Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peach Bruschetta with Mascarpone

My go-to summer appetizer has become a singular obsession. It’s simple: Mascarpone, speck, and sliced peaches. Put this on toasted baguette rounds, and you’ve created the last rays of summer.

Each time I make these for a party, I tweak them a little. I add a few cranks of  pepper or some tiny nodes of flowering basil. The minute I set them on a table, they vanish and itty bitty taste-gasms ensue.

The key is good Mascarpone. I’ve experimented with different brands and I have to say that, although it’s cheeky expensive (as much as $8.99 for a wee tub), the BelGioiosi brand boots the Whole Foods brand ($2.99). The latter is silken but virtually tasteless, whereas BelGioioso is sweetly milky.

If you’ve never tried Mascarpone, prepare to wallow. It’s like Nutella’s blonde cousin – you’ll want to slather it on bread and then fall, panting, onto the couch. It’s great with jam, and it’s got half the calories of butter – as if you care.

If you’ve never met speck (pronounced shpeck), you’re really in for a breathless moment. Imagine Prosciutto’s suave brother – a slightly smoky character from the Alto Adige region of northern Italy. It’s less salty and more nuanced than Prosciutto.

Enough naughty talk. Go to the store. If you have leftover Mascarpone, you might want to make anchovy toasts. They're my favorite thing to make on New Years Eve with Champagne.

Peach Bruschetta with Mascarpone and Speck

Speck (about ¼ lb)
2 peaches
1 baguette
Olive oil for drizzling
White or black pepper
Fresh basil

1.    Preheat oven to 375.
2.    Thinly slice baguette into rounds and drizzle with olive oil. Bake on a cookie sheet until brown, flipping once.
3.   While baguette rounds cool, slice peaches and toss with a little olive oil and a few cranks of pepper – this will keep them from drying out.
4.   Shmear baguette rounds with Mascarpone. Add a layer of speck, a peach slice, and top with chopped fresh basil.


  1. Wow, that really looks amazing! Mascarpone is so incredibly versatile, isn't it? One of our local foodbloggers (in Seattle) posted this awesome mascarpone omelette recipe a couple years back: http://seattlefoodgeek.com/2008/03/crab-and-mascarpone-omelette

    Keep up the beautiful work,
    Beecher's Handmade Cheese

  2. At the late, lamented Sovalo (now the Blind Pig on 2nd St), they had a similar bruschetta that used robiola in place of the mascarpone. It was delicious. Miss that place...

  3. Your photos are killing me!! I'm dying from dehydration by drooling my tongue out. Looks fabulous Ms. Fromage ;)

  4. I would like to add that Speck is also most definitely an Austrian tradition - I think the Italian region of "Südtirol" just likes to take credit for it :)

  5. Duckyspazz, I appreciate your note. I got rebugged at a party for saying that Speck was a German cured meat, so you indicate that I am closer to the truth than I thought. Of course it was an Italian who gave me the "huh uh." I guess everyone loves speck and wants to be its god.