Noah's Galley

Thomas Jefferson's Peach Tart with Brandy Sauce

"We abound in the luxury of the peach," Jefferson once said in the height of peach season.

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup butter

2 tblsp. brown sugar

1 tube almond paste sliced

2/3 cup softened butter

3 large eggs

8 peaches, cut into wedges

Brandy Sauce (Recipe below)

Process almonds in a food grinder until finely ground, add flour, 2/3 cup butter and brown sugar.

Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 11 inch tart pan. Chill one hour.

Line crusts with foil, fill with weights or dried beans and bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove weights and foil. Bake an additional 5 minutes until lightly browned.

Process almond paste, remaining 2/3 cups butter, and eggs in processor or mixer approximately two minutes until smooth. Pour into crusts. Arrange peach wedges over the top.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, shielding edges with foil, if necessary to prevent over browning. Remove from oven and cool.

Thomas Jefferson's Brandy Sauce

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. cornstarch

2 cups whipping cream

7 egg yolks

1/4 cup peach brandy

Cook the sugar, cornstarch and cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring contantly until sugar dissolves.

Whisk the yolks until frothy, and add some of the warmed cream into the yolks and mix. Pour the yolks into the hot mixture and cook over medium heat stirring constantly 3 to 5 minutes until thickened. Stir in brandy. Yield 3 cups.

Mixing the warm cream into the yolks helps keep the eggs from scrambling.

Thomas Jefferson's writing talents continued into the kitchen where he wrote recipes, journals, and a cookbook.

He once wrote, "All my wishes end where I hope my days will end, at Monticello."

In 1819 Thomas Jefferson said, "I lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that as a condiment for the vegetables, which constitute my principal meal."

So earnest was Jefferson's passion for growing excellent foods in his home garden he searched foreign lands for seeds to plant. He kept detailed journals during his travels abroad of foods he ate so that he might have them recreated at his Monticello home.

In 1814 his prolific garden yielded 18 bushes of carrots. His cookbook contains a recipe called Carthusian in which blanched cabbage leaves are filled with boiled carrots and pigs tongues, and cooked for two hours.

The table was bountiful and bold when Jefferson played host at Monticello, and the White House (1801 to 1809). When Rev. Manasseh Cutler dined with Jefferson in 1802, a strange dish of noodles befuddled him. Reverend Cutler wrote: "Dined at the President's, a pie called macaroni which appeared to be a rich crust filled with the strillions of onions, or shallots, which tasted very strong, and not agreeable. Mr Meriwether Lewis told me there were none in it; it was an Italian dish, and what appeared to be onions was made of flour and butter and a particularly strong liquor mixed in. (Jefferson's recipe for macaroni, in fact, had no liquor in it.) Jefferson also served the first ice cream to his guests, who marveled at something cold enclosed in a covering of warm pastry.

Thomas Jeffersons favorite foods were simple foods. Corn on the cob, sweet potatoes and greens.

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