Make it Peachy!

August 7, 2014 / Food & Wine
Italy

Back in our “farming years,” we’d ride our old Gilera motorcycle to nearby Bettona for peach-picking in July. I’d rather hoe corn, muck the pig stalls or even help on the haying than pick peaches. Hot, sweaty and itchy work. But what peaches! And you’d forget about sweltering in the Bettona peach orchards when savoring a bowl of pesche sciroppate in front of the fire on a cold January night.  

Besides putting up about 50 qts of peaches, we’d also make jams – and later when our three children came along, over a hundred small bottles of succo di pesche for school day snacks.  And sometimes, those fruit juices were of mixed fruits: succo di pera e pesca or even succo di pera, pesca e prugne… Che bonta’!

Every time I make peach tiramisu, I remember those Bettona peach days.  

It’s the soaking of crispy savoiardi (lady fingers) in espresso that gave the name tiramisu’ (“pick me up”) to the tasty pudding-like dessert which debuted in Italy in the late 50’s – or so. “Culinary legend” places its origins in northern Italy in Friuli Venezia Giulia where Signora Norma, in her late 90’s, claimed to have created it in her husband’s Udine restaurant in the late 50’s. The war goes on. A Veneto restaurant claims its origins in the late 70’s. Tiramisu’ entices diners the world over now and variations on the theme are endless…

Such as the summertime versions with fresh fruit: enticing palate pleasers.

peaches, all varieties

In early June, use strawberries or strawberries and kiwi fruit.

STAWBERRY TIRAMISU

But now’s the time for peach tiramisu’:

Ingredients (for about 8): 
8 to 10 very ripe peaches
juice of 2 lemons
2 c. or so of fruit juice (pear juice or apricot juice preferred.. but experiment!)
bar of dark chocolate
1 large package cripsy lady fingers (but Graham crackers work well, too!)
sugar, q. b. (“quanto basta”, ie, as much as you need)
ricotta / about 1 c and use sheep’s milk ricotta if you can (richer)
3/4 c mascarpone (approximately)
4 or 5 eggs

optional 1/2 c coconut

Peach tiramisu

Peel and slice peaches.  Cover with lemon juice and fruit juice, soaking overnight in the refrigerator (or let set in the juices for a few hours before preparing the tiramisu’).
Mix together ricotta and mascarpone with wooden spoon (if mixing mascarpone with an a beater, it liquefies). Separate yolks from whites. Whip egg whites until stiff and then whip yolks. Mix both together and then add to cream mixture. Add sugar to taste, q. b.
Dip cookies into peach/juice mixture until soft. Cover bottom of glass oval dish – about 9 – 12’ long – with cookies. Spoon cream mixture over the softened cookies, then spread peaches on top. Add chopped chocolate (and coconut if you wish). Repeat with soaked cookies, then cream, then peaches, then chocolate (coconut?). Continue until all ingredients are used. Refrigerate for about 4 hours (or put in freezer for about 20 mins).
This can be made in advance and frozen.
Note:
 If making for a children’s party you may add sliced bananas or M & M’s between the layers. And why not guide children in making this tasty summertime dessert? 
Buon appetito!

And have another name for this goodness: after all, it’s missing the “pick – you-up” coffee!

Anne Robichaud

by Anne Robichaud

An authorized Umbrian tour guide, Anne and her husband Pino worked the land for many years in the 1970’s so rural life, rural people, rural cuisine are una passione for her. See Umbria from “the inside”: join her May 2017 ten-day tour centered on discovering Umbria, Anne’s Umbria.

See www.annesitaly.com for more on her Umbria tours. Do see www.stayassisi.com for news on the Assisi apartment – and Assisi countryside guest house – she and Pino now rent out.

Anne writes frequently on Umbria and other areas of Italy. Read about her annual U.S. Feb/Mar cooking classes and lectures, as well as her numerous Italy insights on her blog.

24 Responses to “Make it Peachy!”

  1. Anne Ladky

    Great note and photos…thanks, Anne. Michigan peaches will have to do for us this summer (they’re actually quite good right now).

    Reply
  2. Nancy Mazza

    Yum, Annie. I love anything with fresh peaches, but that is one recipe that never crossed my mind! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Katie Larsh

    Perfect timing Annie! I was in need of recipe for my baked goods for fresh veggies exchange with my postman! WE are having Peach O Rama here in Seattle and I always anticipated the wonderful peaches of Palisades, CO… we now we hope we can get a taste of the peaches from Umbria! Thanks so much for the recipes!!!!

