Tarte tatin is an upside down tart that is typically made with apples. Using peaches instead of apples in this classic French dessert is a great change of pace and makes this tart perfect for the summer. I used a mixture of white and yellow peaches, so you can use either type when you make your tart. The peaches do not need to be peeled before using. The peach skins will actually help add some beautiful pink/red colors to the tart and will become so tender while cooking that you won’t even notice that they’re there in the finished dish. In fact, the peaches will be so tender that they will almost melt in your mouth when you take a bite, delivering a fruity sweetness with all the richness of the caramel they were cooked in. And the buttery, crisp pastry crust is the perfect way to deliver those peaches.
You must use an oven-safe skillet to make this tart, since it is first cooked on the stovetop and then baked in the oven. I highly recommend using an 8 or 10-inch skillet, which will give your tart a nice size and shape. If you only have a 12-inch skillet (I would not go larger than that without using a lot more fruit and crust!) that is oven safe, you can still use it, but your tart will be a bit flatter than it would otherwise be. Still delicious, no matter what the exact shape, though!
This tart is best when it is still slightly warm, but it does need to cool before serving so that the caramel can set up and doesn’t run all over the place when you unmold the tart. Allow it to cool for at least 20-30 minutes after taking it out of the oven. Then, to loosen the hardened caramel before serving, put the skillet over medium heat on the stove for a few seconds (just until the tart moves when you give the pan a shake), and it will unmold easily onto your serving dish. I think that this serves six, but if you cut small slices and are generous with an ice cream accompaniment, you can easily serve 8.
Peach Tarte Tatin
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, cold and cut into a few pieces
3-4 tbsp ice water
3 tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
6-8 large peaches
1/3 cup water
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Rub in butter with you fingertips until the mixture is sandy and no pieces larger than a big pea remain. Add ice water and stir with a fork until the dough starts to come together into a ball. If dough is too sticky, add a little extra flour. If dough is too dry to come together easily, add a little extra water. This can also be done in the food processor.
Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap or a small plastic bag and flatten into a disc. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut peaches into quarters, removing the pits. They do not need to be peeled.
In an 8 or 10-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add sugar, lemon juice and vanilla to melted butter and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture just barely begins to caramelize (mostly white with a little brown at the edges)
Arrange peaches skin-side down in the skillet. When you have a layer of peaches in the pan, arrange other peach slices to fill in the gaps. The peaches will shrink slightly as they cook, so it is ok if the pan seems very full. Cook until sugar begins to turn a dark amber – about 3-4 minutes.
Pour water in to the pan to stop the caramelization and continue to cook until peaches are tender and all the water has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Caramel will be thick and bubbling when it is done.
Meanwhile, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to cover the fruit in the skillet (8-10 inches)
When fruit is cooked, transfer pastry onto the fruit and cut a few air vents in it with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until pastry is golden brown.
Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before serving. Place pan on the stove over medium heat for 10-20 seconds to loosen caramel before unmolding.