Secrets to Escoffier's True Peach Melba

August 2011

With Palisade peaches at their peak, what could be a better dessert than fresh peach Melba? How about a real la peche Melba as only Escoffier, the iconic French chef, would create?

I recently sat down with Michel Escoffier, great-grandson of the French master, when he was in Boulder for the inauguration of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. He shared some secrets of the famous dessert, created by his great-grandfather for the famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.

The original recipe—which can be found in Auguste Escoffier: Memories of My Life—calls for fresh, ripe peaches, blanched, peeled, and sprinkled with sugar, placed over a timbale of extra creamy vanilla ice cream, and covered with a strained raspberry purée made only with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar. "Never," Escoffier insists, "top the dish with whipped cream. The Melba is all about finesse. If anything, it should be finished with a lace of spun sugar or a few slivers of fresh almonds when they are in season."

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