Peaches are summer's crowning shout. At the end of last summer I harbored a fanatical haul from a local orchard's final harvest, covering the kitchen table with boxes full of ripening peaches for canning, freezing and baking. I've found that when I save them to savor into the fall and winter months, they're bright with memories of hot sun and fireworks. There's nothing quite like biting into a fresh ripe peach, though, and these lemon shortbread cookies feel like the perfect throne. I can hardly believe it's nearly September. -Mallory
Lemon Shortbread with Peaches, Pistachios & Honey Mascarpone
for the cookies:
1/2 cup sugar
2 sticks butter (8 ounces), brought to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 cup flour
1-2 tablespoons demerara sugar, for sprinkling
to decorate the cookies:
1/4 cup mascarpone
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 fresh peaces, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup roasted pistachios
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream the sugar and butter together using a handheld or stand mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Mix in the salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla, then add in the flour in a few small batches while mixing on a low speed. Mix just until a dough starts to form. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured cutting board or surface and form into a disk. Seal with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to create the cookie, or simply cut the dough into 2 to 3-inch squares. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with demerara sugar. Transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch or so between each cookie and bake until the edges begin to turn light golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
While the cookies are cooling, whisk together mascarpone and honey in small bowl and set aside. Grind or finely chop the roasted pistachios. When the cookies have cooled, top each with the honeyed mascarpone, a generous sprinkling of pistachios and a fresh peach slice.