One of the simplest of French desserts, with only three ingredients: fresh ripe peaches, vanilla ice cream and sweetened raspberry purée.
The story is famous: the Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba was performing Lohengrin at Covent Garden in London, after which a dinner was held in her honour. In honour of the swan in Lohengrin, the great French chef Escoffier made a swan of ice to hold Nellie’s dessert of peaches served over vanilla ice cream.
While later working at the Ritz Carlton, he perfected the recipe by adding sweetened raspberry purée and and named it Pêche Melba. He also invented very thin Melba toast for the singer when she was staying at the hotel and felt ill, although the French call it croûte en dentelle.
Images by Martinjohnchiffers, stu_spivack