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Baked Sunset Peaches with Amaretti Filling, an Ode to Tuscan Summers

Italian Chef Deborah Dal Fovo shares her signature twist on this classic Italian dessert that is as luscious as a summer sunset.

Baked peaches in a pan.

Baked Peaches


Summer in Italy is a sensuous embrace of languid days and laid-back nights. A time to savor sunsets that paint the horizon with brushstrokes of gold, red, pink…and peaches kissed by the sun with tangy, drip-down-your-chin juices.

I like to think that my Baked Sunset Peaches with Amaretti Filling capture that essence of summer on a plate—both to the eye and the palate—in a personalized twist on the traditional Northern Italian spoon dessert. The name was inspired as they slid out of the oven, reminiscent of the sultry sunset gracing the Tuscan sky outside my door: golden orbs with ruby rims nestled in a pool of magenta syrup.

The traditional version of this dish traces its roots back centuries to Italy’s Piemonte region. The culinary landscape is replete with classic iterations by esteemed Italian authors like Ada Boni, Pellegrino Artusi, and Nonna Genia. Their recipes fill peach halves with crushed amaretti cookies—a regional almond macaroon—and often a dusting of cocoa powder before being baked. The pairing of peaches and almonds creates magical chemistry, a gastronomic marriage made in heaven where each element’s best attribute is enhanced when united in holy alchemy and, in this case, intensified with heat.

A baked peach with Amaretti filling on a plate.
A Baked Sunset Peach with Amaretti Filling.

My signature riff on the historic recipe goes straight to the heart of the ingredients. Instead of relying on store-bought cookies that can produce dry, disappointing results, I make a bespoke amaretti filling using freshly ground almonds, sugar, melted butter, and…peach pulp to intensify flavor, moisture, and color. As a final blessing before baking, the stuffed peaches are christened with a spritz of wine that mingles with their blushing skin to create a stunning magenta syrup beckoning to be drizzled. Once baked, the sweet crackle of caramelized surface surrenders to a spoon-soft, deep fruitiness and delicate nutty center, leaving a whisper of aromatic afterglow in the mouth.

Yet, akin to the soul-satisfying radiance of a late summer sunset, one must wait patiently until the latter half of the season to make this dish when freestone peaches—with flesh that separates freely from the pit—are available. Contrarily, clingstone peaches, prevalent in early summer, have flesh that stubbornly clings to the pit, discouraging easy separation. Perfect for uninhibited juicy indulgence, these peaches shy away from cooking endeavors due to their tendency to melt. Enter freestone peaches, a herald of the season’s second act, with flesh that parts easily from their pits with a gentle twist. Freestone peaches have a compact texture that holds up to heat, making them the epitome of baking perfection.

Baked Sunset Peaches with Amaretti Filling are my ode to the effortless elegance of Italian summers. Served slightly warm with a dollop of softly whipped cream alongside, their voluptuous taste and texture linger on the palate—and on the mind—making this naturally gluten-free dessert worth the wait to savor a last luscious bite of summer.

Note: if you’re making this in Italy where peaches are smaller, you’ll be able to fill more peaches than the recipe calls for (more to love : ).

Watch a cooking video of this recipe on my YouTube channel (video below).

Baked Sunset Peaches with Amaretti Filling

Baked Sunset Peaches with Amaretti Filling

Recipe by Deborah Dal Fovo
5.0 from 1 vote
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 3 ripe yet firm yellow freestone* peaches, without soft spots or blemishes

  • 5 tablespoons 5 granulated sugar

  • 6 tablespoons 6 finely ground blanched, peeled almonds (see note below)

  • 2 tablespoons 2 melted unsalted butter, plus more to grease baking dish

  • Dry white wine or Dry Marsala as needed

  • Soft, lightly sweetened whipped cream to garnish

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Generously butter a 9-inch round baking dish, preferably ceramic.
  • Wash the peaches under cold, running water and pat dry.
  • Divide each peach in half lengthwise using a sharp knife to cut along the natural crease of the fruit that runs from the stem dimple around its circumference.
  • Gently twist the peach halves apart to separate them and remove and discard the pits.
  • Using a melon ball tool or teaspoon, carefully hollow out a round, 1-inch cavity from the center of each peach half, reserving the pulp.
  • Arrange the peach halves, with cut side facing up, in the baking dish, fitting them snugly and leaning against each another to prevent tipping during baking.
  • Finely chop the reserved peach pulp and place it in a mixing bowl.
  • Add 5 tablespoons of the sugar, ground almonds, 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, and any peach juices that may have accumulated on the cutting board.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly until well combined.
  • Fill each peach hollow with 1-tablespoon almond filling, shaping it into a neat mound about the size of
  • walnut.
  • Lightly christen the peaches with the wine by dipping your fingertips in the liquid and flicking it over the fruit. Evenly sprinkle ½-teaspoon of the sugar on the surface of each peach then drizzle the remaining melted butter over them.
  • Place the baking dish in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the peaches are tender when tested with the point of a knife and the filling is golden and caramelized.
  • Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy the baked peaches slightly warm or at room temperature, accompanied with a dollop of softly whipped cream.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • *For this recipe, use freestone peaches with flesh that separates freely from the stone. They are available in the latter part of summer, as opposed to clingstone peaches in early summer, with flesh that clings to stone.
  • Note: Commercially available ground almonds are often labeled as "almond flour". If you prefer to make your own like I do, pulse 1-1/3 ounces/40g blanched, peeled almonds with 1 tablespoon sugar in a food processor until finely ground. If using homemade ground almonds, reduce the sugar in recipe by 1 tablespoon.

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