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Peach-Pistachio Tart

Bright yellow peaches and grassy-green pistachios make this tart a pretty thing indeed.Recipe Image

There are a lot of reasons to love summer in New York City, not least among them the abundance of perfectly ripe peaches at the fruit cart right below my apartment. At two for a dollar, I had no excuse not to make tart this three times in the span of as many weeks. After all, it combines so many of my favorite things: Fresh peaches! Roasted pistachios! Buttery tart crust that actually doesn’t shrink! And of course, there’s the fact that it looks like a bright yellow flower blooming on a field of pistachios. 

I’m late to the game with this recipe–peaches have only just disappeared from the fruit cart–but you can bet that as soon as they’re back, this tart will be, too.

Steps

Serves

8

Total Time

3 hr

Active Time

1.5 hr

Tart Crust

(adapted from David Lebovitz)
  1. Preheat the oven to 410º F / 210º C. Grease a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom with butter or baking spray.
  2. Add the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt (not the flour!) to a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex. Mix slightly with a fork. The mixture will be lumpy and not at all homogenous; this is expected.
  3. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour.
  4. Place the bowl with the butter in the oven. Bake until the butter bubbles and starts to brown on the edges, 10-20 minutes. Keep a close eye on the oven during this time.
  5. When you see specks of brown around the edges of the bowl, carefully remove the bowl from the oven. Quickly dump in the flour and stir until the mixture forms a uniform ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Using a spoon, scoop out a 1-inch ball of dough and set it aside for step 8. Press the remaining dough into the greased tart pan using a silicone spatula or your hands. The crust will be pretty thin. Once the dough has cooled sufficiently, use your thumb to press it up the sides to a height of about 1 inch. 
  7. Using a fork, make prick marks all over the bottom of the crust.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom and sides (a browned crust is a flavorful crust!).
  9. Take the tart out of the oven. Don’t be alarmed if there are cracks–that’s what the reserved dough is for. Pinch small amounts of dough between your fingers and reinforce the cracks. It’s fine if you don’t have enough to patch it up entirely, as the filling is dense and won’t leak.
  10. Allow the crust to cool to room temperature before filling. If necessary, you can speed up this process by transferring it to the fridge or freezer.

Pistachio Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  2. Pulse the pistachios, flour, and sugar in a food processor until they reach the texture of coarse sand. Add the cubed butter and continue pulsing until combined. Finally, add the egg and continue running the machine until incorporated. If you’d like a greener filling, add a drop of green food coloring and continue pulsing until uniform. Spread filling evenly across the base of the cooled tart crust.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut the peaches into quarters, then into 1/8” (3mm) slices. Overlap the slices on top of the pistachio filling to create a large ring around the very edge of the tart, flush with the crust. Repeat with a smaller ring in the middle of the tart, leaving a 1-2” gap between the rings. Finally, take a few very thin slices and nestle them together in the center, peel-side up, to form a flower shape, as in the photo below.
  4. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the pistachio filling comes out clean.
  5. Move the tart pan to a rack and cool to room temperature. If you’d like, you can speed this up in the fridge or freezer. If not serving immediately, cover the pan with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge for up to 3 days, or to the freezer for longer storage (see tips). 
  6. When you’re ready to eat, squeeze the yuzu or lemon juice into a bowl, then brush over the filling for a final burst of brightness. Gently push the tart up out of the pan and cut into slices using a serrated knife. For an extra flourish, serve à la mode with a scoop of honey or pistachio gelato.
  1. A natural alternative to food coloring: Naturally, the pistachio filling will be more brown than green. If you’d like a greener filling but don’t want to use food coloring, blanch the pistachios in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cool water until room temperature, then remove the skins from the pistachios by squeezing them between your fingers. The more skins you remove, the greener your filling will be. 
  2. Freeze it: This tart freezes surprisingly well, making it a great dessert to stash away for a rainy day. Simply slice the tart and transfer the individual slices to a freezer-safe tupperware. Defrost in the fridge or at room temperature and brush with yuzu just before serving, as the flavor of citrus juice dissipates with time.
  3. Pistachio shopping tips: In the spirit of laziness, I always buy my pistachios shelled. My local Costco sells large bags of shelled pistachios for a very reasonable price, but I’ve heard that Trader Joe’s has them, too. If your pistachios are unsalted, add an extra 1/4 tsp of salt into the filling to compensate.
  4. Do I really need yuzu? Lemon will do in a pinch, but I urge you to get yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit), if you can. It’s almost passè these days, but its distinct flavor is really lovely in this tart. When in season, fresh yuzu fruit can be found at Japanese grocery stores. Failing that, bottled yuzu juice is available year-round at grocery stores and on Amazon.

