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Peach Melba

by . Featured in FEAST
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Introduction

This is it - summer on a plate. Most days I take the view that cooking fruit rather loses the point of its delectable freshness, but this somehow intensifies it. Besides, most peaches are disappointingly hard or lacking in luscious peachiness, so poaching the fruit gives even lucklustre peaches the boost they need, restoring them to their rightful glory.

This is it - summer on a plate. Most days I take the view that cooking fruit rather loses the point of its delectable freshness, but this somehow intensifies it. Besides, most peaches are disappointingly hard or lacking in luscious peachiness, so poaching the fruit gives even lucklustre peaches the boost they need, restoring them to their rightful glory.

Peach Melba
Photo by James Merrell

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups

For the Peaches

  • 750 millilitres water
  • 700 grams caster sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod (split lengthways)
  • 8 peaches

For the Raspberry Sauce

  • 375 grams raspberries
  • 25 grams icing sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon

To Serve

  • 1 large tub vanilla ice cream

For the Peaches

  • 3 cups water
  • 3½ cups superfine sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean (split lengthways)
  • 8 peaches

For the Raspberry Sauce

  • 3 cups raspberries
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon

To Serve

  • 1 large tub vanilla ice cream

Method

  1. Put the water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla pod into a wide saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Bring the pan to the boil and let it bubble away for about 5 minutes, then turn the pan down to a fast simmer.
  2. Cut the peaches in half, and, if the stones come out easily remove them, if not, then you can get them out later. Poach the peach halves in the sugar syrup for about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Test the cut side with the sharp point of a knife to see if they are soft, and then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  3. When all the peaches are poached, peel off their skins and let them cool (and remove any remaining stones). If you are making them a day in advance, let the poaching syrup cool and then pour into a dish with the peaches. Otherwise just bag up the syrup and freeze it for the next time you poach peaches.
  4. To make the raspberry sauce, liquidize the raspberries, icing sugar and lemon juice in a blender or else a processor. Sieve to remove the pips and pour this fantastically hued puree into a jug.
  5. To assemble the peach melba, allow two peach halves per person and sit them on each plate alongside a scoop or two of ice cream. Spoon the raspberry sauce over each one, and put the remaining puce-tinted red sauce in a jug for people to add themselves at the table.
  1. Put the water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean into a wide saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Bring the pan to the boil and let it bubble away for about 5 minutes, then turn the pan down to a fast simmer.
  2. Cut the peaches in half, and, if the stones come out easily remove them, if not, then you can get them out later. Poach the peach halves in the sugar syrup for about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Test the cut side with the sharp point of a knife to see if they are soft, and then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  3. When all the peaches are poached, peel off their skins and let them cool (and remove any remaining stones). If you are making them a day in advance, let the poaching syrup cool and then pour into a dish with the peaches. Otherwise just bag up the syrup and freeze it for the next time you poach peaches.
  4. To make the raspberry sauce, liquidize the raspberries, confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a blender or else a processor. Sieve to remove the pips and pour this fantastically hued puree into a jug.
  5. To assemble the peach melba, allow two peach halves per person and sit them on each plate alongside a scoop or two of ice cream. Spoon the raspberry sauce over each one, and put the remaining puce-tinted red sauce in a jug for people to add themselves at the table.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • This is lovely. The syrup smells divine and is such a pretty pink. I served them with yoghurt on the side which balanced the very sweet poaching liquid (no raspberry sauce).

    Posted by littlebird15 on 6th January 2014
  • Perfect recipe for a Valentine's Day dessert! Light, yet richly sweet, and 'cause it's fruit you can pretty much get away with calling it healthy. Two thumbs up Mrs. Lawson!

    Posted by SoHaChi on 14th February 2013
  • I had never tried poaching fruit before this recipe. Idiot. This is, without a doubt, the best way to use peaches that refuse to ripen. (which is usually all of them) More often than not, I just poach, skip the sauce, and serve with ice-cream. I know this is not the recipe, but it is delicious.

    Posted by craig74 on 28th December 2012
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