Three days in the high Sierra with five of my LA gal pals! What could be better? We hiked through crazy displays of wild flowers, boated on a lake filled with frigid snow melt, picked perfectly ripe fruit at Apple Hill Ranch, ate together, and created the beautiful tart you see here.
We had as much fun as I did when I was a kid at sleep away campfire girl camp. The weeks spent in tent cabins with a bunch of little girls (and wise counselors too) were the beginning of my love of mountain getaways and hiking. I was thrilled to now be the counselor, sharing that passion with my LA friends.
It’s difficult to say if boating or picking fruit at Apple Hill Ranch was our favorite, or cooking together, or sharing meals around our big table. But, in that this is a food blog, I’ll move on to Apple Hill.
In the early days of our cabin life, we needed furnishings—tables, chairs, beds, pots and pans, flatware and dinner plates. Facebook Market Place quickly became my best friend. One morning, during what had become a breakfast ritual of checking out the new listings, a photo of bright red cherries still on the tree caught my eye. Always curious about food but thinking that most likely someone was selling the photo, I clicked on it. To my surprise, the description talked about an organic farm in Bishop. Being situated in the high desert, Bishop is hot and dry with a landscape that features mesquite and cactus. How could there possibly be a fruit farm? I had to go see for myself.
With no expectation of finding anything more than a table selling produce imported from more hospitable climes, Steve and I drove to the location. What we found was astonishing, a lush green oasis filled not only with fruit trees, but also vegetable gardens, and ponds, streams, and fowl of every variety scratching around freely. Josephine gave us buckets and sent us to the orchard where we picked sweet, plump Rainier cherries. Rick, the owner, had promised us he wouldn’t weigh us before and after picking, leaving us free to taste. And taste we did, gobbling up almost as many cherries as we picked.
Since that first visit to Apple Hill, I can’t stay away, and it still blows my mind every time I drive down the mountain and enter the farm. On this visit, my friends and I picked blackberries bursting with wine-like flavor, fragrant nectarines, and juicy peaches, aromatic mint, and tender basil.
I took notes as Karen transformed our harvest into a magnificent tart. She drizzled local honey over the peaches before roasting them, and then wrapped the peaches and blackberries in her tender, buttery, almond studded, gluten-free crust. The balance of sweet fruit, rich crust, and crunchy nuts is so perfect, no one will ever realize this dessert is gluten-free. It was the superstar of our salmon taco buffet dinner on the last night. I’ve made it several times since in Los Angeles, and even without just picked fruit from Apple Hill, it’s always a hit.
Rustic Honey-Roasted Peach Tart
Amazing Gluten-Free Crust
- ⅔ cup whole or sliced almonds
- 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (I used King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, results were GREAT)
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) well chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
- 1½ pounds small, ripe peaches (about 6), unpeeled, quartered, pitted
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
- ½ cup blackberries (optional)
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Place the almonds in a food processor and chop coarsely. Transfer the almonds to a bowl and reserve.
- Combine the flour, almond flour, sugar and salt in the work bowl of a processor and blend to mix. Distribute the cold butter cubes on top of the flour. Using on/off turns, process until the mixture resermbes a coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and using on/off turns, process just until moist crumbs form. Transfer the mixture to a work surface and gather into a ball. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Wrap tightly and freeze about 20 minutes. If you're not yet ready to roll out the crust, transfer it to the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line a heavy baking sheet or large pizza pan with foil. Arange the peach quarters on the parchment, skin side down. Drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Roast the peaches until almost tender, about about 25 minutes. Using a spoon, gently turn over the peaches. Continue roasting until very tender, about 15 minutes longer. Cool the peaches on the pan. Before they reach room temperature, loosen from the foil to prevent sticking.
Assemble the Tart
- Let the crust stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to soften slightly. Postion rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 375℉.
- Place the crust dough between sheets of parchment paper. Roll out to a 10" diameter round, turning over occasionally and freeing the parchment as needed, dusting with flour if sticking. Remove the top sheet of parchment and sprinkle ½ cup of the chopped nuts evenly over. Replace the top sheet of parchment and roll the crust out to an 11" round, embedding the nuts into the crust.
- Keeping the crust between the sheets of parchment, transfer it to a heavy large baking sheet, arranging nut side down. Remove the top sheet of parchment, letting the crust remain on the bottom sheet. Arrange the peaches in the center of the crust, leaving a 1½ to 2" boarder. If your peaches weren't sweet, drizzle a little honey over the peaches. Using the parchment as an aid, gently fold the crust edges over the edges of the peaches, gently pleating as needed.
- Mix the brown sugar and cardamom (if using). Arrange the blackberries (if using) over the peaches. Brush the crust edges with egg to glaze. Sprinkle the remaining chopped nuts (using as many or few as you like) over the fruit and crust, then sprinkle the brown sugar over the fruit and crust.
- Bake the tart until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the tart on the pan for 20 minutes. Carefully slide a spatula between the tart and parchment to free the crust. Using the bottom of an 11" tart pan, slide it under the tart and gently transfer to a platter.
- To serve, cut the warm or room temperature tart into wedges and transfer to plates. Top each with a dollop of Greek yogurt and then drizzle with honey.