Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Too hot

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.  


  1. What a fun tart! :)Bummer that it wasn't your favorite but it looks delicious!

  2. I didn't know you were a Texan. Me too--from the DFW area. Thankful for the rain and slight coolness today but I'm sitting here sweating as I write this.

    I love your square tart. I've got to get me one of those pans.

  3. So sorry it wasn't your fave! It does look delicious. Mine was also too brown, even though I took it out two minutes before it was supposed to be done. How thrilling to get to meet Amy!

    Our weather just warmed up two days ago. I've been saying we've been having the longest spring on record (highs in the low 70s is not normal here) but today got to 100 (and our climate is so nice that we don't have air conditioning!). From one extreme to another I guess.

  4. I kind of felt the same way. It sure gets points for looking tasty, though.

    Yea, Texas in August? definitly hot.

  5. Love tht you used the rectangular pan. Full of lovely peaches.

    Yeah, hot here too, but cooler late this week. will be 69 one morning. FINALLY!!

  6. Ciao Di ! I love the shape of your tart and am sorry you did not like it !!! I crossed Texas on a Greyhound (18 hours) many many years ago !!! Will we see the super cake ?? Baci and wish to meet you in Roma !!

  7. I'd take your tart with or without custard or almond cream. I think nectarines would be perfect in this one. Yay for meeting a fellow TWD'er! I've met up with 3 or 4 and it's always fun. We will have to connect up one of these days, but until then we'll just bake along, right?

  8. Fun! I love your tart pan btw. That is one of the shapes on my wish list. I just know if I cave and finally get it though my hubs will probably have a fit though :) You may have convinced me it will be worth it!

  9. wow the tart looks so beautiful in the rectangular pan! I can relate to the insane heat- I'm so ready for Fall! Of course, Fall never lasts long enough in the Deep South!