Peach and marzipan tarts with amaretto ice cream
These pretty summer tarts can be prepared ahead and served cold, with or without the ice cream.
For the amaretto ice cream
- 568ml/1 pint double cream
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- 6 egg yolks
- 150g/5½oz caster sugar
- 2 tbsp amaretto liquor
For the marzipan
For the praline
For the puff pastry
- 250g/9oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 250g/9oz cold butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ tsp salt
- 125ml/4fl oz iced water
- 1 egg, beaten
For the tart filling
First make the ice cream. Put the cream and vanilla pod and seeds in a large saucepan and heat gently until it just starts to simmer.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale. Slowly add the hot cream, whisking continuously.
Pour the custard back into the pan and stir in the amaretto. Cook over a low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to let it get too hot or it might split.
Leave to cool completely. Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions until thick. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze.
For the marzipan, gently heat the sugar and 5 tablespoons of water together in a saucepan gently until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the syrup to the boil, then heat until it reaches 100C/220F (use a sugar thermometer to measure this). When a drop of the syrup is placed in cold water to cool down it should form a soft ball.
Mix the almonds, egg white and almond extract together in a bowl. Pour over the syrup and mix vigorously until it forms a thick paste. Cover, leave to cool to room temperature then chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, or until firm.
For the praline, melt the sugar in a frying pan over a medium heat, without stirring, until it forms a golden caramel. Remove from the heat and stir in the almonds. Pour the praline on to a large sheet of baking paper and set aside to cool and harden.
To make the pastry, tip the flour on to a work surface and make a well in the centre. Put the butter and salt in the well, then rub them into the flour using your fingertips of one hand, gradually drawing the flour into the centre using the other hand. When the mixture is grainy, gradually mix in the iced water. Don’t overwork the dough. You should have a marbled effect without mixing the butter in fully. Roll it into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Dust the work surface with flour and roll the pastry out into a 40x20cm/16x8-inch rectangle. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over it. Give the dough a quarter-turn. Repeat the folding and rolling, then wrap the block in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Repeat the folding, turning and rolling twice more, then wrap the pastry in clingfilm again and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Preheat the oven to 210C/190C Fan/Gas 7. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Dust the work surface with flour and roll the pastry out thinly. Cut out four 12cm/4½in diameter circles and lay them on the baking tray. Leaving a gap of about a centimetre round the edge, lightly score the middles of each pastry circle, making a grid of lines. This will stop the pastry puffing up too much in the middle. Brush each circle with the beaten egg.
Roll the marzipan out to 5mm/¼in thick. Cut out four 11cm/4in diameter circles and place each circle on top of a pastry circle. Arrange the peaches, overlapping in concentric circles, on the marzipan circles.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then brush it over the peaches. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the pastry is risen and golden.
Meanwhile, mix the apricot jam and 1 tablespoon of water together in a saucepan and heat until melted. Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. Brush this mixture over the tarts.
Serve the tarts with quenelle of ice cream on top and a sprinkle of broken almond praline, garnished with the mint.
If the marzipan is too hard to roll out, allow it to warm slightly at room temperature.