Baked almond-stuffed peaches

    Baked almond-stuffed peaches

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    About this recipe: Baking fruit brings out its flavour wonderfully, and a stuffing is a simple way of making baked fruit special. Here peaches are filled with a mixture of dried apricots, almonds and amaretti biscuits. Many other fruits – nectarines, apples, pears or quinces – can be prepared in the same way, to ring the seasonal changes.

    Ingredients
    Serves: 8 

    • 5 large ripe but firm peaches
    • 10 ready-to-eat dried apricots, finely diced
    • 6 amaretti biscuits, crumbled
    • 2 tsp pure almond extract
    • 1 tbsp brandy
    • 1 egg white
    • 55 g (2 oz) whole blanched almonds

    Method
    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).
    2. Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones. Arrange 8 of the halves, cut side up, in a shallow baking dish. Set aside. Finely dice the remaining 2 peach halves.
    3. Combine the diced peach with the dried apricots, crumbled amaretti, almond extract, brandy and egg white. Stir to mix thoroughly.
    4. Heat a small heavy ungreased frying pan and lightly toast the almonds, turning and tossing every so often, until they are lightly browned in spots. Remove and chop, in a food processor or by hand, to make a mixture of small chunks of nuts and ground nuts.
    5. Add the chopped almonds to the fruit and amaretti mixture and mix well. Use the mixture to fill the hollows in the peach halves, heaping up the filling and pressing it gently together. Cover the baking dish with a tent of cooking foil.
    6. Bake for 25–30 minutes, then remove the foil. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6) and bake for a further 5–10 minutes or until the nutty topping is lightly browned. The peaches are best when warm, but they can be chilled before serving.

    Some more ideas

    Nectarines can be used instead of peaches, with pistachios instead of almonds. * Macaroons can be used instead of amaretti, but fewer according to size. * For baked stuffed apples or pears, substitute sultanas for the diced dried apricots and add a few shakes of ground cinnamon to the filling. Allow 10 minutes longer baking time before removing the foil. * Use quinces instead of peaches, allowing 15 minutes extra baking time. * Use a mixture of peaches or nectarines, apples, pears and quinces, and make the filling from a mixture of these fruit. Allow 10–15 minutes extra baking time.

    Plus points

    Peaches contain plenty of vitamin C (31 mg per 100 g/3½ oz) and this can help the body to absorb iron present in other foods – in this case from dried apricots. Iron deficiency anaemia is probably the most common deficiency disease in the UK, so every little bit helps. Dried apricots also provide vitamin A and plenty of potassium for regulating blood pressure. * Almonds not only have a delicious and distinctive flavour, but also contain protein and plenty of vitamin E.

    Each serving provides

    Good source of vitamin C, vitamin E. Useful source of copper, niacin, potassium, vitamin B2.

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