food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

People who aren’t on Twitter often deride it as merely a vehicle for transmitting useless everyday minutiae. I won’t deny that use of Twitter; I myself have been known to snap and tweet ‘interesting’ pictures of ‘novel’ breakfast ideas and of my hens eating pasta (thank you if you have retweeted any of them). But the reason I use Twitter is to connect with like-minded health and food folk, sharing ideas and recipes, links to research papers and yes, images. It is near-miraculous to me that I can have a real time simultaneous conversation with a surgeon in Canada and a chef from South Africa. This has happened, and it blows my mind.

When something really strikes my fancy or eye I will email it to myself for reading properly later. Mr A is frequently chiding me on a messy inbox, full of ‘read this now’ emails from myself that I will neither read nor file. It is shameful how many research links remain unclicked and undigested. But one find I did act on is a tweet from baker, author and Guardian food writer, @dan_lepard. He recently tweeted a picture and link that just had to be tried. It drew me in with its close-up of glistening plums and peeking-through pastry. Trust me to favour an alluringly-photographed recipe over a print-heavy review of US adolescent obesity studies.  Oh the irony.

Being a tweaky kind of person I naturally had to fiddle around with the recipe, but not drastically so. My main alteration was to the underlying flavour. Dan calls for cinnamon, but as I associate cinnamon with the colder months I wanted to better reflect the remaining summer days with another spice or herb. A few days after sending this link to myself, and momentarily wondering what I might do to alter the perfectly acceptable as it is recipe, inspiration wafted under my nose. My tabby cat had brushed against the lavender bush I was sitting alongside, releasing the shrub’s sun-warmed perfume – triggering my memory and firing my imagination. I could almost taste this sunny, seasonal tart in my head.

For once I had all ingredients to hand and within 40 minutes or so the whole house was saturated with the heady aroma of melding peaches, honey and lavender.  It was truly intoxicating. I have since made it with both peaches and plums for a few nutrition groups that I teach, and the feedback has been very positive. It’s not a sticky, indulgent tart but rather an – dare I say – everyday tart. No airs and graces or pretension to being on a restaurant menu. Just a rough and ready marriage of earthy grain, a bit of butter, seasonal fruit and flower.  It may even be good for you. In moderation, of course.

I am letting you off the hook with the nutrition information this week. Sure the spelt flour generally has a better nutrient profile than ordinary wheat flour (more B vits, manganese and copper), and the peaches and plums are great sources of antioxidants like beta-carotene, minerals such as potassium, and fibre of course. But you don’t eat cakes and tarts looking for nutrients, you eat them because they taste good. End of.

Like most of the recipes I write/tweak, this is lower in fat and sugar, and higher in fibre than many baked goods of this ilk.  But unless you are on chemo or recovering from treatment, it should really be a treat, not part of your five-a-day.

I’ll save the nutrition chat for the properly healthy and vaguely virtuous. For now just enjoy making a truly lovely tart that tastes of summer and smells of heaven. Unless your idea of heaven is chocolate.

Peach (or Plum), Honey and Lavender Tart

As I said above, this recipe is a reworking of one Dan Lepard recently wrote for the Guardian newspaper – Wholewheat Plum Tart with Sherry Cream. I have changed it a bit – adding almond, mixing flours and changing the flavouring – but the recipe is still recognisably Dan’s so I must give due credit.  I dare not invite comparison with a master baker, but I do hope you like my sun-inspired tweaks.  
 
75g unsalted, softened butter, plus extra for the tin (melt)
75g dark muscovado sugar, well crumbled to break up lumps
1 tbsp runny honey (lavender honey if possible)
1 medium egg
¾ tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsprayed lavender buds, well-crushed (Barts and Steenbergs in the UK; spicehouse.com in the US)
75g refined spelt flour (I like Dove’s, Bacheldre Mill and Sharpham Park flours)
75g wholegrain spelt flour
50g ground almonds
2 tbsp milk (dairy or non)
Punnet of ripe plums or peaches, stoned and sliced into eighths
Warmed and sieved plum or peach/apricot jam, as appropriate

To serve: good quality custard (try this Mary Berry recipe), Greek yogurt with honey, or crème fraiche. I garnished the crème fraiche with lavender buds in my photos, but Mr A said it was pretty but not great to chew. 

makes a stiff dough


Sift together the flours and baking powder; stir in the lavender buds. In a separate bowl beat together the softened butter and sugar, until smooth and light, then mix in the flours, ground almonds and milk, and beat until smooth.

