August 17, 2010

Italian Amaretti Apricots- Summer Food Fest- Stone Fruits

As peaches, plums and apricots hit the markets; both my husband and I risk stomach aches daily from eating too much fruit. But how can one resist when buying right from the farmers, still warm from the tree.

With a simple white peach, pureed and served with Prosecco, Italy celebrates summer with the Bellini cocktail- really to simple to need a recipe.

( My Italian friend Licia Granello, a famous food writer here, told me to use Italian sparkling wine instead of Prosecco. Franciacorta, Ferrari or French Champagne.)

I must say, this is the time of year I am especially loved by my Italian friends as I start baking peach crumbles and pies. They call me Nonna Papera, Donald Duck's grandmother, that always has a hot pie cooling on the porch. They have grown up with this image of American pies, but have never eaten one. So, as soon as the summer stone fruits are out, I am making pies and cobblers galore!

Licia also asked for my cobbler recipe, I just wrote it up for FoodConnect- so here it is  for my Italian friends!

Living here in Italy I discovered a simple dessert that I adore, traditionally made in Northern Italy with peaches, I tweeked the recipe using tart apricots instead.

 Amaretto and cocoa baked apricots

Pairing the bitter-sweet amaretto cookie with stone fruit is a natural.

The inside of peach and apricot pits contains what is called the bitter almond, which gives amaretti their bitter flavor (use sparingly as it does contain cyanide!) Many sweets such as marzipan and the Ricciarelli cookies in Siena use bitter almond extract too.

I love the contrast of the bitter almond and unsweetened cocoa powder, which replaces the pit. Try it and I am sure you will also add this to your party desserts.  Peaches are the traditional fruit, but I have made this with pears too, I adore hot fruit desserts.

Amaretti Apricots

Amaretti are a dry italian cookie made with crushed almonds, sugar and egg whites. They are also used in the pumpkin ravioli to cut sweetness and provide a contrast in flavor. 

Many Italian recipes are passed on by word of mouth and have no real measurements.
Each cook has their own secrets and proportions.
This is meant to be a guideline-- feel free to adapt to your palate.

12 apricots, washed and split open- remove pits

8 small amaretti cookies, crushed
2 tsp or more bittersweet cocoa powder
2 tbs butter, softened

Mix the all the ingredients ( except the apricots) in a small bowl,
Create small "pits" of the mixture and top the apricot halves.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

These are perfect on their own or serve with some ice cream or whipped cream.
The are also good served room temperature, but baking the apricots concentrates the flavor.

At a recent dinner party at a friend from Asti's, she used only the amaretti cookies crushed on the peach and then topped with a whole amaretto cookie after baking, a teaspoon of butter and some white wine provided moisture to the dish.

 I am loving all the fabulous ideas coming together from this online food fest!!!

Get more ideas from the other great people participating:
I am a day ahead of the other bloggers and will update their postings when I get them!

What a festa!!!
Stop by the sites, leave a message, repost and leave a link to your posting!
It is a party and you are all invited!

Sara at Cooking Channel: Savory Stone Fruit recipes.

Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple:
Riesling Poached Pluots

Margaret at A Way to Garden: What is stone fruit, anyhow? Plus: Clafoutis batter revisited.

Caroline at The Wright Recipes: Ginger and Vanilla Poached Peaches.

The FN Dish: Paula's Perfect Peach Cobbler.

Alison at Food2: Peachy Party Foods.

Kelly at Just a Taste: Peaches & Cream Cupcakes.

Liz on Healthy Eats: Puttin’ Up Peach Pickles, Compote and More.

Food Network UK: How to Poach a Peach.

Judy of Divina Cucina: Chocolate Amaretti Baked Apricots.

Cate at Sweetnicks: Blueberry Peach Smoothies.

Paige at The Sister Project: A Summer Fruit Whatchamacallit (not a pie, not a crisp, but delicious).

Marilyn at Simmer Till Done: Cherry Apricot Pie with Ginger-Almond Crunch.

Alana at Eating From the Ground Up: Stone fruit slump.

Caron of San Diego Foodstuff: grilled peach parfait and coconut peach gazpacho.

The Gilded Fork: dossier & recipes featuring peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, cherries, almonds, coconuts.

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: gluten-free peach-blueberry buckle.

Tara at Tea & Cookies: Making Peach Jam.

Tigress in a Jam: nectarine preserve with summer savory and white pepper

Next week is TOMATOES so get ready!!!