Peach Melba

Saturday 4 July 2015

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When I was growing up, this quick and easy dessert would have been considered the epitome of sophistication!  Invented back in 1893 by the French Chef Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel in London, it was designed to honor the Australian songstress, Nellie Melba.   Whatever it's origins, and however dated it may seem to some, I think it's nice to dust off these oldies and enjoy them every now and then, especially during the warmer months when fresh fruit is so readily available.

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This really is such a simple dessert and perfect for these hot summer days when you want something which is light and refreshing instead of heavy after a meal.  Something cooling . . .

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This fits the bill perfectly with peaches simply poached in a sugar syrup . . .  topped with scoops of good vanilla ice cream . . .

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A simple raspberry  sauce is spooned over top.   The sauce is quite simply, pureed fresh berries which have been pressed through a sieve to remove any solids.  You add a bit of the poaching liquid to make it easier to puree and to sweeten, but of course if you find it is still too tart, you can add a bit of powdered sugar to taste.

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Served with some store bought crisp biscuits you just can't go wrong.   I hope you'll give it a go and enjoy this simple old fashioned dessert on one of these warm summer nights.  I guarantee you will wonder why you waited so long!

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*Peach Melba*
Serves 4

An old fashioned classic, that never gets tiresome or old.  How can you improve on perfection? 

For the peaches:
4 small peaches
1 strip of orange peel (about 1 inch wide and a couple inches long)
1 TBS lemon juice
400ml water (1 2/3 cup)
2 TBS caster sugar 

For the sauce:
250g of fresh raspberries (Approximately 2 cups)
some of the poaching syrup from the peaches (a TBS or two)
a bit of powdered sugar if necessary 

You will also need some quality Vanilla Ice Cream
(4 scoops) 

Optional but nice - Crisp biscuits to serve 

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Place the water, lemon juice, orange peel and sugar for the peaches into a saucepan.   Add the peaches and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and poach the peaches just until tender.  (The skins will be slightly puckered and slip off easily when done) Remove the peaches from the poaching syrup and allow to cool until you can handle them.  Once you can handle them, slip the skins off, halve and remove the stones.  Discard the stones.  Set aside.

To make the melba sauce put the raspberries into a small food processor along with the poaching syrup.  Blitze until smooth.  Push the raspberry puree through a seive.  Discard any seeds or pulp left.  Taste the puree.  If it is too tart, add some powdered sugar, a little bit at a time, until you get to the sweetness you desire.  I prefer it a bit on the tart side.  Set aside.

To serve -  Slice the peaches into each of four chilled dessert bowls.   Top each with a scoop of the vanilla ice cream.  Drizzle the melba sauce over top.  Garnish with a crisp biscuit or wafer.  Serve immediately.

Note - a TBS of raspberry liqueur can be added to the raspberry puree for an additional flavour if you are so inclined.  Any leftover melba sauce can easily be frozen for another time.


  1. I haven't had a NICE cookie in a million years..
    This dessert looks so that!

  2. Thanks Monique, I was trying to make it look vintage. Nice biscuits are the best! One of my favourites! xoxo

  3. Making this tomorrow for a Valentine dinner with old friends (6 of us) with each of us contributing something enjoyable and special. Thank you for your lovely resource here. Happy Valentine˚s.

    1. I hope your guests enjoy Bruce! Happy Valentines Day to all! You're very welcome!


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