Baked peaches with ricotta-almond topping

Here’s the perfect dessert for an Italian meal. In the winter when fresh peaches are unavailable, you can substitute fresh pear halves. The warm fruit is scrumptious with room-temperature sauce. Or, if you prefer, refrigerate the components; the topping becomes firmer and can be mounded in the hollows of the chilled fruit.

3 peaches, peeled, halved, and pitted
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Amaretto
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons dried currants
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
Sweetened cocoa powder for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.

Use a spoon to remove the discolored pulp from the peach halves and discard. Arrange the peaches, cut-side up, in the baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are tender but still hold their shape.

Meanwhile, stir together the remaining ingredients, except the garnish, in a small bowl.

To serve, place the peach halves, cut-side up in small dessert bowls. Top each with about 2 tablespoons of the topping and sprinkle with cocoa powder stirred through a fine mesh strainer.

Advance preparation

The topping will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bake the fruit, cover, and refrigerate the day of serving. Assemble the dessert just before serving.