Italian Pastry Cream makes these Italian Peach Cookies, unique and delicious. The perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or just because. Crunchy buttery cookies with the perfect flavor combination and taste!
These cute, delicate, full of Italian Pastry Cream Cookies are a favourite in any and every bakery in Italy. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas and every holiday in between are celebrated with a big tray of Pasticcini or Pastries. Which are made regular size or mini. I like the mini that way you can taste a few!
- Flour – all purpose flour at least 11% protein
- Baking powder
- Sugar – granulated sugar
- Salt – if you use unsalted butter then add a bit more salt
- Butter – softened butter
- Lemon – lemon zest
- Egg – room temperature large egg
- Vanilla – vanilla extract
- Milk – 2% or whole milk
- Alchermes liqueur
- Sugar – granulated sugar
- Pastry cream – Italian pastry cream
For the pastry cream you can use either an Italian Vanilla Pastry Cream or this Italian Lemon Pastry Cream.
What is Alchermes?
Sometimes spelt alkermes, it is a bright red liqueur that is a little syrupy. It tends to have a floral aroma with a sweet, spicy flavour. It comes from Tuscany which is also where these Peach Cookies originated.
It can be difficult to find Alchermes outside of Italy so a substitute of Red Campari or Peach Liqueur or Peach schnapps with some red food colouring. Or maybe you have something else in mind?
How to make Peach Cookies
Make the pastry cream before you make the cookies, because the cream needs to be refrigerated for approximately 2 hours.
In a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, butter, zest, vanilla and egg start to beat on medium speed with an electric mixer or stand mixer using the flat beater, add a tablespoon of milk one at a time until it forms a soft dough, dough should be slightly sticky.
With floured hands roll the dough into 16 balls (try to make them all the same size), you could use a small cookie scoop for picking up the dough then rolling in your floured hands. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets, about one inch apart. Bake until golden.
Let the cookies cool enough to be held, then with a small sharp knife remove the middle of the cookie (make a small well / hole). Leave the cookies to cool completely, then fill each hole with the pastry cream. Place two cookies together to form a circle.
In one bowl place some Alchermes Liqueur or substitute and in another small bowl add the granulated sugar.
Dip the cookie first in the liqueur (don’t let them sit or they will fall apart), place on a wire rack for 30 seconds, then roll them in the sugar. Refrigerate for about an hour, decorate with a mint leaf before serving.
What are Italian Peach Cookies?
Usually these Peach Cookies are made with a soft cookie dough. The dough is rolled into small balls and baked. Each cookie is then hollowed out and filled with Italian Pastry Cream, then two cookies are attached together.
The cookies are then dipped in an Italian liqueur called Alchermes and rolled in sugar.
Most Popular Italian Pasticcini (Pastries)
- Baba al Rhum (Naples) – A soft yeast cake that is saturated in Rum (and I mean saturated)!
- Bigne con la Panna (cream puffs) – A delicate pasta choux, usually filled with a Chocolate or Vanilla Italian pastry cream.
- Zeppole – similar to a bigne but made for Father’s Day (St Joseph’s day) in Italy and is filled and topped with pastry cream.
- Cannoli (Sicily) – Fried pastry shells usually filled with a Ricotta and chocolate chip filling.
- Diplomatico (Palermo) – This pastry consists of layers of sugared puff pastry with a middle layer of sponge cake, the filling between the layers is usually a mixture of Italian pastry cream and a chantilly cream. It is a very famous pastry in Italy is sometimes served as a Birthday Cake.
- Mignon a Tartina (Mini tarts) – Italian pie dough blind baked then filled with Italian pastry cream and topped with fresh fruit.
- Barchette – (mini boat shaped pastries) – A crunchy buttery pastry usually filled with a creamy hazelnut filling.
- Sfogliatella (Campania) (Lobster Tail) – Is a shell shaped very crunchy puff pastry and is usually filled with a delicate cream or chocolate filling. My absolute favourite!
How to store the peach cookies
The filled cookies should be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated, they will keep for 1-2 days in the fridge. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
The unfilled cookies can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Refrigerated they will keep for 5-6 days.
How to freeze them
It is best to freeze the cookies unfilled. Place them in a freezer bag or container. They will keep for up to 2-3 months in the freezer. Let thaw then fill.
These Italian Peach Cookies are a little crunchier than the Peach Cookies we get in the bakery, not as soggy and dripping with Alchermes as the traditional, and to tell the truth we perferred them this way and I hope you do too.
