Almond and peach flavors are totally apropos for one another – probably because they’re cousins! Peaches are in the almond family. Just take a gander at a peach pit’s inner pit or the blossoms even – you’ll see the family connection for sure! I won’t bore you with the horticultural nomenclature, Latin naming, bark similarities and inner cambium layers of their trunks: just trust me – they’re related!
My sisters and I had the best extension of siblings with our first cousins growing and still do today! Something about having your own playmates from your own family tree is so fun. Growing up in a small town, we often were mistaken as “oh he’s one of those Brantley kids” or “she’s that Farmer girl isn’t she?” and for the sake of not splitting hairs, we’d just answer “ yes’m or yes sir” accordingly. We’ve always been glad to be the from the same tribe!
The kissin’ cousins in this recipe are the amaretto cookies, almond liqueur and the peaches. They are a household of flavor all to themselves! I can remember my Mema, my great-grandmother, and my Mimi, my grandmother, being the most temperate of ladies – “lips that touch wine shan’t touch mine!” was often exclaimed. Yet, there was always a bottle of almond liqueur, grand manier, sherry or Lydia Pinkum cough syrup somewhere in the pantry or medicine cabinet! I guess they had to say such an expression because they married Baptists. I digress…
Taking inspiration from close relations, my Amaretto Peach Bake in Dinner on the Grounds is that familial combination of flavor relations baked together with the freshness of the season and complementary tastes. Plus, it couldn’t be an easier dessert (or breakfast) for the summertime. I even serve it with ice cream, whipped cream or even with a side slice of cake! However you decide to serve it, just make sure you have plenty! You’ll realize how MANY cousins you have when you make a dessert like this!
Amaretto Peach Bake with Honey-Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Photography by Emily Followill
Amaretto Peach Bake
4 peaches, halved and pitted (peeled, if desired)
1 1/2 cups amaretto liqueur
2 dozen small amaretto cookies, crushed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
Whipped cream, optional
Mint or basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place peaches in baking dish, pit side up. Fill each pit with a heaping tablespoon of cookies and top with 1 tablespoon butter.
Pour amaretto around peaches, making a vat of liqueur.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until peaches are completely soft.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Garnish with mint or basil. I love the essence the basil gives off with the warm peaches.
Farmer's Note: I like the keep the skin on because it helps the peaches hold together.
Honey-Lemon Olive Oil Cake
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (not low-fat)
2/3 cup olive oil
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon good vanilla
2 heaping tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs lightly. Add yogurt, olive oil, honey, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, whisking till combined. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until just smooth and no lumps remain - but do not over whisk though.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (cover with foil if the top is getting too dark toward the end). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pan and let cool completely.
This cake will stay fresh for several days, well wrapped.