Peach Melba charlotte

Peach Melba charlotte

Paris Pastry Club
Helen Cathcart

I have wonderful memories of my childhood summer holidays. A happy mess packed into our camping-car; cat and dog included. We would stop in the wild and make a barbecue. In the afternoons we would explore little villages and their café terraces.

One summer, the only ice cream I would have would be pêche Melba. Three scoops of vanilla ice-cream, of the almost-melted kind, marbled with a tangy raspberry coulis; a yellow peach, poached to perfection; all happily topped with fresh raspberries, practically begging to be eaten with fingers. More than one of these coupes glacées tinted my lips and fingers pink that summer.

Nowadays, I don’t often eat pêche melba. But every summer, it has become a tradition for me to make a Charlotte with the flavours of my childhood favourite.

For the poached peaches


Quantity Ingredient
8 ripe yellow peaches
1kg water
450g caster sugar
10 mint leaves

For the raspberry purée

Quantity Ingredient
1kg raspberries
100g icing sugar

For the biscuit cuillère

Quantity Ingredient
5 eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour, sieved
50g icing sugar, to decorate

For the raspberry mousse

Quantity Ingredient
9 gelatine leaves
400g raspberry puree
160g caster sugar
400g whipping cream

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
250g raspberries


  1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes.
  2. Halve the peaches and remove the stones. When the water is boiling, plunge in the fruits for 15 seconds then remove using a slotted spoon and immediately place into the iced water bowl for a few minutes. Gently peel the skin away from the peach cheeks and keep in cold water until needed.
  3. In the meantime, make a syrup. Bring the water, sugar and mint leaves to the boil in a medium pan.
  4. Put the peach halves in the boiling syrup, cover with a cartouche, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool down at room temperature, then chill in the fridge.
  5. While the peaches are chilling, make the raspberry purée. Blitz the raspberries and icing sugar in a blender for 5 minutes, then pass through a fine-mesh sieve. You should get around 500 g of purée. Cover the surface with clingfilm and chill in the fridge until needed.
  6. Line a small baking tray that can fit in your freezer with baking paper and place a 20 cm metal ring on top.
  7. Once the peaches have cooled down, chop 6 halves into cubes and mix with 100 g of the raspberry purée. Spread this into the prepared ring, covering the base. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  8. When the peach ring is frozen make the biscuit cuillère. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  9. Cut 2 large pieces of baking paper and draw one 18 cm wide circle on one and three 8 x 30 cm rectangles on the other, spacing them by at least 4 cm. Place the papers upside-down on 2 baking trays and set aside until needed.
  10. Whisk the egg yolks and half the sugar in a large bowl for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy, then add the remaining sugar – whisking as you do so – in small batches, and whisk to stiff peaks.
  11. Add one third of the meringue to the egg yolks and stir with a spatula to loosen the mixture. Then gently fold in the remaining meringue until just combined.
  12. Add the flour and fold in until there are no more lumps.
  13. Scrape the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 10 mm nozzle and pipe four dots underneath each corner of each piece of baking paper to stick the paper to the prepared trays.
  14. Pipe a spiral of mixture inside the drawn circle, starting from the centre and spiralling out. This will form the base of your charlotte.
  15. On the second tray, fill each drawn rectangle with 8-cm long piped ‘fingers’ to create 3 solid biscuit ‘strips’. These strips will join together to line the tin and form the outer wall of the charlotte. Pipe at a 45º angle, with the fingers touching, and aligning them to the edges of the drawn rectangles.
  16. Dust the circle and the 3 strips with icing sugar. Leave for 10 minutes, then dust again and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden-brown and springy to the touch. Leave to cool completely. When cold, invert all the cooled biscuits onto a clean, dry work surface and peel off the baking paper.
  17. To assemble the charlotte, place a 22 cm metal ring on a large plate. Position the biscuit circle in the base of the metal ring.
  18. Use a sharp knife to straighten the short ends of each of the biscuit strips. Now trim along the long edges, if necessary, so that each strip will be the same height, when positioned in the metal ring.
  19. Lift one of the strips into the ring, with the sugared side facing out, and nestle it to fit snugly against the side of the ring. Arrange another biscuit strip inside the ring so that they join snugly. Roughly measure the length of the remaining gap and trim the third biscuit so that it is just slightly longer. Ease it into the gap so that you form a tight-fitting biscuit border around the inside of the ring. Set aside while you make the mousse.
  20. Soak the gelatine leaves in ice-cold water for about 20 minutes.
  21. Pour 400 g of the chilled raspberry purée into a large bowl.
  22. Put the remaining purée and sugar in a pan, and cook over a low heat until the sugar is melted. Squeeze the gelatine leaves and add to the hot purée. Stir until just dissolved.
  23. Pour onto the cold raspberry purée, whisking as you do so. Allow to cool slightly.
  24. Whip the cream to soft peaks in a large cold bowl. Scoop a third of the whipped cream into the purée and whisk it in to loosen the mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream, at first with a whisk, then with a spatula, until just combined. Pour half into the biscuit-lined ring.
  25. Take the frozen peach ring out of the freezer, remove the metal ring and peel off the paper. Gently sit the peach ring on the raspberry mousse. Top with the remaining mousse, leaving a 1 cm gap on top.
  26. Loosely cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  27. When you are ready to serve, gently remove the ring, then arrange the raspberries and remaining peach halves, cut into quarters, on top of the mousse. Serve cold on its own or with a big scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
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