A Fresh Georgia Peach Tart

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By Damon Lee Fowler

If you’ve ever been anywhere near my and Paula’s home state, you know we have an obsession with peaches. Though not native to Georgia, our blushing icon has been growing here since Spanish monks first planted them in the late sixteenth century, and today you just about can’t sling a cat in Georgia without hitting at least a picture of one.

Probably no place in the state has a deeper connection with this fruit than Fort Valley, not far from where Paula cut her teeth on peaches and said her first “y’all.” The land around there just seems to be uniquely made for them.

The French call this “terroir,”—and no, it’s not a war tactic. Derived from a word for “land,” it means a lot more than just dirt: it’s the deep interconnection between an environment and its produce—like the hints of the lavender and herbs of Provence that are found in that region’s wines, or the unique white mold that covers Brie.

A big part of terroir is the idea that some places are uniquely suited to a particular thing. The Fort Valley region of southeastern Georgia is just such a place for peaches. Though no longer the leading producer that it once was, it still nurtures some of the finest peaches in the country, and holds fast to its reputation as peach heaven.

And that, in case you were wondering, is why rosy-cheeked peaches adorn every welcome sign, license plate, and lottery ticket in the state, and why no Georgian could imagine going through a summer without eating at least one ripe local peach. Here’s one of my own favorite ways of having them, adapted from The Savannah Cookbook.

Peach Tart
Serves 6

10 ounces (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 ounces (½ cup or 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
2 tablespoons chilled lard or vegetable shortening
About ½ cup ice water
Cinnamon Sugar (recipe follows)
6 to 8 ripe freestone peaches
Whole nutmeg in a grater
3 tablespoons peach or apricot jam forced through a wire mesh strainer
Vanilla, caramel, or ginger ice cream, optional

Whisk or sift together the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt. Add the butter and lard and cut it in with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add about 1/3 cup of ice water and work it in. Keep adding water by spoonfuls until the dough is just holding together. Gather it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and chill 20 minutes.

Note: the pastry can be made in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Chill the blade 5 minutes, then fit it in the work bowl. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to sift. Add the fat and process until it resembles coarse meal. Pulse in the water a little at a time, starting with 1/3 cup, until it is holding together. Wrap and chill as in the hand method.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375° F. Line a 12-inch round tart pan with the dough, pressing it into the sides without stretching it. Prick well with a fork, and chill it for 20-30 minutes. Line with buttered foil (buttered side down), fill with pie weights or dried beans, and bake 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake 8-to-10 minutes more, or until just beginning to color. Sprinkle the bottom with cinnamon sugar and let it cool while preparing the peaches.

Peel the peaches, halve, pit, and slice them into thick wedges. Arrange top of the crust in a single layer, slightly overlapping, in concentric circles. Sprinkle well with cinnamon sugar and a generously grating of nutmeg.

Bake until the peaches are tender and the crust golden brown, about 40 minutes. Melt the jam with the remaining sugar over medium-low heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Let the tart cool slightly and brush it generously with glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Read More From Southern Recipes.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

  • Roast Christmas Duckling with Christmas Chutney Roast Christmas Duckling with Christmas Chutney
    54321
    View Now
  • Chicken Divan Chicken Divan
    54321
    View Now
  • Sausage and Bacon Gravy Sausage and Bacon Gravy
    54321
    View Now
  • Bobby’s Lighter Crab-Stuffed Shrimp Bobby’s Lighter Crab-Stuffed Shrimp
    View Now

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

I have to agree about peaches being the “southern fruit of choice” when it comes to cobblers - S.C. grows a lot of peaches, too, and I can’t wait until they’re ripe and ready in the summer to stockpile them in my freezer so I can make fresh peach cobbler over the holidays!  Just the smell of ripe peaches makes my mouth water, and baking with them is therapeutic…I can remember churning peach ice cream as a kid - haven’t had ice cream that good since then!

By Sybil on August 10, 2010

I can’t wait to try this recipe. I have a bowl of peaches just calling for it. Peaches are my favorite fruit.

By Diane Burnett on August 10, 2010

image
Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts

image

love the table paula would look good on my new patio. so glad you are back. I hope to get there to see you in person one day.i will start tomorrow to find the patern form the tablecloth.
Gladys Rainesl in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I just want to say this I don't even know if is the right page all I ever wanted to say to Paula Deen welcome back I have missed you. You are my favorite home down girls keep your head up and hang on and feel the love. P.S. from a woman of color.
in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I just love love love the table and flowers and am so glad that I can still access all of Paula's recipes, her family life, Bobby's lighter versions and Brandon's beautiful work. Truly thankful to see such beautiful tablescapes. You guys are my heros.
Patricia in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 9:14 am