Tart Fine of Peach, Black Pepper Ice-cream

11 August 2006

I seem to be enjoying stone fruit recipes this summer – recently apricots and plums – this time I went for peaches. I don’t think I ever cooked them when I was in Japan – it’s hard to explain if you’ve never tried fruit in Japan but they are grown to a very high (and expensive) standard to be eaten fresh so you wouldn’t really come up with the idea of cooking them. I’m not saying which is better or worse, it’s just different – Japanese fruit often isn’t suitable for baking because of its higher juice content. I remember I was slightly disappointed when I first tried peaches etc here – but on the plus side, it let me discover a new way to use them.

I found this recipe in Formulas for Flavour by John Campbell – I bookmarked it as soon as I saw the recipe. It’s a thin tart of spice poached peaches served with black pepper ice-cream.

As I mentioned before, I don’t like using store-bought puff pastry – but I have to be in the right frame of mind for the roll-fold-rest process, which easily takes up half a day. So I was happy to find out that the recipe in this book suggests making a much simpler puff pastry – you don’t need to wrap butter up like normal pastry, just whiz the flour, salt and butter in a mixer very roughly and add water, then just two roll-fold-rest cycles (you still need to work while the dough is cold – if it gets too hot the butter will melt out of the pastry and end up as a greasy tough biscuit). I wasn’t totally convinced until I tried the result but it came out very well – it doesn’t have as many layers as normal pastry but it’s light and flaky, and full of flavour (needless to say, it’s vital to use good quality butter here)

For the peaches, they get a subtle spicy/herby treatment before baking. Poached in syrup with fresh bay leaves, lemon rinds and star anise – they are already lovely at this point but roasting them in turn gives a more concentrated flavour.

And black pepper ice-cream to go with it – the combination might alarm you but it was lovely – the occasional grain of pepper makes for a nice contrast and I really enjoyed it (but it didn’t survive far into the photo shoot). This is just plain custard-based ice-cream without vanilla – churn in a machine and add freshly ground pepper (quite coarse) toward the end of churning. The peach caramel sauce (make dark caramel first and add peach juice, simmer for a while) was a perfect complement, it’s so versatile and I have a feeling that I will keep a regular stock of it in our fridge :)

I wasn’t so sure about not having any filling but I was wrong – it was absolutely delicious. I’m sure this is going to be one of my regular desserts…

I also made mini tarts with a little twist (and yes, I burnt them a bit) – got an idea from the Sugino book. Starting with the same pastry and poached peaches, I made frangipane filling with custard and almond cream (the same recipe as the redcurrant and pistachio tart – except for the additional of pistachio paste) and thinly spread it on top of the pastry, sprinkled some shredded basil leaves and topped with the peaches. It was lovely and refreshing, but I still prefer the first version :)

Although I used yellow flesh peaches this time, this will work with other fruit too such as pears, nectarines, apricots or plums.

Food - Sweet        48 comments    Permalink

  • how lovely! That crust looks so thin and delicate. absolutely gorgeous!

    Posted by L | 11 August 2006 #
  • very nice recepie, and the way you make your peach syrup is interesting and of course, the pepper ice cream, I’ll try it soon, I’ve got a lot of peaches in my fridge and many sorts of nice peppers !!

    Posted by mercotte | 11 August 2006 #
  • yes, you are right about the quality of fruits here in Japan. If you paid almost $3 for a peach you definitely wouldn’t want to bake it. this black pepper ice cream sounds great! there are a lot of black pepper snacks here, like on arare (rice crackers) and on chips. it is still very hot here, so if you are planning to come to Japan, you should wait until October. ;)

    Posted by Kat | 11 August 2006 #
  • Absolutely beautiful Keiko.

    I agree completely about the fruits (and veges) in Japan too. In Australia, we ahve what many describe as the best fruit and veges in the world. But what I find is that they are often sold underripe, so you can let them ripen at home. Here in Japan, God help you should you decide to keep a mango for a few days, or even worse - a peach! Everything is sold to be eaten immediately. I think though that the juiciness is similar when ripe :-)

    Also the SIZE of the peaches here are amazing, not to mention the prices :-(

    Posted by Lucas (Crazy Gaijin) | 11 August 2006 #
  • Those are lovely peachy tarts, Keiko...You love finding ways to use those bay leaves, don’t you! : )

    Glad to see you’re stil using your ice cream machine, even though the hot (or even warm) summer weather is, sadly, in our past.

    Posted by David | 11 August 2006 #
  • Oh, this is really lovely, I’ll try it with apricots as soon as possible !

