Peach Melba by Shirley Spear

PEACH Melba was a dessert invented by the French chef, Escoffier, and served at the Savoy Hotel in London, in honour of Dame Nellie Melba, a famous Australian opera singer who was performing at Covent Garden in the late 1890s. As summer draws to an end, there are wonderful French yellow peaches still in the shops and delicious Scottish raspberries to make the sauce. All you need is some top-quality vanilla ice cream for which Scotland is also renowned. 

Ingredients: Serves 4

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4 ripe yellow peaches, washed
Sugar syrup (500ml water, 100g granulated sugar plus a few drops of lemon juice)
2 punnets of fresh raspberries
1 rounded tbsp. caster sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream
1 tbsp. flaked almonds (optional)

1 To make the sugar syrup, add the sugar and lemon juice to the water and stir continuously over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to boiling point and allow the syrup to bubble fiercely for three minutes. Reduce the heat. 

2 Place the whole peaches in the hot sugar syrup and poach until the skins are beginning to pucker. This should take roughly three minutes, if the peaches are ripe. Remove the peaches and place in a bowl of iced water.

3 Gently rub the skins off the peaches using your thumb. Halve the peaches from stalk to base, twist and separate and remove the stone. Set aside to cool completely. If keeping aside for more than an hour, drizzle with a little sugar syrup, cover the dish and refrigerate. Once cooked and skinned the fruit can bruise quite easily, so handle and store with care in a single layer on a plate. The remaining syrup can be kept frozen or refrigerated for another occasion.

4 Place the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a blender and blitz. Press through a fine-mesh, plastic sieve, ensuring you scrape all the thick pulp from the base of the sieve as you go. Discard the seeds left in the sieve. Transfer the raspberry puree into a jug, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. You can also freeze the sauce at this stage for another occasion.

5 To serve, place two peach halves in a serving dish, together with a scoop of ice cream and raspberry sauce on top. Sprinkle with flaked almonds if liked. Serve immediately.

In association with Taste Communications.