There is nothing more satisfying than a perfectly ripe peach. When that happens, it is my job, as a pastry chef, not to screw it up. Nature is perfect, and often deserves to be left in its most pure form.
Having said that, I am a pastry chef and what fun would it be to serve a peach, unadorned, on a plate? So, I peeled the peach (which may be the sexiest dessert of all), removed the pit, stuffed it full of perfectly whipped cream with croquant (caramelized almonds) and set it on a bed of peach ice cream, to create my version of Peach Melba (Fresh Peaches with Ice Cream and Croquant).
Traditionally a Peach Melba is nothing more than peach, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. I stuck to peaches throughout, so the ice cream and whipped cream have peach puree added to them.
The original dessert was created in honor of an Australian opera singer by the first celebrity chef, Escoffier, back in the 1890s. Nellie Melba was performing in London and the chef created a dessert to celebrate her triumphant voice. This is very reminiscent of the story about the famous Pavlova, created for a ballerina. I am all in favor of worshiping creative genius with sweets.
Despite the elegance of the this Peach Melba, it is really quite easy to make. You can watch me make it in my instagram video and the recipe is below.
Depending on the size of the peaches or the appetite of your guests, you can serve them whole.
Or you can cut them in half and serve them.
Be sure to play some opera as you eat!
- 8 perfectly ripe peaches 2 will be used in the peach puree
- 2 ripe peaches chopped into small pieces
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Peach Swirl Ice Cream
- 1/2 cup peach puree
- 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp corn syrup
- 1 cup marcona almonds
- pinch salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream whipped to soft peaks
- 3 tbsp peach puree
- 1/4 cup crushed croquant
Prepare the Peaches
- Peel the peaches (8 total) by cutting a cross in the bottom, poaching them in boiling water for 1 minute, then putting them in ice water. The skins will peel away with ease. Pit the peaches as instructed in my instagram video with a paring knife. They can be peeled and pitted a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
- Cut up two peaches, cook them with half the sugar, over medium heat until they release their juices. Puree the peaches with an immersion blender.
- Mix the remaining sugar and corn starch together. Add it to the pureed peaches along with the vanilla and cook until bubbling for 3 minutes. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Ice Cream Disks
- Allow to freeze for several hours. It can be done a day or two ahead. Use a round cookie cutter to stamp out circles of ice cream that match the dimension of the peaches. Keep frozen until ready to serve.
- Place the sugar in the center of a small pot. Add the corn syrup and 1/4 cup of water. Heat on high until the mixture starts to turn amber on the sides of the pan. Stir the caramel and allow to smoke slightly, remove from heat and add the nuts and salt.
- Freeze the dishes they will be served on, this will prevent the ice cream from sliding all over the plate. Set down the ice cream circle, then the filled peach and sprinkle with crushed croquant. You can serve them with more of the peach puree.
- Depending on the size of the peaches or the appetite of your guests, you can serve them whole or cut them in half to serve.