Dame Melba's performance in the Lohengrin opera so impressed Escoffier, then chef at London's Savoy Hotel, that the next day he invented the dessert as a tribute.
The original dessert consisted of sliced poached peaches, vanilla ice-cream and raspberry sauce served in an swan-shaped bowl carved from ice. Escoffier's inspiration for the bowl is thought to have come from the swan-drawn boat featured in the opera.
My take on the Peach Melba replaces the vanilla ice-cream with a mini meringue covered in whipped cream and fresh, ripe peaches topped with raspberry sauce. If I can't wait for the peaches to ripen, I usually poach them with a little sugar and water for 10 minutes to soften and sweeten them.
Different Takes on the Peach Melba