This is a really easy but quite delicious dessert, especially if served with Banana and Mango Ice Cream (page 251 of my book).
- To make the almond paste, finely chop the dates and simmer in the water on a low heat until soft.
- Process the dates, almonds and essence until the mixture starts to bind together. Divide the almond paste into 8 pieces and roll into balls.
- Halve and stone the peaches and place in a baking dish, cut side uppermost (cut a little slice off the rounded edge, if necessary, to help them remain stable).
- Place a ball of almond paste in the centre of each peach half.
- Bake, covered, for 10 minutes, then uncovered for a further 10 minutes at 200°C (400°F), gas mark 6. The peaches should be soft and the filling just starting to brown.
- Sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds before serving either hot or cold.