Everyone who knows me knows: I have something impressive sweet tooth. (trust: it is well documented.) Of course, this means the list of bakeries to visit and cookbooks for making bread is endless. So when I was planning my most recent trip to London, I made it a priority to eat everything I could buy at Claire Ptak’s East London bakery. violet.
In conclusion, I met and ate so many delicious sweets that it was well worth the trip. Claire experiments with flavors drawn from her California upbringing and elevates them with a true urban sensibility. Everything I’ve tried, from mango cupcakes to her famous egg yolk chocolate chip cookies, has forever changed the way I think about sweets. As soon as I got back to America, I opened Claire’s latest book. love is a pink cake, began to bake. And with summer approaching, I decided to incorporate fresh peaches into all my meals and treats, so I’ll start with her peach tarte tatin.
And just in case you hesitated even a little before jumping in, rest assured. Claire was a creative genius. Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding cake. Keep reading for recipes, Claire’s tips for peeling peaches, and why this peach tarte tatin is the ultimate party trick.
How would you describe your cooking and food philosophy?
My philosophy is to bake for flavor first and foremost, and I want to keep the flavor very pure. Baking seasonal bread is something I’ve always done, and I encourage you to make the most of what’s in peak season. In almost all of my recipes, you can substitute seasonal fruit for whatever is mentioned in the recipe.
How did you develop this recipe?
Classically tarte tatin is made with apples. But when I tried a peach tarte tatin at a friend’s restaurant, it became my favorite type of tarte tatin. The peach leaf custard garnish may be difficult to come by, but if you can get fresh peach leaves, it’s well worth it. Almond flavor goes well with peach. It’s so fresh and rare!
What makes you love this recipe?
It’s a time consuming but really satisfying recipe. Also, the rendition of the overturned tart that appears large is very theatrical, and it is also something that pleases the audience. It’s a perfect dessert for summer. One of his ways to simplify this, if you prefer, is to use a very good store-bought pie crust.
Do you have any recommended kitchen tools to make this?
I always recommend buying spiders. This is a Chinese slotted spoon perfect for poaching peaches. Gently cup the peaches to perfection. It also goes well with custard flavoring using peach leaves.
Other essentials: A heavy-bottomed baking dish made of cast iron or copper. A thick-bottomed pot suitable for making custard and caramel. Heat-resistant rubber spatula, stand mixer, sharp whisk, sharp knife, offset spatula. With this you can do anything!
What are the standout ingredients that make this recipe so special?
Ripe fresh peaches in season, peach leaves if available, and a delicious homemade or store-bought buttery pie crust.
Can I exchange materials?
If it’s dairy-free, you can’t make custard, but you’ll serve it with dairy-free ice cream. You can use vegan butter and vegan pie crust for your tarts. It’s delicious when combined with vegan ice cream or berry sorbet!
Have a cooking hack you’d like to share?
To peel peaches, simply boil them briefly in water. If you want skinless peaches, this is a great technique for many recipes. Be sure to chill in ice water so the skin doesn’t come off easily and cook the peaches.
What advice would you give to someone intimidating about baking?
Enjoy the process! It takes time, but it’s worth the effort. Please read the instructions twice before you start. Before you start, make sure all your equipment and materials are ready. This recipe is all about timing!
What do you want people to feel when they make your recipe?
I really want people to think more like cooks when they bake bread. Desserts and baked goods are often too sweet, so this is to balance the flavors in the recipe. My role is to help people become more comfortable with baking seasonally, trust their instincts and improve their skills.
What other recipes in your book should I make first?
My Brown Sugar Victoria Sponge is the perfect primer for baking layer cakes. And I love all the cookies in the book, including the blonde peanut butter cookie and the vegan chocolate chip cookie.
What’s your favorite snack to try at Violet?
California cakes and of course cupcakes, especially seasonal fruit cupcakes. And the famous egg yolk chocolate chip cookie!
Excerpt from “Love is a Pink Cake” by Claire Ptak. Copyright 2023 Claire Ptak.