Peach Tart with Basil and Mascarpone
1 C. mascarpone cheese
1/4 cream (possibly aÂ bit more)
Â½ C. basil chiffonade (leaves rolled and cut into very thin ribbons) plus more sprigs for garnish
Â¾ C. sugar
1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons fine yellow cornmeal
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2â€‘teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
4 large peaches
Prepare Filling::Â Using aÂ hand mixer or whisk whip together the mascarpone cheese, cream, and 1/4â€‘C. sugar. Add the cream aÂ little at aÂ time. You are looking for aÂ sour cream consistency, very smooth with no lumps. Mix in 1/4â€‘C. basil chiffonade at the very end until just incorporated. Refrigerate filling, covered, until you are ready to assemble the tart.
Make Tart Shell: Whisk together the flour with the cornmeal, and salt in aÂ large bowl. In aÂ smaller bowl mix egg yolk, cream, and vanilla. In aÂ 3rd bowl cream the butter and 1/4 C. sugar together using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix them together on medium speed until they form aÂ pale and fluffy paste, 2Â to 3Â minutes. Add the egg yolk mixture and mix them together on medium-low speed until well combined. Working in 3Â additions, add flour mixture to the bowl until just combined. IÂ find these additions easier to work with using aÂ wooden spoon so as not to over mix the dough. Working on aÂ piece of plastic wrap shape the dough into an oblong shape that is roughly the size of your tart tin (13 3/4â€‘byâ€‘4 1/4â€‘by-1-inch). Add an additional piece of plastic on top and roll aÂ rolling pin over the top to form aÂ smooth flat piece of dough about 1/4â€‘inch thick. Close up the plastic wrap and move dough to the refrigerator. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes, before using. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and peel off the top layer of plastic wrap. Invert the dough into the tart tin. It does not matter if it breaks or does not fit perfectly. Because you can press dough together and finish the shaping in the tart tin. The type with aÂ removable bottom works best. Trim edges of dough flush with pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Bake about 18 minutes until golden and crisp. Let cool completely on aÂ wire rack.
Make the Peaches: Peel the peaches. This can be accomplished easily if you blanch the peaches first. This will loosen their skin and the task is not nearly as messy as it would be with aÂ knife.
Prepare an ice bath in aÂ large bowl large enough for all the peaches. With aÂ paring knife, lightly score an XÂ onto the bottom of each peach. Bring aÂ large pot of water to aÂ boil. Carefully drop the peaches into the water for 1Â to 2Â minutes. Using aÂ slotted spoon, move the peaches into to an ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Once the peaches have cooled, the skin should peel off easily. You may need to get it started with aÂ paring knife, but most of the skin can be removed with your hands. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Cut each half into 4Â or 5Â evenly sized wedges. Stir together the peach wedges, remaining 1/4â€‘C. sugar, 1Â tablespoon water, and remaining 1/4â€‘C. basil in aÂ medium sized saucepan with aÂ lid, set over medium heat. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the peaches have softened, become aÂ uniform color and released their juices, about 6Â minutes. Let the peaches cool completely in the syrup.
If necessary, right before assembling remove the peaches using aÂ slotted spoon and continue to cook the juices until they have thickened to aÂ syrup.
Assemble the Tart: Spoon mascarpone filling into tart shell. Top with the peaches in an attractive manner, spooning the thickened juices over the top. Garnish with more basil sprigs or leaves.