Pesche ripiene al forno
If there were a time in the culinary calendar when one could stop the clock, now would be a strong contender. For just a few British weeks, there is an abundance of ripe everything – the (imported) melons are still just about holding on, local tomatoes are – briefly – sweet and soft enough to be worth bothering with – and the soft fruit is still plentiful. Strawberries have gone of course; well, no they haven’t, but I’m all for seasonal eating, and strawberries out of season are usually only outdone for blandness by tomatoes…
But perhaps the highlight is the peaches; imported again, of course, but picked at a point when by the time they reach my kitchen, they are perfect. But they go over quickly, and this well-known Piedmontese recipe is a stunning way of rescuing them…
- Ripe (or even over-ripe) peaches, one and a half per person, plus a couple extra.
- Handful of crumbled Amaretti biscuits.
- Slug of Amaretto liqueur to taste
- Sprinkle of caster sugar
- Mascarpone to serve.
Cut the peaches in half; remove the stone and scoop out most of the flesh, leaving some to maintain the shape. Position the half-peaches open-side up in an shallow oven proof dish.
Remove the flesh from the extra peaches and add to the same. In a bowl or on a board, chop the peach flesh until fairly homogenous, but not just pulp.
Place the peach flesh in a mixing bowl. Crumble the Amaretti biscuits to taste into the chopped peach flesh and add a slug of Amaretto liqueur to taste. Mix briefly, until the biscuits soften just a little.
Fill the scooped-out peaches with the flesh until piled. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar and bake on a fairly high heat (200C) until browned on the top (perhaps 20-30 minutes).
Serve with a dollop of mascarpone.
I have seen a version with grated chocolate added to the mix; not needed in my opinion.