I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time seeking inspiration these days. Books, blogs, magazines, Instagram, Twitter – anything and everything that exposes me to new ways of seeing things and thinking about food, photography and writing. One of the drawbacks of this strategy, (and this is especially the case with social media) is that you’re more likely to be inundated with ‘noise’ than quality content, six days out of seven. But sometimes, sometimes Inspiration shows up in the most unlikely of places, when you least expect it. And that’s when you need to recognize the opportunity and run with it.
I had one such opportunity recently while catching up on Shutterbean‘s posts. Have you met Tracy? She’s as crazy, fun and honest in real life as she is on her blog. I highly recommend spending a couple of hours with her for some good laughs or recipe brainstorms. Or both. It’s a fine way to spend your day.
Anyway, Tracy recently spent a weekend in Napa to celebrate her birthday at The French Laundry. Outside of that mind-blowing, life-changing meal, she dined at a host of other establishments, Ad Hoc, being one of them. Taking us through Ad Hoc’s brunch menu, it wasn’t until she got to dessert – a peach tart of puff pastry topped with a nut streusel and served with ice-cream – that the idea factory in my mind started to do what it’s supposed to do. With a bag of fresh Alberta peaches in our fridge and puff pastry dough sitting in our freezer, this tart was practically begging to be made. And it was well worth it.
Peach Tart with Pistachio Streusel & Mascarpone Cream
After those chicken pot pies, I still had half a batch of puff pastry sitting in my freezer, waiting for the perfect dish to come along to use it up. This tart is it. The recipe below makes enough puff pastry dough for a 6-by-10-inch tart, although I highly recommend making more and freezing the leftovers. There’s nothing more rewarding than baking up homemade puff pastry on a whim.
Puff Pastry crust
- 2¼ oz/ 63g all-purpose flour
- 1¾ oz/ 50g pastry flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick/ 113g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons/ 45ml very cold water
- Begin with the puff pastry. Stir together the flours and the salt on your work surface or in a very large bowl. Add the cubes of butter and work them into the flour, breaking down the cubes until you get small lumps of butter scattered throughout the mixture.
- Make a well in the center and add the cold water, then quickly mix until the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. Shape into a disc, wrap with plastic, then refrigerate the dough for 20 to 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle with a half-inch (1.5cm) thickness. Bring the short ends of the rectangle to meet in the center, then fold in half to form a book fold. Wrap in plastic, then chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling two more times.
- 1 lb/ 450g ripe peaches (about 2 large), pitted, peeled and sliced
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons rum
- ½ cup packed/ 4 oz/110g brown sugar
- 2 oz/ 63g all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons/ 15g pistachios
- 1 oz/ 25g all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons/ 27g unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz/ 113g mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- While the dough is chilling in the freezer, prepare the other elements, starting with the peaches. In a medium bowl, toss the sliced peaches with vanilla extract, rum and sugar, then add the flour, tossing well to coat each slice. Set aside.
- To make the streusel, coarsely chop the pistachios in a food processor, then add the flour and butter and pulse a few times until you get pale yellow crumbs of different sizes.
- Stir the mascarpone, milk and honey together in a small bowl, then whip everything together until you get a smooth and thick consistency. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
- When you’re ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 400F/ 200C. Remove the dough from the freezer and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 12 by 8 inches and half-inch (1.5cm) thick.
- Transfer the dough to a lined baking sheet and arrange the peach slices, leaving a ½ to 1-inch border around the fruit. Fold the edges in and trim off any excess. Generously sprinkle the streusel topping over the tart.
- Whisk together the egg and water then gently brush the mixture around the edges of the tart. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the edges turn a golden brown.
- Rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with a generous spoonful of whipped mascarpone on the side.