The Peach Melba is a dessert of peaches and raspberry sauce with vanilla ice cream. The dish was invented in 1892 by great French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London, to honour the Australian soprano Nellie Melba.
In 1892, Melba was performing in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden. The Duke of Orléans (her lover) gave a dinner party to celebrate her triumph. For the occasion, Escoffier created a new dessert, and displayed it using an ice sculpture of a swan, which featured in the opera. The swan carried peaches which rested on a bed of vanilla ice cream topped with spun sugar. Eight years later Escoffier created a new version of the dessert for the opening of the Carlton Hotel, where he was head chef. Escoffier kept it unpretentious (no ice sculptures) placing poached peaches over ice cream topped with raspberry purée.
The dish is a legend, simple but so delicious.
Easy Peach Melba recipe
9 ounces (250 grams/1 cup) of fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
Juice of 1 lemon
4 sliced ripe peaches
4 scoops Vanilla ice cream
Fresh raspberries to sprinkle on top (optional)
1. Mix the raspberries, lemon and sugar together (In a blender works well), then mash through a sieve to remove the pips.
2. Serve the peaches cut in half, one per person with a scoop of ice cream and pour the raspberry sauce over the top.
Note: Escoffier poached the peaches first, if you want to do that, cut them in half and remove the stone. Boil 2 cups of water with about ½ cup of sugar, add the peaches and simmer for 10 minutes, or until soft, then let the peaches cool before using them.
Did you know: Escoffier also created Melba toast for the singer when she was unwell and needed light food. Basically a slice of toasted bread then cut in half (laterally) and toasted again.