Hi, I'm Andie.

I live near the Swiss Alps, in Bern, and I love not only melting cheese, but all kinds of Swiss cooking. 

En Guetä!

Peach Melba

Peach Melba

 
peach melba
 
betty bossi

Although Peach Melba itself isn't Swiss, for a long time it was a favourite dinner party dessert—just ask Betty Bossi, who lists it on page 61 of her Cooking for Guests (well prepared — uncomplicated! suggests the subtitle).

But actually it was a famous partnership between Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz and famous French chef Auguste Escoffier that enabled the creation of this and many other so named treats of the late 1800s (Melba Toast! Cherries Jubilee! Belle Hélène!)

In the 1890s, the pair teamed up at the London Savoy where they introduced French Haute Cuisine to the British (and later, after they were fired from the Savoy, they did more of the same at their newly established London Ritz). More on the fascinating history of Cesar Ritz, here.

swan

While at the Savoy, Escoffier made Pêche Melba for famous Australian soprano Nellie Melba, who was singing Wagner's Lohengrin at Covent Garden.

The opera features a swan-drawn boat, and Escoffier mirrored this in his presentation of the dish, having the peaches and ice cream encased in spun sugar and resting on a swan made of ice.

peaches

Escoffier used simple, perfect ingredients in his dessert—soft peaches, sweet raspberries, vanilla ice cream—saying that any variation ruined the balance of taste. With the exception of grilling the peaches rather than poaching them, this recipe stays true to Escoffier's original (minus the ice swan).

I give a recipe for vanilla ice cream below, my favourite, which is courtesy of Jeni Britton Bauer and her mouth-watering ice cream recipe book. Store bought is also fine.

I have tried to outlay the simplest version of this dessert, though for more possible variations check out  Felicity Cloake's How to Cook the Perfect Peach Melba.


peach melba
 

Ice Cream

500 ml milk

15 g cornstarch

30 g cream cheese, soft

300 ml whipping cream

150 g sugar

1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract

pinch salt


You need to make three separate mixtures. 

Medium pot:

450 ml of the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt

Little bowl:

50 ml of the milk and cornstarch, whisked well

Large bowl:

cream cheese, whisked to loosen

Put the pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, for a few minutes.

Take the pot off the heat, and when the boil has subsided, stir in the cornstarch mixture. 

Put the pot back on medium heat, and cook for about a minute, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. 

Pour slowly into the large bowl with cream cheese, whisking constantly.

Now let the mixture cool a little (until it isn't steaming anymore) and cover with plastic wrap, pressed directly to the surface of the mixture.

If you would like the mixture to cool quickly, you can set the bowl in a cold water bath (or sink filled with cold water). Otherwise you can let it cool on the counter and then put it in the fridge. 

When the mixture is fully cooled, spin in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Peaches

2-3 peaches per person

Grill the peaches on the barbecue or in the oven, under the broiler for about 10-15 minutes or until they get a little browned.

Alternatively, you can poach and skin the peaches. Plop them in boiling water for a minute, then shock them in cold water. Remove the skins.


peach melba

Raspberry sauce

400 g raspberries (fresh, or frozen and thawed)

1-2 tbsp sugar (if needed, depending on the sweetness of the fruit)

1 tsp lemon juice

shot of booze

Using an immersion blender, blend everything. If you like a perfectly smooth sauce, strain out the raspberry seeds.


Assembly

Scoop your ice cream out into a bowl, place a few peach halves on top and pour the raspberry sauce over.

Some recipes top with slivered, toasted almonds and whipped cream.


helvetia
  • A nice booze to use would be a raspberry spirit or liqueur (like Chambord) or something orange like Grand Marnier / Cointreau. I used the beautiful Vieille Framboise Sauvage from Distillery Studer. 
raspberries and spirit

peach melba
coupe romanoff

More ice cream and fruit?

Coupe Romanoff

Nidwaldner Bohneneintopf

Nidwaldner Bohneneintopf

Zopf

Zopf