Peach and Prosciutto Tart

I love shopping at the food store, seeing all of the beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables sends me into a delirious state of happiness.  I love the daily ritual of examining the shelves to see what produce is singing out to me in all of its seasonal glory.  This morning I was doing my usual heavenly glide from one shelf to another when I spotted two of the most glorious peaches.  In the back of my mind I was deluding myself into thinking that perhaps by some miracle the fig season may have arrived early this year, but the thought quickly fleeted the moment I spotted the plump, juicy, little peachy darlings.  I knew I had to have them. 

As soon as I placed the peaches into my basket my mind quickly turned its attention to peach recipes.  I ran through my stored catalogue of peach memories...peach cobbler came and went, as did peach and almond slice, peach sponge cake wouldn’t do either.  The only thing that kept coming to mind was rockmelon and prosciutto.  Not to forgo my inner genius I thought a little further into this savoury and sweet combination.  I thought if rockmelon and prosciutto is such a great combo, why wouldn’t peach and prosciutto work.  Come to think of it, I've seen quite a few peach recipes lately where the peach is the star ingredient in a savoury dish.  On the drive home I thought if peach and prosciutto do in fact work well together I’ll team them up in a tasty tart.  Once I arrived home I twisted the peach open and wrapped it in a delicious slice of prosciutto.  With the first mouthful I was convinced, this is not only going to work but will be delicious! 

The tart is so easy to prepare.  I used shop bought puff pastry (I have no hope in the world of EVER making puff pastry as good as the shop bought stuff, I have accepted the fact and use it proudly...unless you are a master pastry chef, I suggest you save your tears and do the same), and topped it with a mixture made up of creamy ricotta, salty parmesan, lemon zest, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  When this luscious creamy mixture was spread over the par-cooked tart it made the perfect bed for the peaches and prosciutto to lie in as they bake blissfully in the oven.  Whilst the tarts were in the oven, I knew I wanted some freshness to liven up and bring the tarts into spring so I combined rocket leaves with roasted hazelnuts, Roquefort blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.  It took every ounce of self discipline I had to stop myself from devouring the salad before having the chance to place it on top of the cooked tarts.  I am glad that I had such self control because the finished product was divine. 

I never tire of watching puff pastry rise in the oven, watching the layers expand as they create flaky, buttery goodness is amazing.  I also took much delight in the salty aromas of the cooked prosciutto and the sight of the caramelised peach.  The moment I pulled the tarts from the oven I knew the salad combination I’d put together was going to work perfectly.    And it did.  The rocket provided just enough freshness to brighten the tarts and also added a gorgeous source of colour and the sharpness provided by the Roquefort was a complete sensory thrill, especially when combined with a mouthful of prosciutto and peach.  The hazelnuts were crunchy and delicious and the buttery, flaky puff pastry was the perfect canvas for this winning combination of ingredients.  Enjoy K xx

Peach and Prosciutto Tarts
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 cup ricotta
1 lemon, zested
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
Sea salt and pepper
2 peaches, sliced into wedges
8 prosciutto slices
2 large handfuls rocket
½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
100g blue cheese, crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 180°C and line an oven try with baking paper.  Place sheets of puff pastry on tray and cut 1.5 centimetre border from the left and right side of the pastry.  Place the trimmed edges on top of the left and right side of each pastry sheet to create a border.  Cook in oven for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and place a clean tea towel over the top of the pastry.  Gently push on the tea towel to flatten the pastry slightly.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile combine ricotta, lemon zest, parmesan in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  If the mixture is too thick, loosen by adding a squeeze of lemon juice.  Spread 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture over the middle of each pastry sheet and top with peaches and prosciutto.  Bake in oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Meanwhile combine rocket, hazelnuts and blue cheese in a bowl.  In a small jar combine 3 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar and shake.  Dress salad leaves with vinaigrette.
When tarts are cooked, top with salad and serve.

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