2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Assembling the Peaches
1/2 cup rum + 2 tablespoons peach schnapps
Red food coloring (or a bit of beet juice if you want to keep it au naturel)
1 cup sugar, or more as needed for coating
Fresh peach leaves for decorating
Make the pastry cream: Simmer Milk and vanilla bean paste in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly blended; add flour to the egg mixture and whisk until combined.
Slowly whisk hot vanilla milk into egg mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until cream thickens and begins to boil.
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place plastic wrap over the top; pressing down to prevent a film from developing on top of the cream.
Make the dough: In a large bowl, mix flour and baking powder together. In a large separate bowl, whisk eggs and sugar. Whisk in milk, butter, and lemon zest until combined. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing with a fork until the dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with nonstick mats
Roll dough it into walnut-sized balls (about 2 inches in sizes). Place balls on prepared baking sheets spacing about 1 inch apart. Slightly flatten the tops with your palm.
Bake until bottoms are lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes; tops will remain pale. Transfer to a rack.
Assemble the peaches: While the cakes are still warm, use a small, sharp knife to cut a circle about the size of a quarter on the bottom (flat) side of each cookie, taking care not to crack the edges. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out enough crumbs to make hollow and hold about 1 tsp. pastry cream and jam. Set cookies aside.
Pour rum and peach schnapps in a small bowl. Add enough red food coloring (or beet juice) to create your desired shade of peach; set aside. Fill a shallow bowl with sugar; set aside.
Fill half of the hollowed-out cakes with 1 tsp. of cream filling and the other half with peach jam. Sandwich two little cakes together. Using a pastry brush, brush the “peach” with colored liquor and roll in sugar to coat. Place on a rack or plate when done. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, pierce each “peach” with a toothpick where the two cakes come together and insert the stem of a peach leaf.