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Yes, you can make a juicy, summery, peach-crowned version of the classic upside-down caramelized apple tart. No, you can’t simply substitute peaches for apples.
The classic tarte Tatin is an upside-down caramelized apple tart. We wanted to create a peach version, but simply swapping fruits produced a cloying tart that was awash in juice. To make wetter, sweeter, more fragile peaches work, we had to tweak the recipe. We started by layering butter, a small amount of sugar, salt, and peaches in a cool skillet. After cooking the filling on the stovetop until the peach juice was deeply browned, we removed the skillet from the heat, slid a pie pastry disk on top, and baked it. When the crust was browned and crisp, we let the tart cool for 20 minutes before pouring off the excess juice and inverting the tart onto a platter. Reducing the juice with a bit of bourbon and then brushing the mixture back over the peaches gave this tart extra flavor and shine while supporting its cohesiveness.
|1||recipe single-crust pie dough, chilled|
|3||tablespoons unsalted butter, softened|
|½||cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar|
|2||pounds ripe but firm peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered|
|1||tablespoon bourbon (optional)|
We recommend using our Foolproof All-Butter Dough for Single-Crust Pie for this recipe. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling it. We like using firm peaches in this recipe because they are easier to peel and retain their shape when cooked; yellow peaches are also preferable to white peaches. When pouring off the liquid in step 4, the peaches may shift in the skillet; shaking the skillet will help redistribute them. Serve the tart with lightly sweetened whipped cream, if desired.
1. Invert rimmed baking sheet and place sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper on top. Roll dough into 10-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto prepared sheet. Working around circumference, fold ½ inch of dough under itself and pinch to create 9-inch round with raised rim. Cut three 2-inch slits in center of dough and refrigerate until needed.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Smear butter over bottom of 10-inch ovensafe skillet. Sprinkle ½ cup sugar over butter and shake skillet to distribute sugar in even layer. Sprinkle salt over sugar. Arrange peaches in circular pattern around edge of skillet, nestling fruit snugly. Tuck remaining peaches into center, squeezing in as much fruit as possible (it is not necessary to maintain circular pattern in center).
3. Place skillet over high heat and cook, without stirring fruit, until juice is released and turns from pink to deep amber, 8 to 12 minutes. (If necessary, adjust skillet's placement on burner to even out hot spots and encourage even browning.) Remove skillet from heat. Carefully slide prepared dough over fruit, making sure dough is centered and does not touch edge of skillet. Brush dough lightly with water and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until crust is very well browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer skillet to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 20 minutes.
4. Place inverted plate on top of crust. With 1 hand firmly securing plate, carefully tip skillet over bowl to drain juice (skillet handle may still be hot). When all juice has been transferred to bowl, return skillet to wire rack, remove plate, and shake skillet firmly to redistribute peaches. Carefully invert tart onto plate, then slide tart onto wire rack. (If peaches have shifted during unmolding, gently nudge them back into place with spoon.)
5. Pour juice into now-empty skillet (handle may be hot). Stir in bourbon, if using, and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is dark and thick and starting to smoke, 2 to 3 minutes. Return mixture to bowl and let cool until mixture is consistency of honey, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush mixture over peaches. Let tart cool for at least 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
This tart is the rare instance where perfectly ripe fruit isn't a must. In fact, we prefer firm, barely ripe peaches for the recipe because they don't require blanching to peel, and they taste just as good in the tart.
Because peaches throw out so much liquid during cooking, we had to find ways to make sure our tart didn’t end up awash in it (as in the failed test above). At the same time, we put that excess juice to good use.
Pie dough absorbs more steam than less-porous puff pastry, so the juice ends up a bit thicker.
Once the tart is baked, get rid of excess liquid by placing an inverted plate on the crust and draining off juice.
Combine the peach juice with bourbon and reduce the mixture into a thick, flavorful glaze to brush onto the peaches.