Saturday, 25 August 2012

Simple Summer Essentials: Peach melba - musical theatre style


The Simple Summer Essentials series is coming to an end - along with this (all too brief) spell of hot weather. The last recipes I have for you are all sweet - today's peach melba, a patriotic pavlova and a way to use up overripe soft fruits to make a fool.

Peach Melba was originally a pudding created by Auguste Escoffier to honour the soprano Nellie Melba. Vanilla ice cream, peaches and raspberry sauce combined with an ice sculpture of a swan (as a nod to the opera she was singing in) to make an outstanding dessert, recreated time and time over. by the time I became familiar with peach melba it had been diluted into one of those little pots of yoghurt, that along with Angel delight were standard pudding fare in the 1980's. Not quite what escoffier had in mind I'm sure!

Growing up, peach melba seemed impossibly glamourous and fancy. The type of thing one would have at a posh restaurant. Little did I know, that the combination of peach and raspberry I loved so fiercely in my little pots of yoghurt was an easily recreated dessert, one that could easily be done and done diet style as well.

So today's post is Peach Melba - musical theatre style (that is to say less overblown than opera) Consider this the Rent to La Boheme, or Miss Saigon to Madam Butterfly of the pudding world.

Serves 2

100g 0% fat Greek yoghurt (I use Total)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g raspberries pureed
2 peaches
1 tsp dark, soft brown sugar

Split your peaches in half, and remove the stone. Sprinkle the cut side with the soft, dark brown sugar and put under a hot grill until the sugar starts to bubble.
Meanwhile, mix the vanilla extract into the yoghurt and leave to stand. You could sweeten if you wanted, either with a sweetener or sugar. I don't find I need it and avoid artificial sweeteners as a rule, but you should make sure it tastes lovely for you.
This is an ideal way to use up ripe raspberries - either mush them up in a bowl, or (if you're being fancy) push them through a seive.
Then either, stir the puree into the yoghurt and top the grilled peaches with this (as I've done in the pictures). Or top the grilled peaches with plain yoghurt and drizzle with the raspberry puree

It's such a simple pudding, but grilling the peaches makes it slightly different as the peaches take on a fantastic caramelly flavour from the sugar and grill. This method of cooking them would also work on a barbeque if you're planning on one last hurrah with yours this weekend.

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