I adore flat peaches.
As I’ve written before, they’re also known as doughnut peaches, saturn peaches and even UFO peaches, because of their flattened disc-like shape. Usually they’re superbly sweet and impossible to eat without dribbling copious sticky juice down chin and arms. In recent years, I’ve found them easier than ever to find; my local grocery shops usually sell them very cheaply throughout their season. I also buy flat nectarines, which are the same fruit but with smooth rather than furry skins.
I’ve been wanting to make a Tarte Tatin for years. Traditionally made with apples, this French sweet is an upside down caramelised fruit tart made by making caramel in a heavy based pan, adding the fruit over the caramel, covering with pastry and then transferring to the oven to bake. It’s flipped back over to serve.
I finally decided to give the technique a go after buying a large bowl of giant flat nectarines that were so ripe I knew they wouldn’t last long. As is my usual won’t, I read a frankly ridiculous number of recipes on the web, decided on the general approach I liked best and then winged it to make my own version. Even traditionalists seem undecided between shortcrust and flaky pastry. I went for the latter.
The result was so good I made it again the weekend after, using smaller flat peaches the second time around. On the second occasion, I decided to see what happened if I made more caramel but found the result too liquidy – I think it essentially poached the peaches rather than baking them and didn’t allow the butter and sugar to thicken further during baking. So I’m giving you the recipe with the amounts I used the first time, which created a thicker, stickier caramel.
Upside Down Caramelised Flat Peach Tart aka Flat Peach Tarte Tatin
3-6 ripe flat peaches or nectarines, depending on size
60 grams salted butter
100 grams sugar
1 roll ready made puff pastry
Optional: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 180 C (fan).
- Wash the peaches, half them horizontally and carefully scoop or cut out the stone.
- If you’re adding the cinnamon, mix it thoroughly into the sugar.
- In a large, heavy-based, oven-proof frying pan melt the butter, then sprinkle the sugar evenly across the pan.
- Once the sugar has melted and the mixture starts to brown a little, add the flat peaches, cut-side down.
- If your peaches are a little hard, you may want to cook them in the caramel for a few minutes; I bought mine soft and ripe, so they cooked only as long as it took me to get the pastry out of the fridge and cut it.
- Cut a square from the puff pastry sheet and lay it over the peaches. Use a knife to cut the pastry corners away and tuck the edges down around the fruit.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Shake the pan to see if the tart will come away from the base. If not, heat the pan for 10 seconds on the hob to melt the surface of the caramel and try again.
- Place a large plate over the pan, grasp both together and flip over. My tarts (and all the fruit pieces) came away cleanly from the pan both times.
- Serve hot or cold with vanilla ice cream, custard or cream.
I also want to tell you about a new business that got in touch with me recently to ask if I’d like to try their products. Cinnamon Hill import fresh cinnamon from Sri Lanka and Vietnam; true cinnamon from the former and cassia bark from the latter. They also sell a cinnamon grater with a specially designed metal grate and gorgeous oak handle; it comes with a pretty hand-made ceramic cup in which to store it. The grater worked very well indeed and the cinnamon was certainly intensely fragrant and had a lovely flavour. It does come at a price though, at £12 and £8 respectively for just 5 sticks of Sri Lankan or Vietnamese cinnamon and £50 for the grater (which includes £20 of cinnamon).
Kavey Eats received product samples from Cinnamon Hill.