The recipe is neither traditional nor canonical, but an invention of mine inspired by the buttery apple pas- tries at our local café that are a particular favourite with every member of our family. They really do taste their best when freshly baked and still warm from the oven, and since they call for admittedly (very) little forethought and some time, I reserve making them for weekends, when mornings tend to get off to a slower start. I think they do just as well as dessert, too, served with a pitcher of cream on the side to drizzle over. The pinch of saffron is entirely optional, though to my mind peach and saffron is a match made in heaven.
- 3 tablespoons / 60g peach jam
- Scant teaspoon saffron threads
- 4 to 5 small peaches
- 1 sheet (½ a 17-ounce package) / 1 (320g) package prepared puff pastry, thawed if frozen
- 3 tablespoons / 45ml heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon the jam into a small saucepan (if the jam is very chunky, you can press it through a sieve first, if you want a smoother texture), add the saffron, and set over low heat until it begins to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
- Cut the peaches in half, discard the stones, then finely slice the fruit into half-moon slivers. These can be as chunky or as fine as you like.
- Unfold and lay the puff pastry sheet on a clean, cool surface and use a sharp knife to cut it into 4 strips equal in size. Gently place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between each one so that when they puff up in the oven they don’t stick together.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of the cream into the saucepan of jam and stir until smooth. Then use the back of the spoon to spread the mixture evenly over each pastry, leaving a 1⁄2-inch margin all around the edges. Arrange the peach slices tightly over the jam so that they fit snugly and overlap. Take a sharp knife and cut a little slit (roughly 1⁄2 inch or 1cm) at each corner of the tarts, from the edge of the fruit to the very edge of the pastry. Then fold the corners in toward the center, pressing gently down where the pastry edges meet, so they stick together.
- Crack the egg into a small cup, add the remaining 1 tablespoon cream, and whisk vigorously with a fork. Use a pastry brush to lightly glaze the edges of the pastry.
- Set the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastries have puffed up and browned nicely, and the fruit looks tender to eat. The pastries are best eaten on the day of baking, while the fruit is still delicious and plump and before they become soggy.
Recipe shared with permission from Penguin Random House.