Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stone Fruit Tart

I have only been to San Francisco once and would absolutely love to go again! Two summers ago, I went there with my girlfriends, Heidi and Kaelee. We had a blast! During the wee hours of the morning, I roamed the quiet streets, welcomed the cold air, and the grey morning skies. It was a big temperature difference from the desert summers of Eastern Washington and the chilly mornings felt good. Those walks led me to La Boulange every day during our stay. The smell of butter, sugar, flour, and chocolate lured me into their door and just like that, I was in love. As a souvenir, I bought the bakery owner’s cookbook: The American Boulangerie by Pascal Rigo.

In honor of my love for Pascal Rigo’s bakery, it has been my ritual to make his sweet tart dough every summer or fall with different toppings each time: pears, apples, berries, pumpkin, or lemon. Fruit tarts are great! Once you find the right crust, there are endless choices for toppings… the best among all is to use whatever is in season. Freshly picked fruit tastes so good already that there really is no need to mess with it by dousing it with sugar and whatever else to mask its delicate flavor. Just let it be!   

Last week, we had our friends, Jo, Ros, and Ken over for a mid-week dinner get together. Nothing fancy was served, just some chili, homemade corn bread, and of course, a simple fruit tart for dessert. DFJ was in charge of the chili and I was in charge of the baking. We have a good partnership going, he and I.  

Even though we did not have any all-purpose flour on hand (I bid goodbye to all-purpose flour a while ago), I was determined to make a fruit tart. And then, even after I realized we were out of whole wheat flour, I still wanted to make a fruit tart. So, I pulled out my stock of spelt flour and placed my whole-hearted trust in my go-to pâte sucrée or sweet tart dough recipe from The American Boulangerie. For the first time, I tweaked Pascal Rigo’s original recipe by using spelt flour, adding lemon zest, an extra tablespoon of butter, and using half a cup less sugar.

What a pleasant surprise it was to find out that my spelt flour based sweet tart dough turned out wonderful! It resulted in a heavier crust that was both hearty and nutty, with just a touch of sweetness and a subtle citrusy aroma. The dense tart crust went well with the sweet and juicy peach, nectarine, apricot, and blackberry topping.

There is indeed beauty in simplicity! This rustic tart makes for a lovely desert after a day in the sun… every bite is full of summer’s promise.  

Stone Fruit Tart
Adapted from Pascal Rigo's Pâte Sucrée, The American Boulangerie 

Tart (makes 2 tart crusts)

10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
zest of a small lemon
1/2 tsp salt
2 and 1/2 cups spelt flour
2 large eggs, beaten


1 fresh peach, sliced thin (peeled)
1 fresh nectarine, sliced thin (unpeeled)
1 fresh apricot, sliced thin (unpeeled)
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp granulated sugar

a tad of butter to grease tart pan

Place butter in a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk in the lemon zest into the sugar. Move the lemon sugar into the butter bowl.

Using a hand held electric mixer on low, cream the butter and sugar. When the mixture is smooth and creamy, add the flour a half cup at a time and keep mixing on low until the texture resembles sand granules.

Pour the beaten eggs into the sandy mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together and you can't mix anymore. Use a rubber spatula to help the dough come together into a ball. Divide the dough in half and form each into half inch flat disks.

Cover each disk with plastic food wrap and allow it to firm up in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This is a necessary step, otherwise your dough will fall apart. NOTE: If you're only making one tart, you may keep the other dough refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to a month. If you freeze the dough, make sure to let it thaw in the refrigerator before handling it.

In the meantime, prepare the fruit topping. Slice apricot, peach, and nectarine. Place the stone fruit slices and blackberries in a large glass bowl. Pour lemon juice into the fruit and gently mix together with a rubber spatula. Let sit until the dough has firmed up.

Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease the tart pan with butter thoroughly.

Move the dough onto a clean and lightly floured surface. With the use of a rolling pin, roll the dough into a bigger circle, about 10 inches in diameter. Carefully fold the dough in half and very carefully move onto the tart pan. Gently unfold the dough and settle it evenly on the pan, pressing the dough up to the sides of the tart pan. If the dough has cracks or breaks apart, no biggie, just massage it back together.

When the dough is set up in the pan, arrange the fruit mixture on top. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Lower the temperature down to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and move the tart pan to cool on a wire rack. When the tart has cooled down, remove the sides from the pan and very carefully slide the tart off the baking pan onto a serving plate.

Serve at room temperature.

Gotta love summer!


  1. I've spent quite a bit of time in SF yet somehow have never made it to this bakery! Shame on me. This fruit tart looks amazing. The perfect celebration of summer fruit!

  2. I really must find out where to buy spelt flour. Maybe I should stop using all-purpose flour as well. But it's just so easy to use!
    This looks heavenly. I'm sure it must have been a great dinner, what a cooking team :)

  3. That sounds fantastic and so simple!

  4. This tart looks so inviting I would love to have a piece! The pastry looks very crispy and the fruits look very fresh and tasty!

  5. I love it when you tweak a recipe and it works! This fruit tart looks amazing, and I'm really excited to try out your tart crust recipe.


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