    Reply
  4. Ginny Siggia

    I was proud that my daughter had only homemade jam for her sandwiches. Peach was at the top of the list, along with strawberry, blueberry, and apricot. A few years ago, on a hot day late in August, I found a peach festival in full swing in a very small town in Pennsylvania. The peaches were bursting with sweet rich flavor, and the air even carried the perfume. Wonderful fruit!

    Reply
  5. James Keane

    Could this be the Bettona across the valley from Assisi? My good wife & I stayed there for a week last fall , in an exquisite apartment built into the old city walls. Exploring the region in our Fiat Panda we saw acres of olive groves & vineyards but very few fruit trees. Apparently the town was once famous for it’s mineral water as well, at least from reading the century old posters plastering the walls of our local cafe. Our week there flew by, & I left with a distinct lump in my throat. We will definitely return someday & now we’ll have to make it in late July… to find those peaches . (BTW…. as a high school bike rider, I used to hitch hike 5 miles, to the only shop in the area that sold Italian machinery. I’d spend hours staring at the Gileras & Ducatis; Alas, they were far above my school boy budget)

    Reply
  6. Sandi Spector

    OMG, a double hit – a wonderful story & a fabulous recipe that makes my mouth water!!

    Reply
  7. Jan Johnson

    Thanks Annie. All we need now is the scent of those warm, ripe peaches…aaah!

    Reply
  8. Colleen Simpson

    Our family would always go across the mountains from Seattle to Yakima to pick peaches for jam. Now that I live in Umbria, I have not been making as much jam (smaller family now), but I look forward to these days in July and August when the tiramisu is on the menu with peaches!! Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Reply
  9. Marianna Raccuglia

    My dear Anne,
    I always look forward to reading your wonderful columns – so descriptive (I want to make that peach tiramisu), interesting and informative. Thank you. Con affezione e baci! Marianna

    Reply
  10. Kathy Kelsey

    I have some peaches now! I think I will give this a whirl—thanks so much Anne for the recipe and article. I always enjoy them so much.

    Reply
  11. Anne made this amazing dessert for us only a few weeks ago when she graciously invited us to her country Umbrian home— and made nothing but a generous feast of total mouth watering foods! It’s always a treat visiting with Anne– especially over (her) food. This dessert is definitely a keeper– so refreshing, light, and the perfect amount of sweetness after any meal…. Or even AS a meal :)
    Love the story behind the peaches…

    Reply
  12. Louise Montalbano

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! I can almost taste the peaches as you describe them. Love the story on Tiramisu.

    Reply
  13. Candace Jackson

    Annie, these desserts look so refreshing and delicious. I think I’ll ask one of the two other couples to bring this to our planning dinner at my house on Friday. We are looking forward to seeing your Assisi.

    I took a wonderful cooking class in Calabasas, CA USA, last winter. It was a wonderful and special with fabulous foods and wine. I highly recommend that you book Annie as a guide and culinary teacher. She certainly knows Umbrian cuisine!

    Reply
  14. Jennifer Erdmanis

    Hello Anne,
    I enjoyed reading your story and accompanying recipe. My Italian daughter-in-law makes a wonderful grownup version of it, our biased family thinks that no one in the world makes a better one, but Iam delighted with your peachy recipe and will look forward to making it and passing on the recipe to my grandchildren. The weather is bleak and cold here in Melbourne, and I cannot wait for those wonderful peachy days of summer. We are really looking forward to our visit to you before then. Thank you.

    Reply
  15. This looks delicious, Anne – I miss the food of Umbria already! Thank you again for hosting us there….

    Reply
  16. Judi Dalton

    I hope someone invites us to dinner soon and asks us to bring desert. I’m afraid the 2 of us would eat it all ourselves. Sounds delicious!

    Reply
  17. Mama Mia! Great article and amazing pictures, makes me wish I knew how to cook! Actually it just makes me wish I was back in Assisi staying at your apartment, where I could enjoy such delicious foods around the clock! I miss Assisi, I miss the food, I miss the people, and I miss Il Nido Tranquillo! Thanks for the article and recipes. I guess I better pick up an apron and start learning to cook here in the states. Or maybe it’s easiest to just book a flight!

    Reply

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