Thunder Storms

Peach and Blueberry TartBy popular demand, I should be writing about Sweet Potato Brussels Sprout Hash. I should. And, I will. But you’ll have to wait until next week. I only have an hour and a half. It’s an hour and a half that falls during the Seahawks game because that’s when I could fit it in. That’s when I had time, right between the should be touchdowns and would be beers. (This has been a very sober full-contact event. But, there’s an amazing thunder and lightening storm happening. The last flash-boom was only two Mississippi apart, which makes angry Mother Nature pretty darn close.

I can’t help but wonder why people say thunder and lightening, when lighting comes first? Anyway, somewhere amongst the roaring, pouring clouds, Gavey, my grandma, is hooting and hollering. If she were here, the hooting and hollering would be interrupted with grunting as she moved the furniture from the windows and lit a fire. She’d turn out all the lights, throw sleeping bags on the floor, and tell me to close my damn computer and join the party.

Tart with blueberries and peaches

See, Gavey had this old house on Mercer Island – a very affluent city in the Seattle area. It was tucked among the much bigger shacks. Its original ‘50s wood siding and open-air carport stood proudly as a testament to simpler times. But the star of this show was the windows – windows which had long since been outlawed in new construction. These floor-to-ceiling babies ran the entire length of her front room.

In my practical, penny-pinching adulthood, I can’t help but think about those windows and how much they must have made her heating bill skyrocket. Then again, electricity wasn’t as much in those days and that view – oh that view was worth it.

Gavey would have loved this thunder and lightening storm. She would have laughed at the sky as it lit up. She would have been almost as excited about it as she would be about this peach and blueberry tart, the one that is cooling – not fast enough – on the counter just a few feet away.

Peach and Blueberry Tart Slices

She would have viewed this tart with a cloyingly satisfied eye, knowing the leftovers would be perfect for breakfast, as all fruit based desserts are. It’s one of the rules she taught me early in life. It’s a good rule. It’s one I love to follow – regularly. 

(Sadly, my cooling tart was a disaster. I tried to make it from memory. This was my third time making a version of it (the previous two versions were with apples and blueberries not peaches and blueberries) and I thought I’d be fine. I wasn’t. I missed several steps. And so, I made it again and ate tart for lunch because lunch is close to breakfast and close to dessert and the tart has fruit and Gavey would approve – as I’m sure you do too. All of that’s to say, the tart pictured here is the last one – the good one – the one that made me cuddle up with a big plate and a fork until every last bite was gone.)

Peach and Blueberry Tart
Serves 6
Closely adapted from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen’s Free-Form Apple Tart

I first made this recipe in preparation for the bachelorette party of one of my best friend’s (more to come on that in a future post). Follow the steps people. Follow the steps.

Rustic Tart Dough
10 TBS unsalted butter (1¼ sticks), cold
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
½ tsp salt
4 – 6 TBS ice water

Using a cheese grater, shred butter onto a plate and return to refrigerator to chill (at least five minutes).

In a processor, combine flour and salt, processing briefly to combine. Scatter chilled shredded butter over the top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, roughly 15 pulses.

With machine running, add water 1 TBS at a time, processing until the dough becomes curd like.

On a lightly floured work surface, turn out crumbs. Using the heel of your hand, smear small amounts of the dough against the surface, bringing it together until all the crumbs have come together. Work the dough over once more with the heel of your hand. Flatten into a 6-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch disc between two sheets of floured parchment paper. Slide the dough – still between the parchment paper – onto a large baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

1 pound peaches, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
½ pound blueberries
¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling.

Preheat oven to 375. Remove top sheet of parchment paper from the dough. Toss peaches and blueberries in sugar. Stack peach slices in a circular wall, leaving a 2½-inch border around the edge. Fill the middle of the tart with remaining peaches and blueberries.

Being careful to leave a ½-inch border around the dough, fold the outermost 2 inches of dough over the fruit, pleating it every 2 to 3 inches as needed. 

Brush dough with water. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for one hour until crust is golden brown. Cool tart for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool for another 25 minutes.

About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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