You might recall back in June when we featured the amazing culinary creations of Mimi Thorisson, France-based stylist, cook and food blogger. Well, we couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that, starting today, Mimi will be stopping by regularly to share some of her mouth-watering recipes with us. I don’t want to keep you guys from her sweet story and beautiful photos for another second, so without further ado…
My grandmother loved taking me on long garden walks in the beautiful countryside of Périgord. She always had a pair of old-fashioned garden scissors ready to cut off a few of her favorite herbs and flowers. She loved vervain, and religiously had a cup of infused leaves every night before going to sleep – ‘La petite tisane du soir’ she would say. She also mixed them with sliced summer peaches and a dash of sugar, then leave the peaches to marinate in a covered bowl in the fridge all day. In Roman times, vervain was associated with the god Venus, as it had magical properties to revive lost love. This marvelous herb is such a divine match with summer peaches, so I was inspired to make a peach tart with a vervain infused custard, reminding me of sweet childhood days with my grandmother. The pastry dough is just as she used to do it, with ground almonds – extra delicious and crumbly. The taste of citrus vervain combined with peaches and cream, topped with a large cloud of fruit fool will make your summer brighter than ever. Follow the jump for the recipe…
Summer Peach and Vervain Tart
For the pastry:
- 250 g/2 cups plain flour
- 150 g/ 2/3 cups butter (softened at room temperature)
- 30 g/ ¼ cup caster sugar
- 60 g icing/ ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 80 g/ ½ cup ground almonds
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of salt
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together until the mixture forms a homogenous dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Take out 30 minutes before rolling out.
For the vervain-infused custard base:
- 400 ml/ 1 and a half cup milk
- 20 vervain leaves (fresh or dried – alternatively you can use 4 vervain teabags)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp plain flour or cornstarch
- 50 g/ ¼ cup white sugar
In a saucepan, boil the milk and throw in the vervain leaves (or teabags). Take off the heat and let the vervain infuse for 10-15 minutes. In a bowl, mix the flour (or cornstarch), egg yolks and sugar together. Blend in the vervain-infused milk slowly and re-heat (on a low heat) until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Should the mixture have lumps, you can pass it though a sieve. Set aside to cool.
For the tart:
- 3 large peaches, sliced (in half moon shapes)
For the fruit fool cream topping:
- 200 ml/1 cup whipping cream
- 1 plum, 1 peach, 1 nectarine (or any summer fruit you wish – they should be on the riper side)
- 50 g/ ¼ cup caster sugar
- Chop fruits to small bits. Set aside. Whip cream until stiff, adding caster sugar halfway. Fold in the chopped fruits.
- A few leaves of fresh vervain
On a floured parchment covered surface, roll out the dough to fit your tart pan. Butter the tart pan, line with the pastry dough, and cut out excess overhang dough approx. ¼ inch/ 1 cm off the rim. Fold in the excess dough to make a double thick rim. Pierce dough with a fork and place in the freezer for 30 minutes (this tip will prevent the dough from shrinking when you bake it). When ready, line the inside with parchment, fill with dried beans (I use my son’s marbles), and blind bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 F/ 180° C.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Fill the tart base with the vervain infused custard, place the sliced peaches on top in a circular shape, pushing them in slightly, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake again for 15-20 minutes at 350 F/ 180° C. The peaches might get watery when you take out the tart from the oven – no worries, they will set nicely once the tart has cooled down. Leave to cool completely, serve with fruit fool on top of the tart, or on the side. Sprinkle with a few fresh vervain leaves.
*photos by Oddur Thorisson