If you’re interested in the rich history of international cuisines, you absolutely must check out Max Miller’s new book Tasting History: Explore the Past through 4,000 Years of Recipes. It is a comprehensive collection of stories and recipes from around the world that literally gives you a taste of past. We’re thrilled to share a classic dish from the book. Here’s what the author has to say about the recipe:
When placing the recipe for La Pêche Melba or Peach Melba in this book, I had trouble deciding if it belonged with the English recipes or the other European recipes. It’s definite that it was first made at the Savoy Hotel in London, England, but the creator, Auguste Escoffier, is so undeniably French that including it in the English section seemed an injustice, so here we are. Peach Melba was named after the late-nineteenth-century Australian operatic soprano Nellie Melba (of Melba toast fame) and is but one of the many dishes Chef Escoffier named after one of his many famous patrons.
Makes 6 servings
- 6 ripe peaches
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 cups (250 grams) ripe raspberries
- 1 1/3 cups (150 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 pints (1 liter) French vanilla ice cream
- Raw almond slivers, for garnish
Make the Peach Melba
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. While it heats, prepare a large, wide bowl of ice water and set aside. Two at a time, place the peaches in the boiling water for 7 seconds, using tongs to turn them after a few seconds, then remove them and plunge them into the ice water. Leave them there for 10 seconds, then remove them and set on a plate. Once all 6 peaches are blanched, remove the peel; it should slough off easily. Then, using a very sharp knife, slice the peaches in half and remove the pits. Sprinkle each side of each half with granulated sugar and set the peaches on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and set them in the refrigerator for 1 hour while you make the raspberry sauce.
- Wash the raspberries, then put them in a blender and puree. Put the puree in a fine-mesh sieve and press it into a medium bowl. It should be smooth and have no seeds. Sift in the powdered sugar and whisk until fully incorporated. Cover the bowl and set it in the refrigerator to chill. Set six dishes in the freezer to chill. It’s best if these are metal, but ceramic will work as well.
- Once everything has chilled, remove the dishes from the freezer and add 2 or 3 large scoops of vanilla ice cream. Place two sugared peach halves on top, then drizzle with the raspberry puree, covering the peaches. Top with almond slivers and serve.
Excerpted with permission from Tasting History: Explore the Past through 4,000 Years of Recipes (Simon & Schuster, 2023) by Max Miller and Ann Volkwein.