Could you get through July without eating a peach? Or bushels of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries? Neither could I. And thank goodness we don’t have to. Take a short drive to the farms and fields that are literally in our backyard to get your fair share of those eat-over-the-sink peaches and plump berries. Then load up your freezer with these goodies for great eating all winter long. Oh, and don’t forget to make a pie.

If you want to boost your pie making confidence by osmosis, plan on attending the seventh annual Concours de Tartes aux Fruits Aug. 7. At this event, chefs from all around Portland will meet in a competition to see who can make the best tart. My good luck continues to hold — I’ve been asked to help judge the competition, which is organized by the nonprofit Alliance Francaise of Portland in partnership with the Oregon Culinary Institute and Multnomah Athletic Club. Heading the panel of celebrity judges is James Beard award winner and French Master Chef Philippe Boulot, executive chef at Multnomah Athletic Club.

Alliance Francaise of Portland is a 100-year-old organization dedicated to promoting French language and culture.

More than 20 chefs are expected to participate in the competition, many of which have trained in France or studied with French chefs patissiers. Each contestant must prepare two 10- to 12-inch tarts of the same style, such as tortas, pies, French tarts, etc. They must be topped with fruit and fruit should be the predominant item of the composition of the tart.

Chefs interested in joining the competition can learn about it online at

The public is invited to the Concourse de Tartes, which will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Multnomah Athletic Club, 1849 SW Salmon St. in Portland. You will be treated to samples of the tarts, sparkling wines, Lillet aperitif wines, European-style cider, imported French cheeses and French-style hams. Tickets are $30 or $25 for Alliance Francaise members; call 503-223-8388 to secure your seats now.

Last year’s winners were Julia Eisen-Meyers and Sharon Espinoza from Fleur de Lis Bakery, Annie Yen of St. Honore Bakery and Bryan Robson of Bluehour Restaurant and Emily Shipp of St. Honore Bakery tied for third place.

Those looking for a unique summer drink should try Lillet aperitif wines. Lillet is a blend of wines flavored with orange peels, a blend of fruit liqueurs and quinine that is aged in French oak barrels. It is a light, refreshing and fruity wine that is served over ice then garnished with a slice of orange, lemon or lime. You can drink it straight or mixed in a cocktail. Use it to prepare the simple dessert, Peaches in Lillet, included today.

The Peach Tart with Honey and Thyme recipe is also simple to prepare. It uses purchased puff pastry as the base and the peach slices line up neatly to create an appealing dessert sure to wow friends and family.

Don’t miss out on the abundance of summer fruits. Visit the farmers markets, farms and farm stands often this summer.

And if you make a tart or pie, post a picture of it on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear of your summer pie successes.

Bon Appetite! Make eating an adventure!

Peach Tart with Honey and Thyme

Makes 8 servings

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

12 ounces ripe, but not mushy peaches (about 2)

1 tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzling

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Heating 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese

Put an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the puff pastry between two sheets of parchment paper, and roll it out a bit to make a 9-by-10-inch rectangle. Remove the top piece of parchment. Use the tip of a sharp knife to gently score the dough, without cutting all the way through, 1 inch from the edges all the way around. Transfer to a sheet pan and store in the freezer while you prepare the peaches.

Cut the peaches into 1-inch wedges. Toss them with the tablespoon of honey. Remove the dough from the freezer, sprinkle on the thyme, and arrange the peaches in a single layer on top, leaving the border clear.

Bake the tart until the crust is deep golden-brown and the peaches are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack, and cool slightly before serving.

Cut into squares, top each with a dollop of ricotta and drizzle some honey over the cheese.

Adapted from Food Network Kitchen

Peaches in Lillet

Makes 8 servings

8 ripe peaches, preferably freestone, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch wedges

1 750-milliliter bottle Lillet

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Toss peaches, Lillet and basil in a large bowl. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Cook’s note: Peaches can be marinated 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.

By Barb Randall
Staff Reporter
503-636-1281 Ext 100
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