Not only are these Peach Cookies very unique and pretty to look at, they are very delicious too. Enjoy!
Italian Peach Cookies
FOR COOKIE DOUGH
- 1¾ cups + 1½ tablespoons all purpose flour (at least 11% protein)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 pinch salt*
- ¼ cup butter (softened)
- zest ½ lemon
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons milk (room temperature) 2% or whole milk
*If you use unsalted butter then add ¼ teaspoon salt.
For room temperature ingredients remove from the fridge 45-60 minutes before using.
- ½ cup Alchermes Liqueur (more or less)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (more or less)
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C). Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Make the Italian Pastry Cream before you make the cookies, because the cream needs to be refrigerated for approximately 2-3 hours.
- For the pastry cream you can use either an Italian Vanilla Pastry Cream or this Italian Lemon Pastry Cream.
FOR COOKIE DOUGH
- In a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, butter, zest, vanilla and egg start to beat on medium speed with an electric mixer or stand mixer using the flat beater, add a tablespoon of milk one at a time until it forms a soft dough, dough should be slightly sticky. Finish mixing with a wooden spoon if needed.
- With floured hands roll the dough into 16 balls (try to make them all the same size), you could use a small cookie scoop for picking up the dough then rolling in your floured hands. Place on prepared baking sheets, about one inch apart. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden.
- Let the cookies cool enough to be held, then with a small sharp knife remove the middle of the cookie (make a small well / hole). Leave the cookies to cool completely, then fill each hole with the pastry cream. Place two cookies together to form a circle.
- In one bowl place some Alchermes Liqueur or substitute and another small bowl add the granulated sugar. First dip the cookie in the liqueur (don't let them sit or they will fall apart), place on a wire rack for 30 seconds (if you don't let them sit then the sugar will just all clump together on the cookie) then roll them in the sugar. Refrigerate for approximately 30-60 minutes, decorate with a mint leaf before serving. Enjoy!
Any extra Pastry Cream can be used to fill just about anything, can keep in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days.
Updated from August 16, 2018.
Julie L says
It’s been years since I had these and I’m so excited to see this recipe! Theybwere served at a special occasion by a family friend’s mother. They are beautiful and special. Fabulous find, thabks for sharing!
Hi Julie, thanks so much, so glad I could help out. Take care.
Kate Meyers says
What can I use as a nonalcoholic substitute for Alchermes Liqueur. I don’t have access to any alcoholic beverages.
Hi Kate, you could probably substitute with cherry juice. Let me know how it goes.
Can these cookies be made the day before an event . I would love to make them for my future daughter n laws bridal shower but I need about 75.
Hi Chrissy you could make the cookies the day before and fill them the day of the event.
I just made the Peach biscuits for the first time my father an Italians is turning 90 and a friend of his always made these she has since passed away and I thought I would give it a go it tastes amazing however the biscuit part it a bit harder than I thought and crumbled when I tried to hollow it out would you say it may have been a bit dry or oven too hot ? This was a trail for the main event on Saturday
Hi Louise, try baking them a little less (about 2 minutes less) and removing the inside when they are still quite warm, the cooler they get the crunchier they will be. let me know. And happy birthday to your father.
Do the cookies need to be refrigerated?
Hi Maria, they do need to be refrigerated for 30-60 minutes before serving, and if there are leftovers then yes I would refrigerate them because of the pastry cream. Hope that helps.
My mother in law use to make these for me and I have been looking for the recipe for the last 20 years. I didn’t know what they were called so I had no idea how to search for them. I am so happy I found them now. Thank you so much for posting these. I could finally make them!
Hi Chantal, thanks so much and so glad you found them. I hope you enjoy them. Have a great week.
G. Brumfield says
Several years ago, I read John Gresham’s Playing for Pizza. Ah, the food in that book! But it was when I read a mention of black pie, that I said, ‘I have got to figure out how to make it.’ All that was said, was that it’s made with coffee, almonds and chocolate, and apparently it’s from Parma.
Hi G.Brumfield sounds very interesting I am now on the look out. Stay tuned. Have a great week.
Shirley L Smith says
How much zest of lemon? I love your recipes.
Hi Shirley, sorry I had that reversed it should be zest of 1/2 a lemon. Thanks and I hope you enjoy these. Have a great weekend.
Debra Slater says
Hi! Can these peach cookies be assembled and frozen and if so for how long? Thank you!
Hi Debra, you could freeze the cookies for up to two months, but I wouldn’t freeze the cream because it will separate. Hope that helps.