Prato Peaches: a typical dessert from Prato – Italian Cuisine


Typical dessert, brought to the fore thanks to the TV and to the maestro Paolo Sacchetti. Three elements, such as tiramisu, and no crunchy parts: the magic formula of Italian pastry

The Peaches from Prato they are not a fruit. I'm a sweet, typical of the city of Prato, and one of the attractions of the city. Thanks to a pastry chef, Paolo Sacchetti.
The first historical mention written on peaches is when in 1861 at the Contrucci inn in Piazza del Duomo in Prato, the inn served a menu dedicated to the recipes of the peninsula during the feast for the Unity of Italy. This was the dessert, hence the name Pesche di Prato.
The sweet it is apparently simple, composed of two hemispheres of Brioche dough immersed in a liquor bath with alkermes, covered with sugar and stuffed with custard, so that it comes out to tie the two halves: a third of dough, a third of syrup, a third of cream, only the best ingredients, for a perfect result. It's a sweet of tradition, it is sweet, soft, crunchy on the surface, never cloying thanks to the liqueur, interesting to every bite thanks to the different consistencies. In the fifties and sixties, with the economic boom and the routine of cabaret of pasta on Sundays, even the Peaches had their moment of glory, then they were almost forgotten. Too long to do, not very innovative and cosmopolitan, too rooted to be renewed … We had to wait for the rediscovery of the typical product, the renewed regional pride, the fashion of tradition to see them appear in the windows of pastry shops, even in those of his city where they had gradually fallen into oblivion. The Tuscany Region has included them in the list of traditional agri-food products (PAT) for the provinces of Florence and Prato but the merit is however above all a pastry chef, not even a Prato but Florentine, who in his pastry shop has dedicated himself to the good and the right without compromises.

The rebirth of peaches

Paolo Sacchetti opened the Nuovo Mondo pastry shop in Prato with his wife Edi in 1979, an outsider with an obsession with quality that managed to bring the “peaches” to the forefront.
"It all started with Dolcemente Prato, the first pastry event at national level, in 2003, Italian TV stations arrived but also English, Japanese … and I, who was one of the organizers, had brought my peaches. By now no one in the city made them any more … They intrigued because they were a typical dessert, then in 2006 with the book Le pesche di Prato (Claudio Martini Editore) their fame spread even more. They started buying me all the restaurants and trattorias, the other pastry shops in the city started to go back to them trying to follow the same recipe and I taught them to do them even to colleagues of the caliber of Sal de Riso ”.

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Merit of television

He tells Sacchetti “Up until the 1980s, there was no talk of pastry in Italy. The first name was that of Ernst Knamm, because he was the pastry chef of Gualtiero Marchesi. When Luigi Cremona came to me, I had just opened, he told me I was worthy of joining ANPI, the Academy of pastry chefs who had just been born and told me to go to Iginio Massari. I didn't even know who he was, yet he is the master of masters for thirty years! But the magazines were few, and there was talk of cooking, pastry was excluded ”. "The press and the television change your life, since 2000 I have been vice-president in the Academy and yet it is from 2012, when I was elected Pastry Chef of the Year, which magically the schools propose to send me the boys on stage, before I do not they were spinning mica! "

The secret of success. The Holy Trinity

But why this happened? "Because they are the classic Italian dessert. It's like tiramisu, it's a genetic thing we have in our hearts, alcohol gives freshness and makes us want to eat them again. My secret, my diversity is that I make them well balanced, with alchermes bono, the best ingredients and balance everything to reach balance. The tiramisu has a third of Savoyard, a third of soaking and a third of mascarpone. Today they tell us what's needed is the crunchy part, the acidity … they don't really serve, it needs to be good and the good is in the tradition because it speaks to us instinctively ”. He cooked them alongside Massimo Bottura, taught them at the ANPI Academy of Italian pastry chefs, served them at events, fairs, dinners and congresses. He studied the recipe, understood chemistry and physics, discovered the magic formula to make them perfect and can't stop, because if it doesn't bring them it's a popular insurrection. "But I can do other things too!" He points out in front of a pastry shop full of sweets. They are magical because they awaken ancestral memories, flavors engraved in national DNA and childhood memories. They awaken the senses, even for those of sweets that do not nourish a passion, explode in the mouth and then leave that sweet spicy and bitter aftertaste.

Word of Iginio Massari

It is foolish to give them the recipe, there are things that it is useless to try to do at home and instead they should be eaten by those who have found the magic formula to do them over the years. "A harmonious, soft dessert, for lovers of tradition – writes Iginio Massari in the book Le Pesche di Prato (Claudio Martini editor). "Quality is not just a point of arrival of a noble mix of ingredients, but a way of thinking, of existing. In practice it means choosing to work with the heart, sensitive and attentive to the well-being of men, creative and imaginative in satisfying desires ". Difficult to find a better definition, the Prato Peaches satisfy desires, even those you did not know you had, and thus make you unexpectedly happy.

Paolo Sacchetti. Photo Daniele Mari.

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