Simple And Sweet: Peaches With Amaretti Crumble
We're nearing the end of peach season, and I've finally made a peach dessert! I came across a ton of enticing peach recipes in the August issue of Bon Appetit and chose the roasted peaches with amaretti crumble for their simplicity -- while my boyfriend is all about apple pie, he wasn't so sure about peach pie, and I figured simply baking some peaches would be a better way to find out than spending time baking a whole pie. I love peach pie and warm peaches, so for me this recipe had the potential to be very tasty.
The main component of the crumb topping is amaretti cookies, which I thought I would have no trouble finding in a grocery store. Giada mentions them on The Food Network so often that I figured they'd be readily available nowadays. This was not the case. We searched the cookie aisles and bakeries at Stop & Shop, Shaw's, and Whole Foods with no luck. I thought for sure I'd at least find some Stella D'oro ones. (Has anyone else noticed that the Stella D'Oro selection has gotten awfully light? I can never find anginetti cookies anymore either. Apparently, the Bronx factory will be closing in October and operations will move to Ohio. That doesn't bode well for my ability to find anginetti cookies in the future.)
It got to the point where I was thinking of trying to make a batch of amaretti cookies just so I could try this peach dessert. Luckily I have a good friend who lives in the North End. I asked her if she wouldn't mind checking for the cookies on her way home from work one night -- we had plans to meet up the next day, and I hoped she could bring the cookies then. As luck would have it -- luck or the multitude of Italian bakeries there -- she found them at Mike's Pastry. Mike's even offered different varieties of the amaretti cookies. Hopefully there's an Italian market or bakery near you where you can easily find these cookies and make this scrumptious dessert.
Roasted Peaches with Amaretti Crumble (from Bon Appetit, August 2009)
My version uses one large peach to make the perfect after-dinner treat for two. I kept the filling amount the same and bagged up the extra and have it in the fridge if I decide to make more peaches.
5 amaretti cookies (Italian macaroons; about 3/4 ounce total)
3 tablespoons whole almonds (i used blanched)
2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 firm but ripe large peach, washed
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter square glass baking dish. Cut peach in half and remove pit. I found it easiest to split the peach by cracking the pit a little with a large knife and then pulling the sides away from each other. Then use a small paring knife to cut away the pit and any hard peach around it.
Combine cookies, almonds, flour, and sugar in processor. Pulse until cookies and almonds are coarsely chopped. Add chilled butter to processor. Pulse topping mixture until moist clumps form.
Place peach halves, cut side up, in prepared dish. Fill peaches with topping and spread some over the peach, leaving 1/4-inch plain border.
Bake peaches until tender when pierced with knife and topping is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Cool slightly.
Serve with ice cream if desired. We didn't have any in the house and were too lazy and tired to walk the three-and-a-half blocks to Christina's to get some, so I just sprinkled powdered sugar on top.
I liked the warm peach with the crunchy almond-flavored topping, but I thought these were missing something (besides just ice cream). If I make them again, I'm thinking of adding brown sugar, melted butter, or maybe amaretto. They needed more liquid to moisten them. Maybe I was expecting something more like a syrupy baked apple. Either way, these were still very tasty and the almond crunch paired well with the peach.
My boyfriend liked them well enough, but I haven't converted him from apples, which is okay because there's a mouthwatering Dutch apple pie on the cover of Entertaining from Cook's Illustrated that has recently been added to my must-make list!
So... warm peaches: yea or nay?
Labels: Desserts - fruit