Peach Melba

Peach Melba

By
From
Real Food by Mike
Serves
10
Photographer
Alan Benson

Peach Melba is my favourite summer dessert. It’s all about things on a plate that complement each other perfectly. The peaches really need to be ripe and ready to eat before you poach them, or else you’ll find that they will take too long to poach and become soft and bloated. A good way to tell whether your peach has been poached properly is to try to peel the skin. If the skin doesn’t pull off easily with your fingers, then the peach needs further cooking. If it peels off easily, it’s ready. I like to poach the peaches a couple of days in advance, then store them in the refrigerator to let all the flavours come together, or you can cook them in jars like the Bottled pears on page 166. The syrup is delicious, and you should serve this in equal measure with the raspberry coulis and lashings of vanilla ice cream. If you want to add crunch, serve it with slivered almonds, which complement the peach flavours nicely.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 vanilla beans, split lengthways and seeds scraped
350g caster sugar
1 litre sparkling white wine
1 litre water
10 peaches
vanilla ice cream, to serve

Raspberry Coulis

Quantity Ingredient
500g fresh raspberries
250g icing sugar, sifted

Method

  1. For the raspberry coulis, process the ingredients in a blender then pass them through a sieve into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. For the peaches, put all the ingredients, except the peaches and ice cream, in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Score the peaches deeply enough to semi-release the stones, and add the peaches to the liquid. Simmer gently for 5 minutes then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  4. When the peaches are done (they should look as if the skin will peel easily), remove them from the pan and leave them to cool on a tray.
  5. Over high heat, reduce the liquid remaining in the pan by one-third. Allow to cool then strain the liquid over the peaches. Store in the refrigerator.
  6. Serve with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of the raspberry coulis.

Medicinal Benefit

  • Peaches contain vitamin A and flavonoids that help the eyes filter UV light efficiently. They also have good levels of vitamin C, vitamin E (which neutralises unstable molecules that can damage cells) and B complex vitamins, which prevent plaque forming in the arteries. They also contain potassium and fluoride, which encourage strong bone formation.
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