Desserts do not get any easier (or more delicious) than this simple recipe featuring fresh peaches. The tender fruit is stuffed with an amaretti cookie mixture then baked until the peaches are soft and the topping nicely browned. I used this dessert for our recent July 4th dinner and everyone loved them!
The weather has been hot here and hours in the kitchen are not advised. I did splurge recently and indulged in a full day of cooking for July 4th. We invited three good friends over for a casual dinner followed by an evening stroll downtown to view the fireworks.
The dinner menu didn’t really come together until the night before. I had a list of recipes I’d been wanting to try and tried to fit them all together into a cohesive meal. My focus started with Italian (I know, not the typical food of July 4th) but quickly morphed into more of a seafood theme. While I’m not known for my seafood dishes, I took this as an opportunity to explore outside of my comfort zone :-)
I made Prawn Cakes from Mark of No Special Effects, tomato and garlic stuffed squid, miso-coated halibut, and a garlic-anchovy pasta dish. The prawn cakes were amazing and the hit of our dinner (thank you, Mark!) — everyone raved about them and it was the first platter to be licked clean. Everything else was just ‘ok’ and none of it was photographed (since I hate making my guests wait).
Dessert might have been the only thing to rival the prawn cakes. And, if you have to choose to between something sweet or something made with prawns … well, the winner (for me) has got to be something SWEET! This peach dessert takes about 5 minutes to prep and bakes 35-40 minutes. I made it a few hours before dinner and served it at room temperature. It’s one of those desserts that is wickedly simple yet makes a favorable impression with everyone.
The base of the stuffing are amaretti cookies which can be found in most grocery stores. They are a light and super-crisp Italian cookie — I love them. Make sure to measure out the amount of cookies you’ll need first before you begin snacking on them ;-)
Peaches with Amaretti Stuffing
aka Pesche alla piemontese
from Italian: the essence of mediterranean cuisine
4 ripe peaches
juice 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup crushed amaretti cookies
2 Tb marsala or brandy
2 Tb butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tb sugar
1 egg yolk
Preheat the oven to 350. Using a sharp knife, cut the peaches in half and remove pits. Do not peel the peaches. Take a small spoon and scoop out a bit of the flesh to enlarge the hollow. Place peaches in a shallow baking dish, cut sides up. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Place crushed amaretti cookies into a bowl and stir in the brandy or marsala (I used brandy). Let this mix sit for a few minutes to soften slightly. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Spoon the cookie mixture into each of the peach halves, mounding it up as needed.
Place into the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The topping will be slightly brown and the peaches will be fork tender.
Serve warm or at room temperature with freshly whipped cream or a generous scoop of ice cream!