Francois Payard’s Ode to the Ripe, Juicy Peach

Fresh PeachesFarmers markets are the best place to shop this time of year, and if you are on the look-out for the perfect summer peach, here are three words to remember. Color, touch, texture.

  • Color: Deep, golden yellow.
  • Touch: A gentle, firm squeeze will tell you what you need to know. If there is a bit of give, then set it on your counter or  windowsill for 2-3 days until it’s soft.
  • Skin Texture: Shriveled skin around the stem is indicative of a ripe peach.

This dessert is the ultimate ode to fresh summer peaches. The ripe tender fruits are not just used for decoration or hidden beneath piecrust. Instead they stand tall in a creamy almond filling. Chef Payard puts this tart in the window at his New York shop, and the gorgeous colors never fail to draw customers in. And if you’re curious, the tart tastes as magnificent as it looks.

Rustic Peach Tart

  • Difficulty: Moderate
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peachesRustic Peach Tart  Serves 6 to 8

Almond Cream

  • A scant ⅔ cup of sugar
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 stick plus 1½ teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 small egg yolk
  • 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour


  • 5 to 6 ripe peaches, quartered and pitted
  • One 9½ inch prebaked tart shell
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the almond cream: Place the almonds and two tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor and process until finely ground, about 1 minute.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and the remaining sugar on high speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the ground almond mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the egg and egg yolk, beat well, and scrape down the side of the bowl as necessary, then beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the flour until just combined.

Reserve one cup of this almond cream and store the rest in an airtight container for next time. (You can refrigerate the remaining cream for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.)

Spread the almond cream into an even layer in the prebaked tart shell. Arrange the peaches, standing up, in a pinwheel pattern over the filling, starting from the edge of the tart and working toward the center.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set. Cool the tart on a wire rack.

Place the apricot preserves in a small heatproof dish and microwave on high power for 30 to 45 seconds, until bubbling. Strain the hot preserves through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl.

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the tart with the glaze. The tart can be made up to one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe graciously sent to us by Chef Payard and his team.

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