There are many things that make me happy.
An evening spent in a cinema to watch a Hollywood movie, one of those you have been waiting for months and that gives you the shivers right from the opening credits, with a bag of caramel popcorn, your glasses to see clearly from the distance and not miss a shot, your best friend in the chair beside you and two hours to spend in the dark, comments in a low voice and giggles included.
A windy day with turquoise sky and white clouds running high, the trees talking to each other in an ancient language, the branches caressing each others and intertwining. All your heavy thoughts are swept away by the wind and the air becomes lighter.
An unexpected free afternoon at home, four gifted hours, a to-do list that gets thinner and thinner, the time to put in order a shelf or the lazy books that lie on the bedside table, to make a long-waited phone call or simply to pet Kira, now old but even sweeter, with her soulful and grateful eyes.
The scent of lavender, that instantly takes me on holidays, being it in my garden or in a still village in a Provençal afternoon, with painted shutters, flowers on the windowsill, the ivy around the door and your steps that resonate in the stone back lanes.
Baking a fruit cake, using ripe peaches, organic eggs, flour and butter, just to feel a bit better, loved.
These momentary vivid thoughts often go through my head, sometimes overlap and give life to hybrid dreams that give you one of the most beautiful things in life, a moment of pure ecstasy and bliss.
The other day I inadvertently passed very close to the lavender bed and rubbed my hands through the flowers: the purple scent of lavender wrapped me and immediately made me think of peaches, white and juicy. And then came the idea of this cake, born from a spontaneous association of ideas, happy, easy and instantaneous.
And now if you want to enjoy 5 minutes of bliss, here’s the recipe (do not be scared by the length, it is very easy to do, I’ve just been very detailed!)
WHITE PEACH AND LAVENDER TART
Ingredients for the almond short crust:
- 100 g of almonds, peeled and roasted
- 150 g of sugar
- 200 g of plain flour
- 150 g of cold butter, diced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
Ingredients for the pastry cream:
- 8 egg yolks
- 4 cups (1 l) of milk
- 8 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- peel of 1 lemon
Ingredients to finish the tart:
- approx. 15 medium-sized white peaches, not too ripe
- a few sprigs of lavender
- a few tablespoons of sugar
Let’s make the almond short crust…
- Blend the almonds, previously peeled and roasted, with a spoonful of sugar, with rapid and repeated pulses of the blender, so as not to heat them and let them release their oil.
- Combine the flour with the ground almonds and the sugar, then add in the butter cubes and rub it with the flour until you obtain a crumbly dough.
- Now add the lightly beaten egg, stir quickly until the dough comes together, form a ball, flatten it lightly and place it in the fridge for an hour, wrapped in waxed paper.
Let’s make the pastry cream…
- Pour the milk into a saucepan with 6 tablespoons of sugar and the lemon peel (just the yellow part) and bring to a boil. As soon as it takes the boil, remove from the heat.
- Beat the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir in the cornstarch, mixing well to remove any lumps.
- Filter the milk and pour it in a thin stream over the egg yolks, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent scrambled eggs.
- Cook the cream in a water bath on low heat, stirring constantly, until it veils the spoon, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool completely.
… and now let’s finish the tart!
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it out with the help of a rolling pin and a some flour and line a 26 cm round pan or a rectangular mould (10×30 cm).
- Prick the bottom of the tart.
- Spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart and top it with the peaches, previously peeled and cut into thin slices.
- Sprinkle the peaches with a tablespoon of sugar and a crushed sprig of lavender.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until the surface becomes golden.
- Let cool and serve with a generous dusting of the icing sugar.