Unfortunately my holidays in Verona and Berlin are over, and they were wonderful: Verona (we used Verona as a base to go to Villafranca, where we went to Ben Harper's concert: I still have goose bumps only thinking about that concert, but I'll tell you later) is a calm city, with a delicate and subtle beauty, while Berlin is a city rich in recent history, full of life, modernity, movement. As soon as I can I'll show you some pictures of my holidays, as soon as I have time to reorder them, and with them to reorganize my memories … I promise that soon I'll tell you with pictures and words these places and the emotions that they left behind, but probably I'll do it after (or during, who knows?) a last (or penultimate?! I'm very cryptic, today) and unexpected seaside holiday to Albenga (in Liguria), where I want to devote myself to seaside, relax and detoxification from Berlin's food (don't worry … I'll tell you later all the unspeakable things that I managed to swallow down).

But, before leaving, I had to leave a recipe that highlights this one day of homecoming, with a sweet typical (veeery typical) of the Piedmontese summer: peaches stuffed with amaretti and cocoa powder.

I want to play it safe: being a traditional and familiar recipe, there are thousand of them and almost all aren't based on established quantities, but they go "to the taste". I'll try to give you some indications, but it's, as always, a matter of taste and preferences. There's one certainty in all this: however the filling comes out (too soft, too hard, not so sweet, too sweet), your stuffed peaches, once you'll get them out of the oven and once they're cold, they'll be divine …. And this is not trivial.

STUFFED PEACHES

Ingredients (for 10 peaches)

* 10 ripe peaches, but not too ripe

* 100 g amaretti (you can add some more, if you like)

* 2 or 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder (the mixture color must be quite dark)

* 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar (you can increase the dose, if you like)

* a small egg (or just the yolk of a large egg).

* 50 g cold melted butter

* a pinch of cinnamon (if you like)

* 2 tablespoons of amaretto liqueur

Procedure

Wash the peaches ('cause they WON'T be peeled), cut them in half and remove the pit. Now excavate a little (I do it with a melon scoop, which is perfect for this use) around the hole left by the pit (so you expand the cavity where you'll put the filling) and put the extracted pulp in a bowl, mashing it with a fork (if you prefer, you can blend it briefly in a food processor: it's important that you don't blend it too much, because it has to have some consistency). Arrange the peaches shells on a baking pan and preheat the oven to 356° F (180° C).

Crush the amaretti in a food processor (or using a rolling pin, a meat pounder or whatever you want) and place them in the bowl along with the peach pulp. Add cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon (if you want), egg (or egg yolk), melted butter and amaretto liqueur and stir with a wooden spoon or a whisk, until you have a smooth mixture (don't worry if it seems too soft or too hard: it will be perfect anyway – and its consistency depends on how juicy your peaches are).

Now fill the peaches shells with the filling using a spoon: the filling should be plentiful, but not too much, otherwise it'll overflow during cooking. If you have some filling leftover, place it in a cocotte and bake it in the oven together with your stuffed peaches: it will be delicious even alone.

Bake peaches (and filling leftovers) in a preheated oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the peaches will seem soft to you (they have to look a bit "withered").

Pull the peaches out of the oven and let them cool down at room temperature. When peaches are cold, put them in the refrigerator at least for 1 or 2 hours, so that the filling will thicken and that the peaches will become perfectly cold. If you have some peach leftovers (is it possible?!) keep them in the fridge and eat them the next day: they'll be equally good, maybe even more! This means that you can also prepare this dessert a day before, and the taste will be fabulous.

Serve them cold, sprinkled with cocoa powder, or accompanied by an amaretto.

 

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