with chamomile flowers.