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Author Notes: I have recently become addicted to the combination of peaches and basil. My dessert of choice this summer has been vanilla bean ice cream with peaches poached in basil simple syrup, and I've been thinking about what else I could do with the two. Why not put them in a tart shell? The cornmeal shell is light and gives a slightly salty contrast to the sweet, juicy peaches and basil baked inside. —Brianne Du Clos
Basil Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
For the tart:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter, chilled
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 2 pounds peaches (6 medium-sized)
- 1/4 cup basil simple syrup (see above)
- 1 tablespoon basil leaves, chiffonaded
- Make the simple syrup: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add basil leaves. Cover and let steep until cooled, 45-60 minutes.
- Make the tart crust: Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Add half the butter and shortening and cut into the dry ingredients until it looks like cornmeal. Add the remaining butter and shortening and cut in until the dough forms pea-sized pieces. Add up to three tablespoons of ice water to bring the dough together. Bring the dough together into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Prepare the peaches: peel, pit, and slice the peaches about 1/4 inch thick. Toss with simple syrup and extra basil.
- Assemble the tart: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the tart dough and press it into a 9 inch tart pan. Prick the dough and prebake it for 10 minutes to set the crust. Allow the crust to cool. Arrange the peaches quasi-artfully into the prebaked shell and return to the oven until the crust browns and the peaches release their juices, 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for A&M Smackdown / Your Best Peach Pie or Tart