Brush melted butter all over the inside of a 20cm round, loose-bottomed tart/cake tin. If you don’t have one with a removable base, butter and line the bottom and slightly up the sides of the tin with baking paper. I would snip the paper in three places  – about 3 cm – so that it fits without wrinkling up (the cuts will overlap).  Spread the stiff mixture into the pan, using a wet palette knife or your fingers to even it out if you like. Now poke the peaches or plums into the mixture – quite tightly in a ring. The more fruit you add to the base the more squidgily moist it becomes as it bakes.

Pop the tart into a 180C/350F oven (160C for fan-assisted) and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and puffy between any fruity gaps. Test with a skewer if you are unsure. Once out of the oven brush over with warm, sieved jam and leave to cool a bit before easing a sharp knife around the diameter and removing the tart from the tin. Just to let you know, the base is a cross between a cake and crumbly pastry. Serve with crème fraiche, custard or, as Dan suggests, cream whipped lightly with a little brown sugar, adding 2-3 tablespoons of sherry once the cream begins to thicken. I had a slice with a cup of refreshing English-grown Tregothnan Afternoon Tea, but any tea would be nice.
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39 thoughts on “Peach, Honey and Lavender Tart

  1. chilequeen says:

    mmmmmmmmnnnnnnnnnnnnn Kellie!!!!!

  2. chilequeen says:

    a WINNER!!!!!! I think I’ll make it for all the peeps that are helping me move – already enticed them with the promise of Printhouse Pizza! :-)

    1. Oh thanks Joanie. Hope the move is going well and nothing gets broken! Never heard of Printhouse – most intriguing. The tart is an absolute cinch to make so, yes – make it. Now! Let me know how you get on with it, and move too. You are a treasure!

  3. chilequeen says:

    Printhouse is where the ChileQueen lives at present….. ;-) They refer to ChileQueen Pizza :-) Thank you K

    1. Yum. What’s your signature pizza?

  4. Julie T. Fitz says:

    Y to the ummy! Can’t wait to try this!

    1. T to the hank you! Pack it with lots of fruit for a really moist tart. You can even whizz up a little extra peach (about 1/4 cup) to up the yum factor. Let me know if you make it. Can I have photographic evidence? Thanks for commenting, lovely.

  5. You have surely done the original recipe due justice! The juicy ripe peaches and plums evoke the height of the summer season. Yes, I would very much like dessert every day! sigh…..

    1. Aww, shucks. You are very kind. You probably have to eat at least 3 slices to get one of your five a day…My waist couldn’t afford that! with your California lifestyle I bet you could get away with it. Sigh.

  6. chilequeen says:

    I make many…. but requested seems to be:
    roasted chipotle ground beef with grated Manchengo cheese on tomato base of (sundried toms, capers and black olives). I don’t believe in having much topping on Pizzas as not the Italian way. xx

    1. That sounds terrific! I like a minimally topped pizza too. Otherwise too claggy and you don’t get the bubbly, blistery bits that taste so good.

  7. Your tart looks amazing! I often see lavender used in recipes, but have yet to try it myself. I’ve added a link to your post on my Healthy Cooks page. Lovely!

    1. Hi Kristi, so good to hear from you! Thanks so much for adding me to your blog. I still haven’t got round to doing something similar (blogroll) as I think my brain would hurt trying to whittle down all of the blogs I like. You are obviously made of sterner stuff. And I’m glad you like the look of the peach, honey & lavender tart – we like it a lot here – with fromage frais (healthy option) or custard (naughty, indulgent option).

