There are few flavors I love more than almonds, and since I seem to be in the habit of pretending it’s summer when it not these days (I’ve already broken out my sunglasses a few times), I thought I would share this recipe. As you already know, my family (and my mom in particular) play a huge role in what I cook and eat. So, it should come as no surprise that this dessert (created by Food and Wine and adapted by my mom) is a family favorite. In fact, the batch that was made in preparation for this post was devoured in two hours. Two. Hours.
The key to this recipe is using a really high quality almond paste. For all my New Yorkers, I suggest the 1 lb. package ($12) sold by the N.Y. Cake and Baking Dist. on West 22nd St in Manhattan. They carry a delicious almond paste in addition to other baking goods. (If you’ve never been, just imagine Santa’s toyshop–with only food products and gizmos. Heaven.) For my non-New Yorkers, I suggest going to your local specialty food shop or ordering the almond paste online via the NY Cake and Baking Dist’s website. Skip the grocery store unless it’s your only option or you are already partial to a particular brand. The products sold there won’t give you as much flavor. And this dessert is ALL about the flavor. So what do you say? Recipe time? Yes, please!
Baked Peaches with Almond Paste
(Original Recipe by Food and Wine; this recipe adapted by Emily’s mom, Karen)
4 peaches, halves and pitted (Out of season, when delicious, fresh peaches are unavailable, I use jarred, sliced peaches in extra light syrup. If using the jarred variety, save the juice and substitute it for the lemon juice and water in the recipe)
1/3 to 1/2 cup, very good quality, almond paste
3 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons light butter (I use Balade)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a casserole dish (8x8x2) and place the peaches in, skin side down. If using the jarred, sliced peaches, just place the slices in a single layer, close together.
In a food processor (or a small bowl), combine the almond paste, water and lemon juice. Spoon the mixture evenly over the peaches and dot with the butter.
Bake in the lower third of the oven until the peaches are tender and the almond paste is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Mom’s note: These may be served warm or at room temperature but be very careful because they’re excruciatingly addictive and if you leave them unattended, your family may find them and they might be gone when you’ve returned!
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