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Author Notes: While I love vacation, there are a few allowances I have to make cooking-wise when away from my own kitchen for two weeks. All I need is my chef's knife and a pair of tongs to jumpstart savory meals —dessert is another story. There are no handheld mixers, let alone the 1000 watt stand mixer I normally use. Same goes for the food processor.
So a few weeks ago I decided to experiment with free form tarts. Besides, who wants to worry about the perfect piecrust on vacation? An old-fashioned pastry blender did the job of cutting in the butter, but truth be told, even using your fingertips to work it in was fine. Yes, I was worried too about the butter getting to soft, but a quick chill in the fridge and all was fine. There's also just enough sugar to compliment, not hide, the fruits' natural sweetness. —Jennifer Perillo
Serves 6 to 8
For the pastry dough:
ounces cold butter, cut into pieces
tablespoons ice cold water
For the fruit filling:
peaches, peeled and sliced (see note)
tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- Place a rimmed baking sheet onto the center rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 400º.
- To make the pastry dough, add the flour, salt and sugar to a deep bowl; whisk to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over flour mixture and use a pastry blender, two butter knives or your fingers to cut in the butter (this can alternately be done in a food processor). Sprinkle the cold water over the butter-flour mixture and stir with a fork until the dough forms a rough ball. Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll the dough out into a 16-inch circle. Scatter the fruit over the dough, leaving a 4-inch border. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and dot with the pieces of remaining butter. Fold the dough border up and over to cover the fruit, forming a crust. Leaving the tart on the parchment paper, place it on the heated baking sheet. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until pastry is a deep golden and the fruit is bubbling in the center. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.