It’s fuzzy wuzzy season! Sweet juicy peaches of all shapes and sizes (giant to dwarf) can be discovered in just about every farmer’s market from May through September. They can also be found on friend’s trees if they are generous enough to share their bounty. Peaches along with cherries, plums, and apricots are drupes (stone fruits). Some other plants that produce drupes are coffee, mango, olive, palms, and pistachio. In the U.S. The largest peach producing state is California (sorry Georgia). A Santa Barbara Roussanne is the secret ingredient in this free form tart that heightens the flavour of the fruit. Absolutely fantastic, mister!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter or lard, chilled
- 5 tablespoons ice cold water
- 1½ lbs. ripe peaches (peeled, pitted and sliced)
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup Roussanne
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour and the salt. Combine the butter or lard into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Drizzle the water over the flour and stir until just incorporated. Press together to form the dough. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Make sure the fruit is relieved of all talking bugs, then combine the peaches, sugar, Roussanne, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir well. Let stand for one hour at room temperature.
- Place a large pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line a pizza peel with parchment paper.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 14-16” round and transfer to the peel.
- Spread the peach mixture on top of the round, leaving a 1½ - 2 inch border. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling and brush the edge with the egg wash (egg combined with the milk).
- Bake the tart on the stone for 30-40 minutes, until the dough is golden brown on the bottom.
- Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool slightly. Cut the warm tart into wedges and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Serve with whipped cream.
Pair this tart with a chilled Curtis Winery Roussanne. Adventurous. It starts with a wondrous aroma of honey, pineapple, and mango then offers up rich stone fruit flavours with puckery citrus. This white ends with a long and playful finish.
Movie night suggestion: Double feature, baby! You know how most Disney animation features involve absent parents whose departure permits their little darlings to become independent thrill seekers? Well, this film doesn’t do that. SPOILER ALERT. Oscar Nominee for best music, James and the Giant Peach (1997) wipes out the loving parents during the opening action sequence. James (orphaned) is forced to live with terrible aunts (worse than Cinderella’s sisters). He befriends bugs who live inside a giant peach and they take little boy ginger on a journey to New York City (1 hour 15 minutes).
Film notes: SPOILER ALERT. In the book, Spiker and Sponge (villainous aunts) are killed when the peach rolls over and squishes them. In the film, they survive.
Next up, another Roald Dahl story. Nominated for two Oscars, Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) is cleverly directed and well executed by Wes Anderson. This animation is a stop motion puppet and CGI gig and somewhat choppy (intentionally). There’s also a warm glowing hue throughout most of the film which sends me straight to cozy central. This film is educational too – chock full of Latin animal names like Canis Lupus! You’ll have to look up the one for opossum though since Mr. Fox claims not to know that one. The too-cool-for-the-room vibe has star studded voice talent and a musical score that will keep you humming. It’s the story of an urbane fox who couldn’t resist his poultry looting ways (1 hour 25 minutes). DIG!
Film notes: This was the first stop-motion animated film for 20th Century Fox. Fantastic!
The film’s appearance was inspired by Great Missenden, a village in Buckinghamshire, England where Roald Dahl lived and worked. The tree where the Fox family lives is based on a prominent beech tree on Dahl’s property. Mr. Fox’s study resembles the interior of the famous garden hut in which Dahl did most of his writing.
The film was shot at a frame rate of 12 per second, rather than the more smooth 24 so viewers could take notice of the stop-motion medium.
The American Cathedral in Paris’s choir were hired to sing the catchy “Boggis, Bunce and Bean” tune. They were recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, England in Studio Two, famous for where The Beatles recorded almost all of their music.
Wes Anderson chose to have actors record their dialogue outside of a studio and on location to increase naturalness. They went out in a forest, an attic, a stable, and underground for some takes.
Mr. Fox’s wardrobe was based on Wes Anderson’s own brown cord suits. Snazzy!
535 puppets were made for the film. It took seven months to perfect the very first Mr. Fox puppet. Mother cusser!