  8. Really delicious! Now I’m tempted and torn! This one oculd be a winner too! Thank you so much for sharing with Simple and in Season! I love plums…

    1. You’ve probably got lots of recipes to try and in your to-try list but if you ever get around to this one it really is so easy to make up and tastes very different to traditional gooey tarts. I made it for today’s cancer nutrition workshop (along with my triple tomato soup) and it was a big hit. But I think people are just surprised to be told that not all cake is bad for them! Thank you for your lovely comment, Ren.

  9. jackiearmstrong says:

    hi kellie, the lavender buds can you buy them from any health food shop?

    1. Hi Jackie. I bought Bart’s brand in Waitrose but you can get them online at Steenbergs – great source for spices and herbs, including organic. I love Steenberg’s products. You can get a good range of them at Earhty Market in Newington too. Not sure about the lavender, but maybe. Good excuse for eating in their terrific cafe…

  10. This looks amazing! Just harvested the last of my lavender so will have to give this a go. Thanks !

    1. I’m so glad you like the look of it! My lavender is looking a bit sorry for itself – still fragrant as anything but scraggly so I will snip and dry too. Any tips for me?

  11. julietfitz says:

    Congratulations on making the front page of Foodpress! You deserve it!

    1. Thanks Julie! I’m really chuffed, as we say here in Scotland. It’s a pretty little tart, even in the hands of a clumsy, finesse-less baker like myself.

  12. Dee Campbell says:

    Hi Kellie — This is Dee — remember me from before cell phone time?? This looks absolutely beautiful and I’m sure tastes pretty yummy too. So good to see you and can’t wait to get more recipes!! Please give my best to your family.

    1. HI Dee! Lovely to hear from you. So many good memories from Holy Innocents’ and Casa Gallardo (!), etc. Super busy right now but should by posting a yummy, easy fish dish on Sunday. Hope you like fish – and the dish. Let me know if you make anything from here. :D

  13. Poppy says:

    Congratulations, Kellie. I haven’t made this tart (or any other tart), but I am looking forward to your making it when you come over next month.

    1. We’ll get the ingredients and make it together. Can you make your homemade vanilla ice cream to go with it? Do you even still have that hand-cranked bucket thing to make it in? :D

  14. Pretty- lovely presentation!

    1. Thanks! I hope it tastes as good as it looks. Thanks for stopping by

  15. Cat from Measuring Spoons says:

    Yum, yum, yum. I love lavender and I’m always looking for new applications. Thanks!

    1. Glad you like the look of it. Different lavender types taste different too. But you probably know that already :)

    2. Glad you like the look of it! Thanks for commenting :D

  16. How lovely! My lavender is just coming into flower, and I love plums! Great post, thank you for sharing!

    1. Of course, you are coming in to spring! We are starting to hunker down here. Not strictly true though as next few days predicted to be warmer than much of our summer. Typical. Anyway, hope you have a chance to make it. It’s been a bit of a hit at the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre where I work, so I hope you like it. Thanks so much for commenting :D

  17. Am definitely tucking this away for next summer!

    1. I am glad you like the look of it – I make it with plums at this time of year too. Either fruit gets nice and squidgy – always a good thing, I think. Thanks for commenting.

  18. peasepudding says:

    beautiful combination with the fruit, lavender and honey.

    1. That’s very kind of you, Alison. I think the combination does work rather well (she said modestly!). When I get back from holiday I need to do a bit more baking. Too warm here in Florida to think about being in a hot kitchen!

  19. LOVED the gorgeous tart you brought to the potluck, Kellie! And of course I had room for one or two more slices! The lavender was heady stuff. Hope you had as much fun as the other ‘Kelli’ – she had to leave The Machine by the barn and walk home! (And that was just from the O.D. on food.)
    Hope you stop by again sometime!

    http://themuddykitchen.com/2012/08/24/potluck-party-post/

    xjennifer

  20. Sue says:

    Slightly over excited my delivery of Steenberg Lavender, Tamarind & Za’atar have arrived. Making this tart for Fathers Day.

    1. Good stuff. It is one I make in the summer for my nutrition groups. Have fun with your purchases. I always love a package from Steenbergs

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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