Peach Melba is a beautiful dessert with luscious peaches and ripe raspberries over vanilla ice cream with a delicious raspberry sauce. The peaches are poached in a hot sugar syrup which intensifies the flavor of the fruit but keeping it firm. Legend has it this classic dish was invented at the beginning of the 20th century by the French Chef Escoffier for celebrated opera star Nellie Melba.
6 ripe peaches – peeled, cut in half and pitted
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the sauce
1 12-ounce package frozen unsweetened red raspberries, thawed in a bowl
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
Vanilla ice cream
1 cup fresh raspberries
Add 1 ¼ cup of sugar and 2 cups of water to a large frying pan and bring the liquid to a boil. When the sugar has completely dissolved, add the peaches in a single layer. Turn the heat down to a low simmer (very few bubbles) and cover the pan. Poach the peaches for 5 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, gently turn all the peaches over and replace the cover. Continue to poach for 3 minutes. Remove the frying pan from heat and allow peaches to sit in hot syrup for another 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract. Transfer to another container such as a casserole dish and chill the peaches in syrup for at least one hour in the fridge.
To make the sauce:
Place the thawed raspberries (with the juice) in a fine-mesh sieve or small-holed colander over a bowl. Push the raspberries down until you have squeezed out as much juice as possible. Discard the seeds and other solids. Set the bowl of juice aside for now.
Bring the 1/3 cup of sugar and ¼ cup water to a boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Stir the sugar syrup into the seedless raspberry juice and chill for 30 minutes.
Layer peaches and fresh raspberries over ice cream in chilled dishes. Spoon sauce over top and serve.