Last weekend I was looking for an easy dessert that I could bring to a picnic. When I realized that I had a lot of fruit from my CSA, I decided to make a tart. Usually I go for a classic French presentation where I use a tart pan and carefully arrange uniform fruit slices. It is pretty for sure, but it’s also time-consuming and difficult when using fruit of various sizes together.
After an inspiring long weekend in San Francisco a few weeks ago where I visited the Frog Hollow Farm bakery at the Ferry Building market for a daily fruit tart breakfast, I decided to try something similar at home. In their version they use a type of puff pastry with seasonal fruit from their orchards. I always try to make my own pastry crust from scratch but puff was out of the question (again, way too labor-intensive) and also I prefer something with a little more crunch.
In the end, I adapted a “galette” recipe from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert, a cookbook I’ve been baking from for a while now. Galette is somewhat of a misnomer by the way – in French a galette designates a round flat cake, with galette des rois being a typical example, as well as galettes bretonnes, the buttery cookies from Brittany. In the US however this term is use to designate rustic tarts. Terminology aside, what it is is a fruit tart made without a tart pan with a free-form pastry dough and folded sides.
I made the dough* with a stand mixer, let it rest for 30 minutes in the fridge and used half to make my first tart. When you don’t need to make a perfect circle the process very fast. I rolled the dough directly on a piece of parchment paper so it would not stick and would be easily transferrable to the half sheet pan that I use in the oven.
Then I arranged the fruit slices into a single layer before folding the edges and sprinkling with a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar.
This was a peach tart and I also made a nectarine–apricot tart with the other half of the dough. I find that apricots, even imperfect ones, are especially delicious when baked.
The tart is baked for about an hour in a 375F oven until the top starts to brown. My daughter was convinced that I had used jam for the topping and she was almost right – with the sugar and fruit mixture you create jam in situ. At the end you get a nice crispy crust with the caramelized fruit.
(*) Here are the ingredients for the pastry dough (1 tart): 210 g flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 115 g unsalted butter, 6 tablespoons water.