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Peach Melba

From Flavors Restaurant at Wake Tech

This dessert, created in the late 1800s by August Escoffier, the father of classical French cooking, is named for Australian opera singer Nellie Melba. The classic recipe calls for poached peaches, raspberry sauce, vanilla ice cream, toasted almonds, and whipped cream. Preparation is modified slightly.

Makes 20 servings.

10 ripe peaches

1 quart water

2 pounds sugar

2 vanilla beans

Raspberries, fresh or frozen

Sugar as needed

Heavy cream as needed

Powdered sugar as needed

Brown butter ice cream, (recipe follows

Almond brittle, recipe follows

Peel peaches by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Place the peaches into the boiling water. Boil for 1 minute for ripe peaches, or longer for peaches that are not as ripe. Place them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Peel the peaches. Cut them in half and remove the pith.

Place 1 quart of water in a pot with the 2 pounds of sugar to make simple syrup. Split, scrape, and place the vanilla beans into the simple syrup along with the peaches. Keep the peaches submerged by placing a china plate on top of the peaches.

Slowly poach the peaches until they are tender; check for tenderness with a paring knife. Once done, set the pot with the syrup and peaches into a bowl with ice to cool the peaches and stop the cooking process.

Make the raspberry sauce by pureeing raspberries with enough sugar to make the sauce pleasantly sweet (raspberries have a good amount of acidity, which balances well with the sweet peaches and ice cream), but not too sweet. Push the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove all the seeds.

Whip heavy whipping cream with a little bit of powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff. Create a plate with the peach, the raspberry sauce, brown butter ice cream, almond brittle, and the whipped cream.

Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream (modified from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, by Jeni Bauer)

Makes 1 quart.

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 1/2 ounces cream cheese

Pinch of salt

3/4 pound unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set aside. Whisk the cream cheese and the salt in a medium bowl until smooth, set aside.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and let it bubble until the foam starts to subside and the butter looks clear. Remove the clarified butter (can be used for other purposes). Continue to brown the milk solids until they are rich and brown in color, but not black! Remove from the heat and let it stand. You should have no/very little clear butter in the pan, only brown milk solids.

Add the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup to the brown milk/butter solids. Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer it for about 4 minutes.

Gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry and simmer the mixture another minute. Remove from heat.

As the mixture cools, whisk in the cream cheese mixture. Chill the mixture. Once the mixture is cold, place it in the ice cream maker and freeze it.

Fold in the almond brittle, recipe below, and place the ice cream into the freezer.

Almond Brittle

Makes 1 cup

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces butter

8 ounces slivered almonds, toasted

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Generously oil a baking sheet. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a 4-quart saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Insert a candy thermometer, add the butter and cook the mixture until it reaches 300 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the toasted almonds and the baking soda, working quickly and combining them thoroughly. Pour this mixture out onto the oiled baking sheet, spreading it into a 1/4-inch layer.

Allow to cool completely. Coarsely chop the brittle in the food processor.

Flavors Restaurant

9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh

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