For some reason, I’m extra-impatient for stone fruit season this year. Maybe it’s all the news of the drought; maybe I’ve just burned myself out snacking on apples all winter. But somehow, I’ve convinced myself that the peaches and plums and nectarines will be extra-delicious and extra-hard to get my fill of this year. So I’m missing them terribly.
But try as I might, I can’t make peaches appear at the markets out of sheer willpower. So when, a couple weeks ago, my friends and I started craving a warm fruit tart, we had to improvise a little. Fortunately, we were able to get our hands on some truly phenomenal dried peaches and nectarines. I could have tried simmering them in water to soften them up for baking, but then I had another idea. What if I cut up the fruit and soaked it in Amaretto for a while? Would that make them suitable for piling into a tart?
The answer, I’m happy to say, is a (qualified) yes. The peaches soaked up the sugary liqueur, taking on an intense sweet almond perfume. Just eating pieces out of the bowl was enough to make our eyes roll back in our heads. The fruit didn’t soften quite as much as I’d hoped, making the tart a little difficult to slice, and the exposed edges singed a bit in the heat of the oven. But really, given how improvised this was, those are small and mean quibbles. The combination of squishy, boozy fruit and crumbly pastry was incredibly satisfying, and Sam said he thought the burned bits on the fruit were the best part, since they cut the sweetness with a bit of caramel-bitterness.
Is this ever going to replace a juicy, in-season peach tart? No, but it’s incredibly delicious in its own right. It’s a decidedly grown-up dessert, elegant and boozy without being too fussy. And as something easy and slapdash–the kind of thing you can rustle up from the pantry in a couple of hours and serve to a crowd–it’s mighty fine. I don’t even think you need whipped cream or ice cream here. Let the fruit and the liqueur do the talking.
Dried Peach and Amaretto Galette (serves 6-8)
Adapted loosely from this recipe
10 oz (about 2 cups) chopped dried peaches or nectarines
1/2 cup Amaretto, or enough to generously moisten the fruit
1 Rye Pie Crust, refrigerated for at least 30 minutes
1 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp granulated sugar or raw (turbinado) sugar
In a medium bowl, combine peaches or nectarines and Amaretto. Toss to combine, then let the fruit soak, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes, or until it’s malleable but still cold. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll it into a rough circle about 14 inches across and 1/8 inch thick. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then transfer the rolled dough to the baking sheet. Return the dough to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
Preheat the oven to 400º F, and place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge. Sprinkle 1 tbsp all-purpose flour evenly over the dough, leaving a border about 2 inches wide all the way around. Arrange the soaked fruit on top of the flour, making sure the pieces are laid out in an even layer.
Take an edge of the 2-inch exposed border of dough, and fold it up and over the fruit. Rotate the tart and fold the border over again, crimping it gently so it sticks to itself. Repeat this process, turning the tart and folding the dough over at regular intervals, until the dough is folded up over the fruit all the way around. If the dough breaks or cracks, use your fingertips to press it back together.
Once the crust is folded over, brush the exposed edge with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the galette for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. It’s fine if the exposed fruit on top browns a bit; if it looks like it’s starting to burn, cover the center of the tart loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.
Remove the tart from the oven and use a spatula to slide it onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to slice into wedges (the dried fruit may put up a little resistance, so be firm with it). Serve warm.