Well, the school year is officially underway. I still find it strange that school starts so early around here, since we always went back after Labor Day. And lucky us, Mother Nature decided to celebrate the first day of school with our hottest day of the year so far, with a high of 104 degrees. Fortunately, it looks like things are supposed to "cool off" this weekend, with highs in the high 80s or low 90s. Have I mentioned how much I hate the month of August in Texas? =)
You might think that the heat is the reason for my lack of blogging in the past week--that it's been too hot to bake. Well, that's not entirely true. (Thank goodness for air conditioning.) Last week was mostly taken up with a single project, a 50th birthday cake for a friend of mine. I spread the frosting making, cake baking and assembly over several days, and delivered the cake to the happy birthday girl on Friday afternoon after work. Friday was exciting for another reason, too. I had the chance to meet one of our fellow Tuesdays with Dorie members! Amy of Amy Ruth Bakes was in Texas to visit family, and happened to be driving through my part of Texas on her way home. She stopped by my branch at lunch time, and the fun part was explaining to my coworkers that no, I hadn't met her before, but I "know" her from one of my baking groups. (They know a little bit about TWD because they get to eat a lot of the completed recipes.) It was a very brief visit, but it was so great to put a face with the name and the blog, as she put it. =)
And speaking of TWD, I'll be taking a lot of this week's tart to work with me today. Rachel of sweet tarte picked Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart for us to make this week. Despite the heat, I baked the tart and several other things over the past couple of days. (I took Monday off for back to school and to enjoy some peace and quiet.) I've just had to adjust my schedule to do my baking in the morning and evening to avoid heating up the house (even more) in the afternoon. I also had to adjust the tart based on available ingredients. While we had some fantastic peaches a few weeks ago, the few that were at the store this week didn't look all that great. I ended up bringing home some nectarines instead. Close enough, right? Amazingly enough, I did use almonds in the crust and streusel, since I had some leftover from last week's birthday cake (which featured almond praline in the filling). For the tart crust, I used my favorite crust from Alice Medrich, with a few tablespoons of chopped almonds added. My only change to the custard was to leave out the almond extract, since I don't really like it. Not quite all of the custard fit in my pan, since I used my rectangular one (which has slightly less volume than my 9" round one). I also adjusted the baking time, baking the tart for 8 minutes at 425 degrees, 15 minutes at 375 degrees, and then another 15 minutes at 375 after adding the streusel.
The verdict? I really wanted to like this, but it wasn't quite my thing. (I would have been happier just eating it the way it is in the picture up above, with just fruit and crust.) I'm just not a big fan of custardy things (except for ice cream). I'd like to try making a peach tart with the almond cream from this tart instead. And my crust ended up way too dark, which didn't help. I know that's probably mostly due to my change in pan size, but I do wonder about baking anything with eggs/custard at such a high temperature to start. If I make this tart again, I'll probably just stick with 375 degrees for the whole time.
If you'd like to try this recipe for yourself, you can find it on Rachel's blog. And to see what everyone else thought of the tart, check out this week's links to the other TWD bakers.