Peach and Lemon Pastries Recipe

Sweet peaches are balanced out by the tang of lemon in these delicious tarts

Peach and lemon pastries. Picture / Supplied

If you are talking about temptation, the humble apple pales in comparison to a beautiful velvety peach with its sweet and moist pulp and tangy skin, or a perfectly ripe plum with its shiny, translucent-burgundy colour and juicy flesh. In this recipe from The French Baker, Jean Michel Raynaud has used well-ripened peaches (or you could try apricots or plums) with a small amount of lemon zest to balance out the sweetness of the fruit.

Makes 18 

350g custard
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp cream
1 kg croissant dough
2 eggs
Pinch of fine salt
9 ripe peaches, halved, stones removed and cut into 4mm thick slices

1. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the custard on low speed until smooth. Add the lemon zest and cream and whisk for another 3–5 minutes, or until smooth and shiny. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.

2. Roll out the croissant dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 30 x 60cm rectangle, dusting with extra flour when needed to ensure the dough doesn’t stick to the surface. If you haven’t achieved a perfectly shaped rectangle with your rolling pin towards the end of the rolling process, simply stretch and pull the dough into shape using your hands.

3. Before you begin cutting your rolled-out dough (abaisse), fluff it up by running your hand underneath it and lifting it up gently on all sides. Using a large knife, cut the dough into eighteen 10cm squares. Try to cut the pastry using one single motion of the knife, and avoid dragging the knife through the dough. Place the squares on a baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until cold and firm. 

4. Working with one pastry square at a time, and keeping the others refrigerated, place it on the work surface. Fold in each corner so they meet in the centre, then use your thumb to press the ends together to seal. Place on a lined baking tray and repeat with the remaining squares, leaving a 10cm gap between each. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm place to prove for 2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

5. Preheat the oven to 180C. To make an egg wash, lightly beat the eggs and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

6. To check if your pastries are ready to bake, poke them with your index finger; they should feel soft but still elastic. If the pastry doesn’t bounce back after being poked, they are probably slightly overproved, so it’s a good idea to occasionally check on their progress towards the end of the recommended proving time. Using your fingertip, make a small indent in the centre of each pastry square. This will stop the folded pastry corners from opening up during the baking process and will force the dough to rise around the peaches rather than pushing the filling out from underneath. Spoon 1 tablespoon custard into each indent, then arrange the peach slices in a circular pattern on the custard. Brush the egg wash over the exposed pastry (see tips). Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.


While it might be a little fiddly, always fill your pastries before you apply the egg wash so that the custard sticks to the dough; otherwise, the custard (and the peaches) might slide off during the baking process.

Citrus rinds always need to be cooked to make them more palatable and, more importantly, so that they release their oils; however, they will burn very quickly when exposed to direct heat, so always mix them in a cream, or place them under any fruit, prior to baking.

• This is an edited extract from The French Baker by Jean Michel Raynaud, $75, published by Murdoch Books.

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