Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Recipe: Peach-Mascarpone Tarts with Cornmeal-Rosemary Crust

The sophisticated flavors in these rustic tarts—hints of rosemary and chestnut honey—are reminiscent of Italy. By using high-quality dried peaches, your customers can enjoy them any time of year. Another enticing combination is a little fresh basil in the crust of a strawberry-rhubarb tart.

Yield: 4 (4-inch) tarts
Prep time: 45 to 50 minutes, plus unattended cooking and chilling time
Shelf life: 3 days


For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¹∕3 cup yellow cornmeal
½ tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chestnut or other flavorful honey
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (¹∕3 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2½ to 3 tablespoons ice water
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:

8 large dried peach halves
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
¹∕3 cup sour cream
¼ cup sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on crusts
1½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¹∕8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons strained peach preserves
1 tablespoon chestnut or other flavorful honey
4 small rosemary sprigs, for garnish


1. Prepare the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, rosemary leaves and salt and pulse to blend. Add the honey and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle the water evenly over the mixture and pulse until the dough just comes together. Gather into a ball, pat with flour, divide into four equal parts and roll into balls.
2. On a floured board, roll out the balls of dough into circles measuring about 6½ inches in diameter. Transfer to small tart pans, pressing the dough up the sides with floured fingers and trim the tops even with the pan. Gather the scraps, re-roll and cut out four 1-inch circles. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.
3. Heat the oven to 400 F. Prick the crusts and circles with a fork. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the middle of the oven until center and edges are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and cool in the pan on a rack. Watch that the circles don’t burn; prick the crusts if they puff up.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the peach topping and filling: Partially fill a medium-size pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the peaches, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the peaches are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, blot on paper towels and let cool.
5. In a small bowl, whisk the mascarpone, sour cream, sugar, lemon zest, almond extract and salt until smooth. Set aside until the tarts are cool.
6. To assemble: Spread the mascarpone filling in the tart shells. Lay one dried peach half, smooth side up, in the center. Cut remaining peaches lengthwise into thin slices and lay them slightly overlapping around the crust edges. Refrigerate until set, 30 minutes.
7. Place one pastry circle in the center of each tart. Heat the preserves and honey in a small pot or in the microwave and brush over the tarts. Add a sprig of rosemary to each and refrigerate until completely set.
NUTRITIONAL DATA (per tart): Calories: 460; Cholesterol: 105 mg; Sodium: 780 mg; Fat: 22 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g.
Joanna Pruess is a regular contributor to Specialty Food Magazine.

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