It’s a good thing I am doing this project, because I am learning SO MUCH.
I hate to admit it, but aside of hearing the words Peach and Melba used in conjunction, I had no clue what Peach Melba was. Something to put on toast?
Turns out, Peach Melba is just a fancy little name for an ice cream dessert consisting of peaches, vanilla ice cream, and a raspberry sauce. According to Wikipedia…
The Peach Melba is a classic dessert, invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London to honor the Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba. It combines two favorite summer fruits: peaches and raspberry sauce accompanying vanilla ice cream.
In 1892, Nellie Melba was performing in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden. The Duke of Orléans gave a dinner party to celebrate her triumph. For the occasion, Escoffier created a new dessert, and to display it, he used an ice sculpture of a swan, which is featured in the opera. The swan carried peaches which rested on a bed of vanilla ice cream and which were topped with spun sugar. In 1900, Escoffier created a new version of the dessert. For the occasion of the opening of the Carlton hotel, where he was head chef, Escoffier omitted the ice swan and topped the peaches with raspberry purée.
Now, I for one would love to see that original dessert. An ice swan filled with ice cream and peaches, then topped with spun sugar?
Hmmm. Other than there being an ice sculpture in that equation, I’m kind of shocked now that I think about it. It took a head chef to come up with sliced peaches and vanilla ice cream? My three year old is a little more creative than that. Hell, he had the grand idea that the best kind of nuts to add to brownies were doughNUTS.
Peaches and ice cream.
Well, at least this guy redeemed himself a few years later by adding the raspberry sauce.
For truly gorgeous takes on this classic dessert, look no further…
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures made this Pavlova Peach Melba from the well-loved Sweet Melissa Baking Book. The group, Sweet Melissa Sundays features recipes from this cookbook, and every one of them I have seen looks amazing. Like I need another cookbook. (I do.) In case you really DON’T need another cookbook, you can find the recipe for this gorgeous pavlova here.
The most breathtaking version I could find was this one, from Culinaria Kitchen. Great God. Who knew such a simple dessert could look like THAT? It’s almost too pretty to eat, but eat it I would.
And finally, to round out today’s post…The Fuzzy Peach Melba from Noble Pig. Because sometimes we just can’t be bothered to eat. This drink reminds me of the time I flew to Atlantic City, and before we even arrived, I was betting other gamblers on the flight that I could drink more Fuzzy Navels than they could.
Happy Peach Melba Day! (Don’t put it on toast.)