In 1894, famous French chef Auguste Escoffier of the Savoy hotel in London saw Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba perform in Convent Garden. He was reputedly so impressed by her performance that the next day he created the peach melba in her honor.
The original recipe was made using vanilla ice-cream, poached peaches, heavy cream and raspberry sauce.
My take on the dessert replaces the vanilla ice-cream with a mini meringue covered in whipped cream and fresh, ripe peaches topped with raspberry sauce.
If the peaches aren't ripe, poach them in boiling water and sugar for about 2 minutes or so.
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 cup of Castor sugar, also known as "Berry sugar"
- 1 tsp of white vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch
- 1/2 cups of whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- 2 ripe peaches, skins removed and thinly sliced
- 1 cup of raspberries
- 1/4 cup of sugar or Castor sugar
- 2 Tbsp of water
- Preheat the oven to 275F (140C) and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil. Set aside.
- In a clean, medium-sized metal bowl, mix the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Whip until the whites form soft peaks.
- Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time. Don't just lump the sugar in the bowl and never stop whipping until you finish the sugar. Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
- Spoon 2 Tbsp of meringue mixture onto the foil. Repeat process until you have about 6 or 8 little cirles about 2 inches apart. Make a small well in each meringue circle with the back of a spoon.
- Bake the meringues for 10-15 minutes or until they go a very pale, pinkish egg shell color.
- Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringues cool completely. As they cook they will crack slightly so don't panic! Just before serving, take the meringues out of the oven and remove them gently from the foil. Place them on a flat serving plate.
- Meanwhile, peel and slice the peaches thinly. Set aside.
- Wash the raspberries and place them in a small pot with 2 Tbsp of water and 1/4 cup of sugar. Heat over a medium-high heat and simmer for 15-minutes. Stir to break up the raspberries.
- Remove raspberries from heat and strain liquid into a bowl. Set aside.
- Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until it forms soft peaks.
- When you're ready to serve, spread whipped cream on each meringue. Arrange peaches on top and spoon on the raspberry sauce just before serving.
- The meringue shells can be stored in a airtight container for 2 days.