Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones. Arrange 8 of the halves, cut-side up, in a shallow baking dish. Set aside. Finely chop the remaining peach halves.
Combine the chopped peach with the dried apricots, crumbled amaretti, almond essence, brandy and egg white. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Heat a small heavy-based frying pan and dry-fry the almonds, turning and tossing every so often, until they are lightly browned in spots. Remove and chop, in a food processor or by hand, to make a mixture of small chunks of nuts and ground nuts.
Add the chopped almonds to the fruit and amaretti mixture and mix well. Use the mixture to fill the hollows in the peach halves, heaping up the filling and pressing it gently together. Cover the baking dish with a tent of cooking foil.
Bake for 25–30 minutes, then remove the foil. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C and bake for a further 5 minutes or until the nutty topping is lightly browned. The peaches are best served warm, but they can be chilled before serving, if you prefer.
Some more ideas…
*Nectarines can be used instead of peaches, with pistachios instead of almonds. *Amaretti are traditional Italian biscuits They have a bitter almond flavour and are quite small and hard. Macaroons can be used instead of amaretti, but you won't need as many because they are larger. *For baked stuffed apples or pears, substitute sultanas for the dried apricots and add a few shakes of ground cinnamon to the filling. Allow 10 minutes longer baking time before removing the foil. *Use quinces instead of peaches, allowing 15 minutes extra baking time. *Use a mixture of peaches or nectarines, apples, pears and quinces and make the filling from a mixture of these fruits. Allow 10–15 minutes extra baking time.
*Peaches contain plenty of vitamin C and this can help the body to absorb iron present in other foods – in this case from dried apricots. Dried apricots also provide vitamin A and plenty of potassium for regulating blood pressure. *Almonds not only have a delicious and distinctive flavour, but also contain protein and plenty of vitamin E.