This is the peach Melba dessert at a recent dinner I enjoyed with friends at Sophie’s Bistro in Somerset. Sophie’s is hands-down one of my favorite places to eat.
It wasn’t my dessert – I was too full after my salade frisée aux lardons and poulet rôti – but if you really could eat with your eyes, I got the calories nonetheless. I’d resisted getting out my camera (on my phone) through appetizers and entrées (all delicious), but when I saw this I quickly asked my tablemates if they minded – they didn’t (or were too polite to say so) – so I quickly got in my shot.
Peach Melba was invented in the late 1800s by the venerable Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel in London in honor of the Australian soprano, Nellie Melba. My mother loved to serve this elegant dessert of fresh peaches, vanilla ice cream (you had to see the flecks of beans, and strained raspberry sauce.
You can make the sauce ahead of course. And the peaches should be blanched and peeled; I believe my mother tossed them with a little lemon juice and covered them well, also ahead of time, but maybe not too long before dinner. Then it is quickly assembled at the last minute, but remember to let the vanilla ice cream soften a bit before scooping, it really does bring out the vanilla flavor. Keep this in mind, because New Jersey peach season will be here before you know it!