I experimented with this torte recipe over and over (and over) until I found it to be the perfect texture, taste, crumble, size, sweetness, and it’s beautiful… oh it’s so good. I’m rather proud of myself for this one. I experimented with a variety of fruits as well as fruitless. Peaches were my favorite and figs made for a close second. The plums in Texas are too hard to slice easily, but if you’ve got larger plums in your town, they’d work well. Just note that the dough puffs up a bit over the fruit, so bigger slices are necessary. I didn’t cut the figs at all so that you can still see the beautiful fig shape. I could eat this for breakfast everyday. But I won’t.
I also explored the topping for quite some time. I made an ice cream version, a whipped cream version… and then fell in love with this simple dollop of delight. The lavender, honey, and créme fraiche each hold their own in this topping and the flavors blend well together. It’s not very sweet, so feel free to sweeten it up more.
Although this may sound fancy as all get-up, it is a snap in the kitchen and makes for a very beautiful rustic Italian dessert. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Rustic Almond and Peach Torte
3 ripe medium-large freestone peaches
1 1/4 cups almonds (5 ounces) (plus extra for garnish)
1 scant cup sugar (7 ounces)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter or butter substitute, room temperature
1/3 cup glutinous/sweet rice flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 11-12 inch removable bottom tart pan and set aside. Peel peaches: bring a small pot of water to boil. Add the peaches and boil for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Remove from the water. Let cool and then peel, the skin should come off easily with your fingertips. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground. Add sugar and salt. Blend. Add the extracts, eggs and butter and blend thoroughly. Add the rice flour and baking powder and blend until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the tart pan and smooth with a spatula. Slice the peaches in half and remove pits. If using freestone peaches, this should be easy to do. Slice each half into quarters or thirds, depending on their size. Place the peach slices into the batter starting at the center and creating circles around the center piece. Press peach slices down very lightly. If using figs, do not press much or the figs will get buried.
Sprinkle sliced almonds on top for an extra crunch and for aesthetics. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean in the center.
Lavender and Honey Créme Fraiche
1/2 cup almond milk
3 sprigs culinary lavender
2 Tablespoons honey
2 cups creme fraiche or Green Valley Organics Sour Cream*
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Heat the almond milk over low heat. When warm, add the lavender and honey. Turn heat to medium, stir until the mixture is hot. Turn the heat off and let seep for about 30 minutes. Discard the lavender (I like it VERY subtle).
Place the créme fraiche in a bowl and whisk in the milk mixture. Add the powdered sugar and salt and whisk. Chill. It will firm up, if you like it firmer, use less milk. This keeps in the fridge for a week.
*This sour cream is not vegan, it’s still all organic but the lactose has been removed. It’s the only substitute for sour cream that I find to be amazing. I never tell anyone it’s lactose free and no one guesses. And no one is paying me to say this.