Winner's (and Loser's) Q&A

September  8, 2011

Congratulations to Amanda, whose Peach Tart won the A&M Summer Smackdown! And Merrill may have lost, but she still gets a Q&A for being a good sport (read on below).

Amanda  Peach Tart

Winner's Q&A with Amanda

  • Merrill has won the past two A&M smackdowns. How does it feel to finally win?
  • Not sure how Merrill has handled this much glory, so often. 


  • Anyone or anything you'd like to thank for your victory?
  • I'd like to thank my mother, who lets me rip off her recipes. She is The Giving Tree of recipes.



  • What's the best thing you've cooked recently?
  • This tart. All downhill from here.


  • What do you hope the next smackdown will be?
  • Anything but Merrill's sweet spot: creme fraiche.


Shop the Story

Merrill  Fresh Peach Tartlets

Loser's Q&A with Merrill

  • How does it feel to finally lose?
  • It feels terrible!


  • Anyone or anything you'd like to blame for your defeat?
  • I'd like to blame Amanda's mother for passing on such a darned good tart recipe. Even my own family turned on me when they tasted Amanda's tart.


  • In the interest of good sportsmanship: what is your all-time favorite recipe of Amanda's?
  • This peach tart may just be it! But her Chocolate Dump-It Cake is also not to be missed.


  • What is the best thing you've cooked recently?
  • Amanda's peach tart! Aside from that, I recently made the Genius Sticky Balsamic Ribs for the second time this month -- they're just amazing.


  • What do you hope the next smackdown will be?
  • Something involving lots of dairy products -- I'm good with those.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • ChefJune
  • nan8LT
  • Inko
  • rapearson
  • bvrlybest
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


ChefJune September 14, 2011
I didn't make Merrill's entry this time, but Amanda's is a super-keeper. I've been ORDERED to make it again and again. And the crust alone is worth the money.
nan8LT September 14, 2011
My trial was terrible. Peaches weren't ripe enough so I tried to add sugar later and it got soupy and the crust was too thin and too salty....But I bought a pan, so I'll have to try again. But taking the skins off was easy. Next time I'll try just scoring them.
Inko September 14, 2011
Amanda's recipe was flexible. First I made the peach tart. Yum - easy and beautiful. Then I made another the next day using different fruit: a layer of one grated apple then a layer of blackberries on the top. I used substituted some of the sugar with brown sugar and added cinnamon to the topping. Pretty and tasty. Thanks for the recipe.
rapearson September 14, 2011
I enjoyed both tart and tartlet recipes. I managed to prepare and try them both in the nick of time for voting. A few days later, faced with a lot of leftover mascarpone, I made a hybrid tart using Merrill's topping and a tart shell that I think is the best of both worlds. It used almond flour from Merrill's recipe, but using Amanda's preparation method as well as the oil/extract. Yummm.
bvrlybest September 14, 2011
I made the peach tart and I didn't think it was that great. Maybe my peaches were too ripe and juicy (I paid $14.50 for 6 peaches at the SF FM so I was going to use them!) so the crust was on the soggy side. I put the 2 T of flour in but the juice still went over the side. It looked great though. I think I prefer a pie with a butter crust.
cathyheck September 14, 2011
I love everything about Food 52, even a smackdown Q&A! A little smile to start the day.
BlueKaleRoad September 14, 2011
I'm giggling, love your Q&As, Amanda and Merrill!
Tamio888 September 14, 2011
Merrill, baby... it looked good, but, you lost me at 'tartlets'. I went the other way....
TiggyBee September 9, 2011
Panfusine September 9, 2011
Congratulations Amanda.. (your recipe had my vote) Merrill, Haven't yet had a chance to see your previous smackdown winners, congratulations on a wonderful finalist recipe. (disclaimer: my vote is usually always for the egg free candidate in the dessert category!)
Fairmount_market September 8, 2011
Congratulations to Amanda, and I'm so glad that you included Merrill in the Q&A: a very gracious looser. I can't wait for the next smack down. How about dried beans?
boulangere September 8, 2011
EmilyC September 8, 2011
Congrats, Amanda! That Merrill is pretty stiff competition. And I don't know how I've gone this long without making that Applesauce Cake and Chocolate Dump-It Cake. I have a feeling I'm going to be baking a lot over the next few weeks.
Bevi September 8, 2011
Congrats Amanda! This is turning into quite the horse race now.
hardlikearmour September 8, 2011
Congrats, Amanda! It even seems Merrill thinks your win was well-deserved! Can't wait to see what the next smack-down will bring.