I grew up in Petaluma, a small town in Sonoma county before Sonoma and neighboring counties embraced the monoculture of the grape. Sure, there are still lots of apples, berries, pears and peaches, but not nearly as many.Then, we didn't have to go very far to find an orchard or berry farm to buy fresh fruit. In the Napa valley in the midst of an ocean of grapevines is a little two acre plot where Dr Wendell Dinwiddie has been growing peaches for almost 20 years. I remember being amazed when he planted those fruit trees in grape country! He planted the varieties of peaches sequentially so a new variety ripens perfectly about every two weeks all summer.There are 8 varieties. I have been making a version of this tart for many years. It marries my favorite flavors of ripe peaches and almonds. The pistachios give the tart a little crunch and a pop of green.The juices of the peaches saturate the crust , giving the tart bottom crust a soft texture full of juice. . (***Note: Some varieties of peaches ripen about the same time , so unfortunately we do not have 4 months of uninterrupted peaches!) —dymnyno
Almond Tart Crust
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup flour
1 cup almond meal plus 2 tablespoons for tossing with the peaches
1 tablespoon almond extract
pinch of salt
Peaches and Topping
4 or 5 large freestone peaches (I used Fay Elberta)
Mix all the crust ingredients. Press the mixture up the sides and over the bottom of the tart pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool a bit. I used a tart pan with a removable bottom. Blind baking makes the crust easier to fill.
Peel and slice the peaches into thick slices. I always use "freestone" peaches because they can easily be freed from the pit. "Cling" peaches really cling to the pit which can be really messy. (this I know from experience!) Put the peach slices in a colander and let drain for about 30 minutes. Then if you like a more dense filling, toss the peaches in a couple tablespoons of almond meal/flour.
Arrange the peaches in a circle around and spiraling until the entire surface is filled with peach slices.
To make the topping mix the butter, sugar, egg yolks, pistachios, lemon zest and grated ginger together. Keep blending the mixture (I use my hands) until all the butter in incorporated.
Evenly spread the topping over all the peaches. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. (I preheat a rimmed sheet pan and put the tart on the pan in case dripping of fruit juice occurs) The bottom crust will absorb a little peach juice.The topping will become custard like. If you like,serve with whipped cream(but not necessary).