A mixture of cocoa, egg yolks and amaretti biscuits fills baked halved peaches. Amaretti stuffed peaches is a classic summertime dessert from Piedmont, north-western Italy. Perfect in the second half of the summer when the fruits are in season, that’s when amaretti peaches are popular in Italian houses. And should be in yours, too.
A seasonal recipe’s beauty lies in the fact that it is not something you get to enjoy on a daily basis. There’s something exclusive about recipes that require a specific ingredient that is only in season for a short period of time. It means it’s not something you get to enjoy year round and that leaves you with a craving that you know can only be quenched when the right time comes.
That has always been the case with amaretti stuffed peaches. My mom would make them just a couple of times a year, and that was when fresh peaches were at the peak of their seasonality. Namely, August. Amaretti stuffed peaches are a late summer dessert. Unlike many summertime desserts that are all fresh and require no oven time, this recipe is designed to match a mid-August day in Piedmont, when days start to cool down in the evenings. Turning on the oven for 15 minutes or even enjoying this dessert warm doesn’t sound as crazy as it would in July.
Another dish from northern Italy: polenta concia with chanterelles.
Baked peaches with amaretti
The amaretti peach stuffing is made with peach pulp, cocoa, egg yolks and crushed amaretti. Amaretti is a type of almond biscuit traditionally made in Lombardy, widely available all over Italy but also found in specialty stores abroad. Amaretti ended up being the traditional stuffing for baked peaches, but it is believed that the very first versions actually featured crushed almonds instead of the biscuits.
Baking stuffed peach halves is said to have originated in countryside Piedmont, where peaches were greatly available to peasants, as well as the other ingredients: almonds, eggs and cocoa powder. Ever since its introduction to the royal family in Turin, cocoa was very widespread throughout Piedmont – this is where, after all, it was first mixed with hazelnut paste to make gianduja and ultimately Nutella. That’s why even a peasant recipe like baked peaches with amaretti featured such a fine ingredient.
Here are the ingredients to make amaretti stuffed peaches. For quantities and directions please refer to the recipe card below.
- Peaches – fresh peaches are to be preferred, as canned peaches in syrup are too sweet.
- Sugar – needed to balance the flavour of the filling since we’re using unsweetened cocoa.
- Egg yolks – eggs are mostly used as a binder, but even if their flavour is not dominant I recommend using free range high quality eggs.
- Amaretti – the almond biscuits are what gives this dessert its signature flavour.
- Cocoa powder – I use unsweetened baking cocoa powder.
- Butter – a thin layer of butter is used just before baking.
Amaretti biscuits are quite an important ingredient here, as they give the main flavouring, together with the cocoa, to the dish. If you can’t find amaretti you could sub them with crushed almonds trying to recreate the original recipe, but the filling may need major tweaks than just a single ingredient substitution, so that is not something I recommend. I’d rather choose another almond biscuit and follow this recipe.
How to make amaretti stuffed peaches
- Halve the peaches and remove the pits. Lightly carve the inside of the peaches to remove a little of the pulp, leaving edges that are all about a half cm thick. Place the peaches in an oven dish.
- Place the amaretti in a ziplock bag and crush them using a rolling pin.
- Combine the carved peach pulp with the sugar, egg yolks and cocoa and mix with a fork to create a homogeneous paste. Stir in the crushed amaretti.
- Divide amaretti mixture between halved peaches. Add a thin slice of butter over the top of each stuffed peach.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 200°C (390°F) for 15 minutes, or until the peaches feel soft and cooked through. This may depend on the thickness and firmness of the fruits. Very ripe peaches may take as little as 10 minutes, but I find that 15 is the best for me.
The butter melts as the peaches bake, pouring over the edges of the peaches and helping with a light caramelization. I am a butter fangirl so I would never advise against using it, but especially in this case please don’t. It’s just a small amount but it gives a nice finish.
Salted butter works equally great – another thing I strongly support is a pinch of salt in your sweets, after all.
This recipe only calls for yolks, and they’re from only 3 eggs, so not enough to make Pavlova (although you could always halve the quantities!). So here’s another delightful recipe to help you not waste your egg whites: soft hazelnut cookies. Inspired by another recipe from Piedmont, these soft and chewy cookies are very easy to make and only require 3 ingredients!
You may have tasted panna cotta (Nutella panna cotta, even better!), but did you know any other dessert from Piedmont? Piedmont is definitely more renown for its meat, cheese and wine, but the dessert choice is also surprisingly delicious. And speaking of wines, make sure to pair your amaretti stuffed peaches with a glass of Moscato or Brachetto. From Piemonte, of course.
Amaretti stuffed peaches
Baked peaches stuffed with amaretti cookies and cocoa. A traditional dessert from Piemonte that features Italian almond cookies Amaretti.
- 4 peaches
- 75 g sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 80 g amaretti
- 60 g cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp butter
Place the amaretti in a ziplock bag and crush them using a rolling pin.
Halve the peaches and remove the pits. Lightly carve the inside of the peaches to remove a little pulp, leaving edges that are all the same thickness (about a half cm). Place the peaches in an oven dish.
Combine the carved peach pulp with the sugar, egg yolks and cocoa and mix with a fork to create a homogeneous paste.
Add the crushed amaretti to the mixture and stir in.
Divide amaretti mixture between halved peaches.
Add a thin slice of butter over the top of each stuffed peach.
Bake in the preheated oven at 200°C (390°F) for 15 minutes, or until the peaches feel soft and cooked through.
Serve either hot or cold. Amaretti stuffed peaches taste best lightly warm. They microwave well.