    Posted by Elodie at Mon Petit Biscuit cu | 11 August 2006 #
  • Please Keiko, can i have a piece? I’m not much of a baker like you but i came across the store-bought puff pastry the other day making mini tartlets for my niece’s cristening and i must say, i was so pleased that i was able to get ready made ones... they were so handy! And they weren’t that bad at all :)

    I’m waiting for my mum’s pears [she has a tree with lots of fruits] to ripen. I was promised to enjoy a harvest.... oh, and plums :)

    Posted by Mae | 11 August 2006 #
  • The puff recipe sounds interesting.

    Really beautiful photos and post! Ice cream sounds good too!


    Posted by Melissa | 11 August 2006 #
  • Dear Keiko, as usual your posts are really outstanding in various areas:choice of subject, lovely narravives that warms one up,photography..Thank you for such a beautiful moment! I do not eat fresh peaches in the UK.After quite a few disappointing purchases I have decided to only eat them when abroad. I always eat them in Spain and they are just lovely and juicy.

    Posted by valentina | 11 August 2006 #
  • How gorgeous ! Black pepper ice cream ? Wow , never heard of that one before.

    Posted by krithika | 11 August 2006 #
  • mmmmm... black pepper ice cream... oddly enough, that brings out my inner Homer.

    thanks Keiko!

    Posted by ann | 11 August 2006 #
  • hi keiko, where desserts are concerned, you truly have the midas touch ;) what an exquisite tarte fine - i think it looks far lovelier than the one in the campbell book! i have some grains of paradise and am thinking with its fruity peppery bite would probably be interesting to use in this spice ice ream recipe...hmm...like you, i have to be in the mood to roll-fold-rest. and singapore being unbearably hot, that means i usually make it when i’m suffering a bout of insomnia (it’s much cooler in the evenings and wee hours of the morning :))

    Posted by Joycelyn | 11 August 2006 #
  • beautifully burnt ... utterly delicious looking

    i tried black pepper ice cream in BKK and love that extra kick from the pepper. there were also cardamom, chilli ice cream, very very refreshing taste

    Posted by slurp! | 11 August 2006 #
  • I’m glad you mentioned that you tried a puff pastry recipe that has less "turns" than the traditional ones. I’ve been hesitant to make my own because of the time commitment. But I might try this abbreviated version.

    Black pepper and peaches are such an intriguing combination. Your tarts are absolutely mouth watering and, as always, the photography is gorgeous!

    Posted by Mary | 11 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Making your own puff pastry, whether the simple way or the longer way, so an achievement! I love how the edges of the peaches caramelize a little bit. And the peach caramel sauce is such a nice touch. It was really interesting to learn how the fruit in Japan is different--I had no idea.

    Posted by Julie | 11 August 2006 #
  • Beautiful pictures, I especially like how you can see the slightly blackened edges of peach slices! It’s also interesting to read that the fruit in Japan is grown to a different standard.

    Have you tried the ’cheat’s’ puff pastry recipe from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess? I wonder if it is similar to John Campbell’s recipe. (PS I don’t have a food processor, so I can’t make the cheat’s puff pastry. I buy mine (oops), and go for the Dorset Organic Puff Pastry, which is made with real butter, and tastes pretty good actually)

    Posted by Pille | 11 August 2006 #
  • I can see why you would make this a regular!

    These pictures are fantastic - I mean I really want a bite, I think even one bite would make me happy.

    It’s beautiful the edges on the peaches, heck, it all looks divine!


    Posted by Tanna | 12 August 2006 #
  • Beautiful tarts. I like the fact that the dough is so thin. Makes it even nicer!

    Posted by Bea at La Tartine Gourmande | 12 August 2006 #
  • What a wonderful dessert idea! I’m a big peach fan from way back, but I love the flavour combinations you’ve got going here :)

    Posted by Ellie | 12 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko -

    This is my first time visting your blog and your writing and pictures are beautiful ! Peach Tart accompanied with black pepper icecream is an unexpected mix of flavours and something that I am looking forward to trying out in the future !

    Posted by Monisha | 12 August 2006 #
  • Just exquisite Keiko !

    Thank you :)

    Posted by parisbreakfast | 13 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    I just found out about your site this weekend.... Sine then I am masmarized by it!!! You are SOOOO talented both is cooking and in photography! Are you a professional chef?

    Just wanted to let you know how amazing your site! Keep up with the good work its a delight to see the pictures and read your blog. Thank you :)

    Posted by Star-Apple | 13 August 2006 #
  • Thank you for such an exquisitely and esthetically pleasing blog. It’s very inpiring to read your take on British country life. Your photos are true works of art and very inspiring. Keep up the mouth-watering work!

    Posted by ASMO | 13 August 2006 #
  • Beautiful! I have never heard of black pepper ice-cream either... wonder how that tastes like... hot and cold at the same time. Will give that a shot this weekend.

