Peach Melba tartlets
- Preparation and cooking time
- Total time
- More effort
- Makes 8 tartlets
- 350g ready-made white marzipan
- a little sunflower oil
- a little icing sugar , for rolling and sweetening
- 200g granulated sugar
- 1small lemon (juice, optional)
- a large bunch (about 50g) fresh basil
- 4large fairly firm peaches , yellow or white
- 500ml tub good-quality vanilla ice cream (you may not use it all)
- 250g fresh raspberry , plus 125g extra for serving
- 1-2 tbsp Framboise, Grand Marnier or white rum
- STEP 1
Brush the insides of 8 fluted tartlet cases (preferably loose-bottomed, about 6-7cm in diameter) lightly with a little oil, then line the bases with discs of non-stick baking paper. Dust the worktop lightly with sifted icing sugar and roll the marzipan out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out eight circles using an 9.5cm cutter (use a small saucer as a template if you don’t have a large enough cutter), re-rolling the marzipan trimmings if necessary.
- STEP 2
Fit the marzipan circles into each tartlet case, pressing lightly into the sides. If you have time, leave them to dry out overnight, uncovered, in the fridge.
- STEP 3
Using a blowtorch, brown each case evenly until it turns a caramel colour. Wait a few moments to cool until the marzipan starts to harden before turning out. These can be made up to 4-5 days ahead and stored in an airtight container.
- STEP 4
Heat the sugar and 500ml water slowly in a saucepan until the sugar starts to dissolve, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, peel 3 or 4 strips of zest from the lemon using a swivel peeler, and drop into the sugar and water. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil, then boil for about 5 minutes so you have a medium-strength syrup. Pick out a good handful of small basil leaves and reserve for decoration. Put the rest of the basil leaves and stalks into the hot syrup.
- STEP 5
Make a small criss-cross on the top of each peach (this helps the skins burst when cooking, so they are easier to peel). Slip the peaches into the syrup so they fit quite snugly together in a single layer. Cover with foil, then poach on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, depending on the ripeness, checking if done with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the peaches to a bowl with a slotted spoon and leave to cool.
- STEP 6
When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off each peach. Cut in half and twist to separate the halves then remove the stones. Strain the syrup back over the peaches and allow them to cool to room temperature so they take on the flavour. You can do this overnight if you want to get ahead, but return to room temperature.
- STEP 7
Thaw the ice cream for 15-20 minutes then beat it until slightly slushy. Scoop the softened ice cream into a large piping bag fitted with a medium star-nozzle and, working very quickly, pipe a nest of ice cream into the tartlet cases (or drop spoonfuls into each case to cover). Return the cases to the freezer and freeze until the ice cream is firm – allow at least an hour. Or they can now be frozen for up to 2 days.
- STEP 8
Whizz the raspberries in a blender. Start on low and gradually increase, adding 4 tbsp syrup to thin a little. Add alcohol. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, rubbing with the back of a spoon. Add lemon juice and icing sugar to taste if needed.
- STEP 9
Just before serving, remove 8 of the best peach halves from the syrup. Put the frozen filled tartlet cases onto 8 small plates and leave for about 5 minutes to soften. Sit a peach half on top of each tartlet. Arrange the reserved raspberries and basil around each tart. Spoon a little Melba sauce over each peach, but don’t flood them. Finish with a light sifting of icing sugar and serve immediately, handing round extra sauce in a small jug.