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The first version of Peach Melba was created by Chef Auguste Escoffier in 1892 when he was the chef at the restaurant of the Savoy Hotel. Dame Nellie Melba sent tickets to the chef to attend the concert of Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin. In this production, a swan-shaped boat was featured. The next night, Chef Escoffier showcased a dessert with fresh peaches and vanilla ice cream, presented in a silver dish perched on an ice swan. This dessert was originally called “Pêche au Cygne” (peach with the swan) by the chef. A few years later in 1900, when Chef Escoffier opened the Ritz Carlton restaurant in London with his partner Cesar Ritz, he slightly changed the dessert by adding sweetened raspberry puree. He then renamed the dessert Peach Melba.

Ingredients

  • 4 peaches (relatively firm)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scraped
  • 7 oz. raspberries
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • ½ lemon
  • 1½ cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1½ cup whipped cream
  • 3 oz. sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
  • Dip the peaches for 3 to 5 minutes (longer if the peaches are very firm).
  • Remove the peaches from the saucepan and peel.
  • Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit.
  • In another saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a boil with the sugar and vanilla (including the bean).
  • Dip the peach halves, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the peaches are still firm but a knife can pierce them easily.
  • Set saucepan aside. Leave the peaches in the saucepan to cool.
  • Meanwhile, mix the raspberries with the juice of half a lemon and icing sugar to get the raspberry puree.

Assembly

  • Place a peach in a bowl.
  • Top with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
  • Finish with some raspberry puree and sliced almonds.
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