Condensed Milk Bread

Soft, pillowy milk bread infused with a decadent layer of condensed milk.

This might damage my foodie credit, but I’ve never seen the appeal of crusty breads. Loaf of sourdough so crusty that it seems designed to scrape off the top layer of your mouth? Pass. No, to me, bread heaven is made of giant mounds of fluffy, pillowy milk bread, the type that sighs softly when you bite into it. Layer in sweet ribbons of condensed milk, and you get this bread.

A little backstory: I first stumbled across this recipe on the now-defunct blog Mimi Bakery House. I remember the instructions being hard to follow, but the results were so good I didn’t care. Month after month, I came back to the recipe, and like all good relationships, I assumed it would always be there for me. When all of a sudden the blog shut down, I have to admit I panicked a little. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find the original. Thankfully, several other blogs had adapted the original recipe, confusing instructions and all. I hope you’ll find this one less confusing and well worth the trouble.


Steps

Serves

6

Total Time

3 hr

Active Time

1 hr

BREAD

(adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour, sea salt, sugar, and yeast. Mix on low speed to combine, then add the milk, condensed milk, and butter. Mix again until the dough comes together.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth, elastic, and springs back when pressed with a finger. Once the gluten is sufficiently developed, the dough should pass the windowpane test. The time this takes will vary depending on your particular mixer and dough. If you’re unsure, start by mixing for 8 minutes, then continue in 5-minute increments as needed. 
  3. Scoop the dough out from the bowl and knead on the countertop a few times to form a smooth ball. Add a few drops of neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola, to the bottom of the bowl and place the dough ball back inside. Rotate the ball so it’s thinly coated with oil all over, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Both the oil and the wrap help prevent the dough from drying out.
  4. With the heat off, adjust a rack to the middle of your oven. Place a cake or loaf pan in the bottom of the oven and pour in 3 cups of boiling water. Next, place the bowl with the dough on the middle rack. Proof for 30-60 minutes, until the dough is roughly doubled in size. (The boiling water both warms the oven and adds humidity, which creates the ideal conditions for yeast activity.)
  5. Once the dough is proofed, remove the dough bowl from the oven, leaving the pan. Take out the dough, lightly flour your countertop, and gently stretch it into an 8”x12” rectangle. The dough should be soft and supple, stretching to fit the shape relatively easily. Don’t worry if the dough is a bit uneven in thickness–it’ll all work out in the oven.
  6. Cut the dough into four 2”x12” strips with a bench scraper or chef’s knife. Mix the filling ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon, then gently spoon half of the filling onto one strip. Top with another strip, like a long sandwich. Repeat with the remaining two strips, so you have two dough sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into 8 pieces, so you have 16 total.
  7. Grease the chiffon cake pan with baking spray or butter, then array the 16 mini-sandwiches around the pan, overlapping slightly. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and return to the middle rack of the oven to proof for another 20-30 minutes, or until doubled in size again.
  8. Remove both the chiffon and the loaf pan from the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 325°F with convection). Brush the bread with the egg wash and top with sliced almonds. Once the oven is fully preheated, bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  9. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Using a knife, loosen the bread from the edges of the pan. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve.
  1. No tube pan?: If you don’t have a chiffon or other tube pan, you can fake the ring shape by using a cake or springform pan with a muffin liner in the middle. The exact dimensions don’t matter too much–the bread won’t be as tall in a 8 or 9” pan, but it’ll still be delicious. If you don’t care about the shape, a 6” springform or loaf pan will work nicely, too.
  2. No stand mixer? If you plan to do a lot of baking, I really recommend getting one, especially for a sticky dough like this. But if you insist on kneading by hand, when the directions say to use the dough hook, knead on a countertop for 20-30 minutes, until your dough passes the windowpane test. 
  3. Bread identity crisis: If you, too, opened your bag of bread flour only to find tiny bugs inside (the horror!), you can swap in all-purpose flour. The texture will be a bit less chewy and more cakey, but no less delicious.