Special occasion. Family gatherings. Celebrations. What to make? Do you ever have that dilemma? Or are you the sort of person who is always expected to bring your special dish you are famous for? If you are reading this most likely you’re like me – always on the lookout for the next best recipe, that ultimate dish!
Recently I knew I wanted to bring something special to a family gathering celebrating the engagement of my niece and I knew just where to look. One of my favourite bloggers is Laura at Broxholm Road. Laura is not the most prolific blogger and sometimes I wait anxiously for her next recipe. Instead, when Laura posts a recipe you know it’s worth pursuing. I say pursuing because, as in this recipe, some ingredients are not always readily available and substitutions may need to be made.
Peche Dolci means “sweet peaches” in Italian – so named after the sweet peaches these pastries resemble. A little research on the subject brought to light the fact that they are often made for special occasions such as weddings, at Christmas or Easter. Obviously the reason is that they aren’t whipped up in half an hour. These treats take some time to make as do all good things. A sweet of Northern Italy, they are also traditional in Austria and other Eastern European countries filled with a variety of combinations of jam, chocolate, and pastry cream.
I have slightly adapted Laura’s recipe for Peche Dolce as it called for Alkermes liquor which is not something usually obtainable outside Italy. When I was a child, my dear late mother regularly made a delicious Zuppa Inglese using Cherry brandy-soaked savoiardi biscuits so I followed her example and substituted this for the Alkermes liquor. As a leavening agent use baking powder or self-raising flour if you can’t find the typical Italian leavening. I used my own recipe for vanilla creme patisserie and a chocolate ganache instead of the Nutella suggested in the original recipe. I used dark chocolate but I think next time I would prefer the mild taste of milk chocolate. You can also try them with peach preserves or maybe good raspberry jam. Be sure to not overcook the biscuits as they need to be really soft.
The result is a sugary crusted soft cake-like biscuit filled with a creamy chocolatey centre scented with the Cherry brandy which is a delight to the senses. Do try them! It makes lots!
- 600 g Plain Flour
- 300 g Caster Sugar
- 100 g butter softened at room temperature
- 4 Eggs
- Vanilla essence
- 1 sachet of Bertolini Lievito Vaniglinato or a similar instant leavening agent for desserts
- Cherry brandy
- Crema Pasticcera
- Half cream half chocolate ganache or Nutella
- First of all prepare the Crema Pasticcera according to the link in my Cannoli post. Place some clingfilm over the surface and chill. The clingfilm will prevent a skin from forming.
- Grease an oven tray and preheat the oven to 180C. Put the eggs and sugar into a food mixer and whisk for about 10-15 minutes. Add the softened butter and the vanilla essence and continue to whisk to obtain a soft and creamy mixture. Sift the flour. Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.
- Make little dough balls (approx. 20 grams each) and place them onto the greased oven tray.
- Cook for 7 minutes. At this point, they will not seem cooked enough but they are really meant to be soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down a little bit.
- Make a little hole with a small sharp knife into each peach half and discard what you remove or use in another recipe (maybe rum balls) and fill one with Crema Pasticcera and one with chocolate ganache. Join the two halves together.
- Dip each peach into Cherry brandy. Then roll in granulated sugar.
- Place the peaches in cupcake cases and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. They will soften beautifully. Enjoy!