A few years ago my husband and I visited "his side" of the family in Benevento. We had been staying at the Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento, so the Esposito family sent their oldest son, Michele, to make the three-hour drive to pick us up.
As we returned to Benevento, I tried to make polite conversation in Italian. It was an exhausting mental exercise, to think first of all of what to say and then how to say it in grammatically correct Italian.
Guy, my husband, sat in the back seat, smiling and nodding his approval. It seemed the whole town knew we were coming. After a rousing greeting of benvenuti, we were ushered into the summer kitchen where mangia, mangia was the phrase of the day. The dinner was just what I expected, from antipasto to biscotti, but I particularly remember the fresh peaches with amaretti cookies for dessert: What a simple idea, yet what an unusual taste.
As seen in Program 1825
6 large ripe peaches
14 amaretti cookies
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Vin Santo or sweet Marsala wine
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Scoop out most of the fleshfrom each half but leave a firm shell about 1/4-inch thick. Put the fleshinto a bowl and mash well; set the peach halves aside.
Coarsely crumble the amaretti into a small bowl, add the pine nuts, and mix well. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crushed amaretti mixture and add the rest to the peach flesh. Add the sugar and enough of the wine just to moisten the mixture and mix just to blend.
Place the peach halves cut sides up in a buttered ovenproof dish. Divide the peach mixture evenly among the peaches. Sprinkle with the remaining wine around the peaches and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the peach shells are easily pierced with a knife.
Arrange 2 peach halves on each plate and spoon the cooking juices over.
This recipe is featured on show 1825. Peaches and Cream - Pesche e Panna.
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