Friday, October 5, 2012

Peach and Butterscotch Tart

The aforementioned peaches were still all over the house so for a dinner party one evening I decided to take along a peach tart.

Now I know pastry can seem scary and difficult (I used to think so) but a basic shortcrust pastry isn't. And I'm going to go ahead and encourage you to use a food processor to make it.

Our Pakistani summers are long and very hot so for most  of the year making pastry by hand just doesn't work. The butter, which is supposed to be cold, starts to soften and liquefy within seconds and the heat from your hands doesn't help when you begin to rub the butter into the flour. I have a lot of trouble rolling it out too in this kind of weather. You're supposed to chill the pastry to allow it to rest and to make it easier to roll out. But there's no point because the second it's out of the fridge it becomes incredibly difficult to handle.

Which leads my to my second unorthodox suggestion; don't roll out the pastry. Just press it into the tin or pie plate the way you would a cheesecake base. It is better to roll it out so the pastry's the same thickness and all, but if you, for whatever reason, can't do that, pressing it into your pan will suffice for a tart.

When the weather is cooler I will do a post about making pastry by hand and we'll do it all properly and roll it out and everything, but for now let's just take the easy way out. (It's okay to do that sometimes.)

This simple peach tart is elevated to a whole new level of delicious with a butterscotch filling in the gaps left between the fruit and makes for an excellent dessert served with a drizzle of cream.


1½ cups flour
2 tablespoons icing sugar
4 oz (½ cup) butter
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

6 peaches, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour/cornstarch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg

Butterscotch filling
2 oz butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup cream 

  1. To make the pastry, add the flour, icing sugar and butter to a food processor and pulse about three times, a few seconds each time, until the butter has been cut up and the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. It's okay if there are still bits of butter visible but these pieces shouldn't be larger than the size of a pea.
  2. With the processor running, add one 2 tablespoons of water, one by one. The dough should start to clump together, the mixture wont form one ball of dough but will form larger clumps. If not, add another tablespoon of water, but you really shouldn't need more water than that. 
  3. Remove this mixture from the processor and press together in your hands to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180⁰C (350⁰F).
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the pastry from the fridge and knead lightly to soften. Place the pastry dough in a 9-inch tart tin or pie plate (I used a tart tin with a removable base) and press evenly into the tin/plate, starting with the base and working up the sides. 
  6. Add the peaches to a large bowl. Add in the brown sugar, caster sugar, cornflour, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss lightly to coat the fruit.
  7. Arrange the peaches in the pastry crust. There should be gaps between the fruit and the peaches will shrink a bit while baking, which is fine because we need space for the butterscotch filling.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the pastry is a light golden brown.
  9. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  10. When the tart has cooled, make the butterscotch filling by melting together the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar has dissolved, add the cream and stir to mix (the mixture will bubble up). Turn the heat down to low and let the sauce cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  11. Let the butterscotch filling cool a bit, it shouldn't be very hot but it shouldn't be allowed to cool to much, because it will thicken.
  12. When the filling is still warm ,drizzle in or drop teaspoons into the gaps in the pastry crust between the peaches, until no gaps remain. Drizzle some of the sauce on top of the peaches and leave the tart to cool again.
  13. Serve with single cream.

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