My mother has a repertoire of a few desserts that she does expertly but rarely and I'm sure I have her to thank for my relatively savory tooth. Baked peaches were one of these famous few and a dish that her grandmother used to make for her when she was a child growing up in Piedmont. Every summer, the minute I start to see ripe peaches in the market, I feel the need to bake up a batch and hope that they taste as good as my great grandmother's.
I have just returned from a blissful but brief visit to Italy where the peaches were in abundance and so juicy that I had to eat them over the sink. I crammed a two week holiday into 5 days with my oldest friend Catherine. She has the house across the way from me and as children we used to talk about being old ladies together in Italy. Sitting on 'The Wall' last week, we joked that we were finally living the dream! Ben joined us from London for just two nights and wrote how he felt like he'd been away for a whole week. There's something about being there (probably the lack of internet) that makes you feel wonderfully cut off and relaxed.
But back to those peaches! Ever since Aurora and I first discovered Bunches & Bunches delicious Snaps ginger cookies, I've been dying to try them on top of baked peaches. It was one of those pairings that I just knew would work as an improvement on the traditional Amaretti di Saronno. The delicious smells emanating from the oven told me I was right before I even tasted them. Wanting to still include a little of that classic flavor, I added a few splashes of Amaretto into the baking dish.
Pesche alla Piemontese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 peaches (as ripe as you can find)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Amaretto
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Grease an ovenproof dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
3. Halve and pit the peaches and place in the ovenproof dish.
4. In a bowl, crumble the ginger snaps and mix with the sugar.
5. Divide the mixture among the peaches.
6. Dot each peach with butter.
7. Pour over the Amaretto (you could also use sherry or even white wine) allowing some to fall into the bottom of the dish.
8. Bake in the oven for about an hour and serve warm with creme fraiche.