Peach Parfaits with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Is there anything better than a ripe, juicy, golden peach in late summer?  If you have been lucky with your peaches this summer, this is the dessert for you. The original recipe called for apricots, but I thought juicy peaches would be even better, especially paired with gingersnap crumbs and the mascarpone whipped cream (which I think I could eat by the spoonful and slather on just about everything). I really liked the brandy in the recipe, but I think bourbon could be substituted as well. I apologize for the quality of the photographs, I made this dessert after dark, but hopefully they still show how delicious this dessert is!

adapted from: Food + Wine Magazine
serves: 4

2 tablespoons Cognac or other brandy
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3  1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
kosher salt
5 peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, and sliced into wedges
1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs from gingersnap cookies (graham cracker crumbs can be used as well)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped (or 3/4 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

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In a medium bowl, whisk the Cognac with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the superfine sugar and a pinch of salt until the sugar dissolves. Add the peaches and stir gently; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix the cookie crumbs with the butter, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1  1/2 tablespoons of superfine sugar until evenly moistened. Press the mixture into clumps and refrigerate until just firm, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stick blender, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla seeds or extract until stiff peaks form. (You can also had a splash or 2 of brandy to the mixture before beating.)

Stir the chopped mint into the peaches. Spoon the peaches and their juices into four 6-ounce dishes. Top with the mascarpone whipped cream and the crumble and serve right away.

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Make ahead: The peaches, mascarpone whipped cream and the crumble can be refrigerated separately overnight.

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