Peach or Pjeshke in Albanian these cookies are popular in Italy and other south European countries in the Mediterranean such as Albania, Macedonia, and Croatia, they are made on religious holidays, weddings and special occasions.
They are a labour of love that’s for sure! If you plan to make them, prepare your day accordingly as they do take time to make! If you can get someone to assist you with making them that’s even better!:)
A few tips make sure to have a bowl or little plate of oil on hand as the dough is sticky, another thing the juice from canned peaches is thicker and better to work with than the mixed canned fruit. As far as colours are concerned I was thinking of using natural colour such as beets and carrots but was afraid of the taste and flavour, my kids do not like the taste of beets…I have tried using them to colour before. In any case its not like I make them all the time…its a treat and a gorgeous one at that!
For the filling I cheated, I didn’t bother making homemade pastry cream I used instant pudding, I know I know but making the cookies was hard work…I needed a break! To compensate I used real whipping cream…mmm so good!:)
You can fill them with a hazelnut spread such as Nutella if you like as well, but the cream filling is so much better.
What you will need for cookies:
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 packet vanilla sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup light tasting olive oil
- 6 cups flour
Beat eggs and sugar for 3 minutes, should be light and creamy. Add in the milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and combine till becomes cookie dough. Dough will be very soft. Put if the fridge to cool for 1/2 hour.
Heat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make even circles its best to weigh them on a scale, measure to 18 grams and roll. If you don’t have a scale then try to get them to be as perfectly equal as possible, balls should be smaller than 1 inch.
You will need some olive oil for your hands, as I mention above the dough is sticky.
Place them 2 inches apart on baking sheet as they do double in size.
Bake for 12 minutes, bottoms should be golden brown and tops should be white.
I made 100 cookies which make 50 sandwiches ( with the amount of dough I used for each cookie). If you make them bigger of course you will have less cookies and more baking time, just to let you know the smaller the cookies, the easier to work with.
You can even make them smaller than this if you need more cookies.
For filling and decor:
- 250 ml whipping cream
- 1/2 pkg instant vanilla pudding
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tsp icing sugar
- peach jam ( I used my peach-freezer-jam)
- red and yellow food colouring
- course sugar crystals
- juice from a can of peaches
- fresh mint leaves
Whisk the whipping cream till becomes thick and stiff, whisk in the icing sugar. In a bowl combine vanilla pudding and milk whisk until forms pudding. Let rest for a minute to firm. Fold in whipped cream.
To put them together:
Gently scoop out the middle of the flat side of cookies with a small melon scoop. You can eat the left over balls as is (great for dunking in your coffee), or save them for another use such as a mini trifle with fruits and the rest of the pudding.;)
Fill each hole with cream filling using a small spoon. Add a small amount of peach jam on half the cookies and sandwich the cookies.
Divide peach syrup in two small bowls and colour one red and the other yellow with a bit of red to make a peach colour.
With pastry brush, brush the cookies with the coloured peach syrup, half peach and half red. On a piece of parchment lay the sugar and roll cookies.
Add fresh mint for the ‘leaves’ and you have your beautiful peach cookies ready to serve! Enjoy:)