While there are plenty of reasons to happily anticipate the end of August, with its miserable heat and attendant aroma of marinating trash, Birdbath Bakery’s summer fruit tart is good enough to inspire the irrational desire for the season to stick around for a while longer.
Instead of using a traditional tarte sable or sucrée dough, the bakers at Birdbath have chosen to adapt the bakery’s famed croissant dough for their purposes. It’s a wise choice: The crust is comprised of thin, flaky layers that puff up into a buttery, alluringly savory base for the fruit, which is arranged in such lovely fashion that it would be right at home in a jeweler’s display case.
Beauty here is not skin-deep, however: The flavor of the fruit is as lavish as its hue, and the peaches in particular are sweet and meltingly tender enough to inspire fleeting religious epiphanies. Because the bakery doesn’t use much in the way of pastry cream — the thin, lemony layer is more a suggestion than a reality — there’s nothing to distract from the fruit, which is adulterated only with a bit of confectioner’s sugar. The tart’s crust is bedazzled with chunky crystals of turbinado sugar, which provide crunch and a subtle, caramelized flavor that underscores the natural sweetness of the fruit.
Altogether, it’s one transcendental tart. Although its diameter — it’s almost the size of a 45 — suggests it weighs in on the Sweatpants end of the Fat Pants spectrum, it’s actually light enough (thanks mainly to its abundance of fruit and scarcity of pastry cream) to rate only a pair of Relaxed Fits, particularly if eaten on an empty stomach.
But make haste: As its name suggests, the tart, which is $5, will only be around for a couple more weeks. Making it just about the only reason to bemoan the end of the hottest, most sodden summer in recent memory.
223 First Avenue