    Posted by LPC | 14 August 2006 #
  • Pretty, pretty as always Keiko! What I want to know is: is there a trick to getting so even and nicely sliced stone fruits? I tried making something a couple of days ago where I needed sliced nectarines, and I ended up squashing most of them, trying to pry them from their stones. Taste doesn’t differ from it, of course, but yours look so beautiful...

    Posted by Zarah Maria | 14 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko!

    Peach tart looks so pretty, even before it is cooked! You ARE a cook, aren’t you? :) Peaches are sliced so perfectly, how did you manage to do that? Photos are excellent, as always :) By the way thank you so much for the yoghurt and honey ice cream recipe, you are a STAR!

    Posted by Zeynep Seda | 15 August 2006 #
  • Absolutely beautiful! Too pretty to eat but I’m sure it tasted divine!

    Posted by Dianka | 15 August 2006 #
  • Please send me a dozen of those Keiko.

    Posted by Barbara | 16 August 2006 #
  • Oh my, such unimaginable delights. Gorgeous, yummy-looking---so perfectly, deftly made. (And photographed ;D.) Thank you, Keiko, too, for your nice comment on my blog the other day.

    Posted by Laura | 16 August 2006 #
  • Keiko, your photos are really piece of art. Just love it. And your recipe seems gorgeous. Very interesting the ice cream. Thanks

    Posted by bonheursdesophie | 16 August 2006 #
  • Incroyablement belle cette "Tarte fine" aux abricots ! Et servie avec cette surprenante crème glacée... a dream !!! Quel talent ! Merci Keiko.

    Posted by Camille | 16 August 2006 #
  • Fantastic shoots (as usual). These images really makes you hungry! Have you tried to use full depth of field on some images, I would really like to see how you handla this?

    Posted by typicalswe | 16 August 2006 #
  • Essas tortinhas são maravilhosa. O seu blog é linod parabéns.

    Posted by Michel Khodair | 17 August 2006 #
  • Keiko, this looks and sounds absolutley fabulous! Don’t you just love summer fruit!? It is simple , yet elegant....you have done it again.

    Posted by hag | 17 August 2006 #
  • It looks so delicious !!! congratulations !!

    Posted by Estelle | 17 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko

    As usual, splendid :)

    I am very intrigued by the black pepper ice cream....


    Posted by Jasmine | 17 August 2006 #
  • Great recipe, and amazing photos! I swear I could almost scent the smell from my monitor...

    Posted by Jota A. | 17 August 2006 #
  • Waou, your pictures are beautiful and this tart is delicious ... I’m fan of your tart !

    Posted by Fabienne | 17 August 2006 #
  • Just incredible. I really am speechless. Peaches and black pepper ice cream. What a great combination Keiko. You are always an inspiration.

    Posted by Cenk | 17 August 2006 #
  • exquisite. the recipe and the photos.

    I have added your site to my favorite links on my blog. I finally got around to updating them!

    Posted by Gabriella True | 18 August 2006 #
  • I am new to your site and love it! I can’t wait to make this with beautiful Georgia peaches. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by cheryl | 18 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    The tart looks very fine indeed. :)

    Posted by ilingc | 18 August 2006 #
  • i think its ingenuius of you to put black pepper in the ice cream. its add a different dimension im sure. thanks keiko for sharing.Also thanks for dropping by my blog.

    Posted by nookbistro | 19 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, you’re such a great patissier and an obviously talented photographer.

    I was just complaining about the lack of creativity of cookbooks on my blog but have to admit i would RUSH for a cookbook written (+photos) by you.

    Your tarte fine looks so so good - the first picture is gorgeous; as well as the 6 others actually :) And i’l very curious about the pepper ice cream. i’m sure it was a great pairing.


    Posted by fanny | 20 August 2006 #
  • I have a Chirs Mansfield recipe for black pepper icecream and was going to give it a go soon...will definitely try it out now

    Posted by jules | 21 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko!

    this is the first time i write a comment on your blog (although i’m a big fan of your wonderful site). As usual, your dessert sounds delicious and the pictures are gorgeous!!

    About puff pastry, people always think of it as very difficult or very long to make and look for a simpler or faster recipe: the fact is that if you do want a real puff pastry with all the layers, you have to wrap up the butter and make all the "tours", this is the only way .. For having tried both techniques, i can assure you that the conventional one (butter wrapped up) is much easier and not really longer as you have to make all the foldings anyway!!

    I love the idea of the mini tarts!!

    Posted by Avital | 25 August 2006 #
  • looks so delicious.

    Thank you very much for posting.


    Posted by Green | 30 May 2009 #
  • Couldn’t find the recipe of this post.
    Have you ever posted it?

    Lovely blog by the way!

    Posted by Bulgu | 25 June 2010 #

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