Today is National Peach Melba Day. We can thank French Chef Auguste Escoffier, Australian soprano Nellie Melba and the famed Savory Hotel in London for this amazing taste of summer in the dead of winter.
Auguste Escoffier created the elegant dessert sometime around 1892. The chef was known for naming his creations after famous people. However; when first created, this dessert was called “Pecheau Cygne” or “Peach Swan” as it was presented in a swan-shaped ice sculpture adorned with spun Sugar. He was inspired by Wagner’s opera, Lohengir. The ice sculpture was to honor the swan featured in the performance. When Nellie Melba preformed in London, Chef Escoffie renamed his Peach Swan after her as his way of paying her tribute.
The only thing missing from our Peach Melba, aside from the ice carved swans, is the spun sugar. But hey, if you are into that sort of thing with any skill at all, knock yourself out.
Grilled Peach Melba
2 ripe Peaches
2 cups Raspberries
1/4 cup Sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons Almond Extract
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
French Vanilla Ice Cream
Raspberries for serving
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, lower peaches in the water to blanch for just a few seconds. Remove from water, rub skins to remove as much peach fuzz as possible while leaving the skin intact. Set peaches aside.
In a heavy-bottom pan over medium heat, add raspberries, sugar and almond extract. Stir together. Increase heat to medium-high just to the point of boiling while mashing the raspberries to release the juices.
Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Add the raspberry mixture to the sieve. Strain, pushing the juices through with a spoon while leaving the seeds in the sieve. and push through with a spoon. Discard the seeds; set the raspberry puree aside to cool.
Heat a gas grill briefly. Cut peaches in half, remove the stone. Rub peaches inside and out with olive oil. Grill peaches, cut side down, for about 4 minutes to create nice grill marks. Turn, grill skin side for a few minutes.
Place peaches, cut side up, in individual short glasses. Top each grilled peach with a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with raspberry sauce and a sprinkling of whole raspberries.
Serve and enjoy.