One of the first things I heard about Oak Park was that it has a fabled farmer’s market. I kid you not, the word fabled was used by different, completely unconnected people. It was also described as a time-honored tradition, wonderful, and delightful. I was also advised to get there early for the cinnamon donuts. When Saturday morning rolled around, I hustled my husband and kids into the car so we could finally check out the Oak Park Farmer’s Market.
The market didn’t disappoint. There were over 30 vendors, offering ripe Michigan fruit and a wide variety of vegetables: yellow butter beans, spring green string beans, broccoli, and adorable baby carrots still covered with dirt. One corner was anchored by a truck heaped with three different types of swollen sweet melons, your choice for $5. Juliette was smitten by this table of berries presented so beautifully. She refused to walk any further until she had a basket of raspberries and blueberries to shove into her mouth.
I splurged on some blushing peaches that smelled sweet like summer. After I bit into one and let the juice run down my chin, I used the others to make another tarte tatin, just like my tomato one, another cheating one with frozen pastry pie dough, now addicted to this easy summer dessert. The caramel topping melded with the tender peaches. It was the perfect way to celebrate this first bounty from our new farmer’s market.
Shortcut Peach Tarte Tatin
5 Ripe Peaches
3 tablespoons of salted butter
3/4 cups of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry dough
optional: vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche to serve
- Cut each peach into inch wide slices, leaving the skin on, removing the pit. Don’t worry about being even. This is meant to be a rustic, casual dessert.
- Spread the butter evenly on the bottom of an oven-proof skillet. This will take a little elbow grease to keep rubbing the butter in concentric circles until you have a thick pommade coating the pan.
- Sprinkle the sugar on top.
- Layer the peaches over the butter and sugar. Don’t worry about overlapping, having more peaches is better than not enough.
- Place skillet over medium heat. Cook, occasionally shifting the peaches gently to prevent burning. When the butter and sugar have turned into a bubbling, light amber caramel, take the pan off the heat.
- Immediately add the vanilla extract by drizzling it on top of the peaches.
- Lay your puff pastry sheet down. Cut off the corners to make it a very rough circle. Don’t worry too much about geometry or presentation. I guarantee your pie will be gorgeous.
- Lay the puff pastry over the caramelized peaches, tucking in the dough. Make 3 or 4 slits in the dough.
- Place pie in oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is golden brown. Watch closely to make sure the caramel doesn’t burn, turning the peaches into cement.
- As soon as the pie is done, invert it onto a serving dish. Use silicone mitts to prevent yourself from burning but don’t wait or you will be scooping your pie out with a jack hammer.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.