On a glamorous note, the recipe for Peche Melba was famously created by Auguste Escoffier for Dame Nellie Melba. The "king of chefs" often attended the Covent Garden performances of the famous diva and once created a dish of peaches on a bed of vanilla ice-cream in her honour, embedding it in a silver terrine nestled between the wings of a swan, carved from ice. My perfectly cheeky peach cheeks are served on vanilla ice-cream and raspberry puree.
1 vanilla bean,
4 ripe peaches, unblemished
12 small mint leaves
Bring sugar, vanilla bean and water to boil in a small saucepan, stirring. Poach the peaches for 10 minutes or until tender, then remove. Boil the syrup for 5 minutes until reduced by half. Set aside to cool.
Peel the peaches, cut in half and remove the stone (this is easier said than done with clingstones, which is why I call for 4 peaches to get 4 perfect halves).
Whiz the raspberries in a blender with 100mL of the sugar syrup, then push the puree through a fine sieve and chill.
To serve, cut the ice-cream into four 3-4cm deep slices and use a 3cm circular pastry-cutter to make four rounds. Place each round on a chilled, shallow dessert plate, arrange half a peach cut-side down on top, and pour the raspberry puree over the top.
Scatter with mint leaves and serve immediately.