Peach Melba (or Pêche Melba) was invented by the great Georges Auguste Escoffier, a French chef and minor deity of the culinary arts. He combined poached peaches with a divine raspberry sauce in this tribute to opera singer Nellie Melba.
For the Peach...
- 4 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of very fine sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (or 1 vanilla bean)
- 3-4 large peaches
- wax paper
- vanilla ice cream
And for the Melba...
- 1 lb fresh raspberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2-3 tbsp of very fine sugar
- 3 tbsp raspberry liqueur
Okay! So put on your chef's hat and in a large saucepan combine the water, sugar, and vanilla. Bring this to a boil over medium heat. Don't forget to stir every once and a while, to help dissolve the sugar.
Next, cut the peaches in halves and remove the peach pits. Be careful to keep the halves intact; if you need help, use a small spoon to scoop out the pit.
Add the peach halves to the mixture, with the open side face down. If the peaches aren't completely covered, add some water. Put a piece of wax paper to the surface of the liquid and reduce the heat slightly. Cover the pan and let it simmer 10-15 minutes, or until tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the peaches cool. Then take the peaches from the mixture and peel off their skin. Drain the peach halves on a paper towel, cover, and chill in the fridge. (Note: you can prepare the peaches and sauce up to 18 hours in advance. If so, let them sit in the poaching syrup until you're ready to serve.)
While your peaches are chillin' out, put the raspberries, lemon, and sugar in a food processor for about a minute. Press what's left through a fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in the raspberry liqueur and chill.
To serve, put half of a peach on a plate, cup-side up. Scoop a bit of vanilla ice cream into the pit and pour raspberry sauce on top. Voilà! A French dessert fit for a diva! Or, you.
sneff says: (The peaches usually keep for a few days. You might want to try a thicker syrup. A) 1 litre water/1 litre sugar ratio syrup (is) much denser. You might want to recommend that cooks request slipstone, or freestone peaches at the fruit grocery - it will make life a lot easier when halving and pitting the peaches
Good to know!