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Who says camp food has to be rugged and wrapped in foil? This lovely tart brings beauty and delicacy to the wild outdoors. It’d be perfect paired with your best set of camping lace and china. You do have one of those, don't you? Tarte tatin is traditionally an upside down apple tart, named after its inventor, the Tatin sisters, who ran a hotel in the Sologne region in France at the turn of the century. This version is much the same with its light crispy crust but instead it highlights the fruit of summer, peaches. This is a vegan recipe, and cooked indoors with a stove, but you can easily use non-vegan versions of the ingredients called for and cook it over a fire/hot coals. Regardless how you make it, this is a delicious dessert; or breakfast, if you swing that way.

peach tarte tatin

for the pastry:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into small cubes (I used earth balance)
1/4 cup coconut oil or shortening
2 -3 teaspoons maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener
1 – 2 Tablespoons ice cold milk

*you can substitute the spelt flour with all purpose flour, rye or whole wheat.

Sift flours and salt together. Measure out the coconut oil and milk (in separate bowls) and place in freezer while you cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter. When the butter is the size of peanuts, add the coconut oil and cut until the size of peas.

Drizzle the maple syrup in and mix with your finger, barely bringing the ingredients together; do not press. Add the icy milk by Tablespoonfuls until the dough just comes together. It should not be wet. Wrap in plastic wrap, press into a round disc and refrigerate at least an hour and up to two days.

for the filling:

1/3 – 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons butter (earth balance)
½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
½ teaspoon lemon juice
dash salt
5 – 6 peaches, halved and pitted

Bring brown sugar, water and butter to a boil in the dutch oven over medium heat or a low fire/embers. Let boil for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until thickened. Add vanilla bean, seeds, lemon juice and salt, remove from heat. Place peach halves in the pan, skin side down (you can skin them before if you prefer, but that just adds another step). You should be able to fit about 11 peach halves snugly.

Cover and place in preheated 375°F oven, or with coals below and twice as much on top, baking for about a half hour or until the peaches are soft. When the peaches are 5 to 10 minutes from being done, roll out the pastry dough into a round. Remove the peaches from heat and uncover. There will be quite a bit of juice so if you want you can ladle some out to assure less liquid and use the excess as a drizzle, or proceed with the pastry.

With a wooden spoon nudge the peaches so they are closer together, then lay the pastry dough over the peaches, tucking in the edges. Return to oven uncovered, or cover and set coals on top again (if outside) and let bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Let cool in the dutch oven for a bit, then either invert onto a serving plate or slice it into eight pieces and serve directly from the dutch oven. Garnish with crème fraiche, vanilla bean coconut whipped cream or coconut vanilla bean ice cream.

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