Speedy peach and amaretti tartlets
These tartlets really are the most delicious things, and they’re remarkably quick and easy to make for such a gorgeous result. I think they’re at their very best when they’re served barely warm with a scoop of icy-cold vanilla ice cream.
• 2 sheets ready-rolled butter puff pastry
• 4 medium-sized sweet, ripe (but not squishy) yellow peaches
• 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
• ½ – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• About 1/3 cup (110g) apricot jam, warmed so it’s runny, then strained
• Icing sugar, for dusting
• Vanilla ice cream or rich cream, to serve
• 60g amaretti biscuits
• 3 teaspoons caster sugar
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon plain flour
For the amaretti crumbs, pop the amaretti biscuits into a thick plastic bag (a zip-lock bag is ideal), seal it tightly, then crush the biscuits finely with a rolling pin. Tip them into a bowl; thoroughly mix in the caster sugar, cinnamon and flour, and set the mixture aside.
With a ruler as a guide, cut each sheet of pastry in half, then trim each half into a neat rectangle measuring approximately 9cm x 16cm. Use the tip of a sharp knife to lightly score a border, about 8mm wide, all the way around the edge of each rectangle, being careful not to cut right through. Sit the rectangles on the prepared oven tray and pop them in the fridge for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 200C.
Halve the peaches, and carefully peel away the skins before slicing them into thickish wedges. (I usually pull away a little skin before I halve the peaches to see how easily they peel. If the skin clings stubbornly to the flesh, you’re best to dunk the whole peaches in boiling water for 20 seconds or so, then quickly drop them into a bowl of cold water. Now try peeling them and the skins should pull away easily.)
Scoop the peach slices into a bowl and sprinkle the caster sugar on top. Drizzle in the vanilla and using your hands, gently mix them all together. (I find hands are best for this, as a spoon tends to make little gouges in the slices.)
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the amaretti crumb mixture into the centre of each rectangle and spread it out evenly, being careful to keep it within the scored border. Now sit a fairly tightly overlapping row of peach slices down the length of each rectangle, again keeping them within the border. There will be some sugary peach juices left in the bowl, so drizzle the peaches with these, being careful not to get the juice onto the border or down the sides as it may burn and stick the pastry layers together so they don’t rise properly.
Pop the tray in the oven and bake the tartlets for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and the peaches tender.
Preheat the grill to medium high. Brush the tartlets (including the pastry border) with some of the warm apricot jam then run them briefly under the grill for about 1 minute or until the edges of the peaches and pastry start to caramelise and darken (there may be some very dark bits but don’t worry, they taste delicious.) Watch them like a hawk as they can burn quite easily, and as soon as they’re ready, whisk them out from under the grill, dust them with icing sugar and leave them to cool a little. They’re lovely served warm or at room temperature. (If the tartlets are a good colour when they come out of the oven, there’s no need to grill them. Simply brush the peach slices with the jam, leave them a few minutes then dust the tartlets with icing sugar.)
To serve, simply sit a tartlet on each plate, dust it with a wee bit more icing sugar if necessary, and serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or cream.