Peachy keen dessert: baked almond-stuffed peaches

Stuffed with dried apricots, toasted almonds and crushed Italian amaretti cookies to bind the filling, peaches make a fabulous warm dessert. Vanilla (or ginger!) ice cream is a natural topper.

Peachy keen dessert: baked almond-stuffed peaches

Prep time 30 min

Cook time 40 min

Serves 8

  • 5 large ripe but firm peaches, divided
  • 10 dried apricot halves, finely chopped
  • 6 amaretti cookies, crumbled
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) almond extract
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) brandy
  • 1 large egg white
  • 75 g (1/3 c) chopped, blanched almonds
  • 50 g (1/4 c) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Half-fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cut four of the peaches in half (do not peel) and remove the pits. Slide the peaches into the boiling water and cook until they just begin to soften, about two minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches onto paper towels to drain. Place the peaches, cut side up, in a 23 x 33-centimetre (nine x 13-inch) baking dish.
  4. Peel, pit and finely chop the remaining peach into a medium bowl. Add the apricots, cookie crumbs, almond extract, brandy and egg white. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Heat a small nonstick skillet over high heat for one minute, then add the almonds. Turn and toss them until golden and lightly toasted, two to three minutes. Add the almonds to the fruit mixture and toss.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the cavities of each peach half, heaping it up and pressing it together gently. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Cover the baking dish with foil.
  7. Bake until tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F), and bake until the topping is golden brown, five minutes longer.
  8. Serve warm with ice cream, if using.

Personalize it!

To make raisin-stuffed apples, substitute red-skinned baking apples (such as Cortland, Jonathan or Rome Beauty) for the peaches and 1/2 cup golden raisins for the apricots. Use 250 millilitres (one cup) coconut macaroon crumbs instead of the amaretti cookie crumbs, five millilitres (one teaspoon) vanilla extract in place of almond extract, and light rum instead of brandy. Add five milligrams (one teaspoon) ground cinnamon.

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