Tiny tarts that taste like summer. A couple of mouthfuls and they’re gone, but they’re light to eat, simple to make and go down a treat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of crème fraîche.
Prepping them is mostly an assembly job although you do need to make the mint sugar in advance, ideally a day ahead, to give it time to dry out. You’ll have more than you need here but it’s great on grilled pineapple and for frosting the rims of cocktail glasses. Keep it in a tightly closed jar.
As peaches are usually absymal in the UK, I’ve taken a leaf out of Nigella’s book and used tinned fruit. By all means use fresh, peeled and stoned peaches if you can get good, ripe ones in season.
For the jam, try peach, pineapple, golden plum or apricot. My preference would be for a preserve that’s on the tarter side but use whatever makes you happy.
Peach and Mint Pastries
Ingredients for the mint sugar:
50g caster sugar
About 6g fresh mint leaves (enough to loosely fill a coffee mug)
For the tarts:
1 x 410g tin of peaches in syrup (240g drained weight)
8g fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp mint sugar + more for sprinkling
Zest of 1/2 lime (or more, to taste) or the zest of 1/2 lemon
1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry, preferably all-butter
Your choice of jam (see intro)
Beaten egg, to glaze
Mint sprigs, to garnish
Make the mint sugar first – best done the day before. Put the sugar and roughly chopped mint leaves in a food processor and whizz until you have a thick green paste and the mint is completely amalgamated with the sugar.
Spread onto a shallow dish and allow to dry completely, stirring occasionally to stop it clumping. If it ends up a bit lumpy, pound it with a pestle and mortar.
Turn your oven to 200C/180 fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Drain the peaches thoroughly, pat them dry with kitchen paper and dice them. Add to a bowl with 2 tbsp mint sugar. Grate over the lime or lemon zest and mix. Taste and add more zest if you think it needs it.
Unroll the pastry and cut into 12 equal squares or rectangles (four by three). Mark a border 1/2cm in from the edge of each one, being careful not to cut all the way through the pastry.
Transfer to a sheet of baking paper (if your pastry was wrapped in paper, use that) set on a baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes until the pastry is risen and pale.
Remove from the oven and flatten the central section inside the border, using the back of a spoon. Add a teaspoonful of jam to each tartlet, then top with the minted peaches. They’ll have produced a syrup … strain it off but keep it for later.
Brush the top of the pastry rim (not the sides or you’ll inhibit any further rise) with beaten egg, then sprinkle with mint sugar.
Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden and well-risen. Allow to cool before serving. Just before you want to eat, brush the peaches with a little of the leftover syrup and garnish with sprigs of mint. They’re best eaten on the day they’re made.