Posted by: njbrown | August 28, 2011

Julia’s Peach Tartlets


Julia's Peach Tartlets

Since peaches are in season, I began to look for a peach recipe that Julia had done.  Nothing leapt out of my collection of her cookbooks, but I did find a peach tartlet recipe attributed to Julia on the Web that uses Five Spice.  This recipe comes together very quickly, and the Five Spice gives it an unusual flavor.

According to Wikipedia, Five Spice is a Chinese spice blend  “…based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food.  There are many variants.  The most common is bajiao (star anise), cloves, cinnamon, huajiao (Sichuan pepper) and ground fennel seeds.”  “The spices need not be used in equal quantities.”  In tasting my newly acquired Five Spice, the cinnamon was the most pronounced flavor with a strong after-taste of liquorice – due, I guess, to the star anise and fennel seeds.

The recipe called for sheets of pre-made pastry that weren’t available in our stores.  Julia’s pastry recipe can be made quite quickly in the food processor, and I felt  virtuous having made pastry from scratch for the first time in about twenty years.  I couldn’t find a pastry cutter as large as the one Chef John used.  My cutter was less than 4″ across, but I think the petite size is fine.

Julia’s Peach Tartlet Recipe

From Chef John – includes video.


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 large peaches
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice
  • 1 box (15-oz) ready-to-use pie crust (2 sheets)
  • 1 egg, beaten plus 1 tsp water


  1. Halve the peaches, take the pits out.
    Cut each half into 4 pieces (24 slices total).
  2. Add 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice into a small bowl. Mix well.
  3. Add 2 tbsp butter into a saute pan over medium heat.
    Once the butter foams up, dump in the peach slices.
    Stir around. When it comes to a boil, add the sugar and Chinese 5-spice mixture.
    Stir around. Cook peaches about two minutes, then turn and cook another two minutes on the other side.
  4. When the peach slices are soft and tender, transfer them into a plate.
    Cut the big ready-to-use pie crust into small circles with your cutter.
    Use your fingers to fold the edge up and flute. Brush it with egg wash.
  5. Place 3 peach slices on the pie crust, 2 on the sides, 1 in the middle.
    Drizzle a little bit of their sauce over. Make a few of tartlets like these.
  6. Bake them 15 minutes at 375 ºF in an oven.
  7. Remove, cool and serve.

Julia’s Master Recipe To Make a Butter Dough for Pastries and Pie Crusts:

Pâte Brisée Fine

For two 9-inch tart shells or a 14- by 4 1/2-inch rectangular crust


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached (scooped and leveled)
  • 1/2 cup plain bleached cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or, for dessert tarts, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons sugar)
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) chilled vegetable shortening 1/2 cup ice water, plus droplets more, if needed

Special Equipment Suggested: A food processor with steel blade

Blending flour and butter.


  1. Have all the ingredients measured  out and ready to use (mise en place, mise en place, mise en place!].
  2. Put the flour, salt (or salt and sugar), and diced butter in the container of the processor and pulse (on-off half-second clicks) 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly.
  3. Add the shortening, turn on the machine, and immediately pour in the 1/2 cup of ice water, then pulse 2 or 3 times.
  4. Remove the cover and feel the dough – it should look like a bunch of small lumps, and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together. (It’s important not to over mix; it should not mass on the blade of the machine.) If too dry, pulse in droplets more water. From now on, work rapidly to keep the dough cold and manageable.
  5. Final Blending. Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it into a rough mass. For the final blending, rapidly and roughly, with the heel (not the palm) of your hand, push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you in a 6-inch smear.
  6. Resting and Chilling.Form the dough into a cake  – it should be fairly smooth and pliable.
  7. Wrap in plastic, slide it into a plastic bag, and  refrigerate.
  8. Freshly made dough should chill 2 hours at least, allowing the flour particles to absorb the liquid, as well as to firm the butter and relax the gluten.


  1. These look delicious!

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