Peach Melba with Almond Croquant

Peach Melba with Almond Croquant Recipe

Peach Melba is a refreshing and fairly light dessert. It's normally composed of grilled peaches, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. I had a little fun with tradition today and paired the delicious trio with an almond and peach croquant (croquant pêche amande). The croquant reinforces the peach flavor of the dessert while providing a contrast in temperature to the ice cream. Its crunchy exterior is also a welcome foil to the softness of the grilled peaches. All in all, this elegant dessert will surely impress your summer dinner guests!

Since I received the Technique® Hard Anodized 12"x18" BBQ pan with DuPont™ Teflon®, I almost never do barbecue without this pan anymore. It does an outstanding job of grilling food on our barbecue. The slits let the charcoal essence through and provide beautiful grill marks, while still being small enough to keep the flames out or letting food fall through. The ridges channel the grease and fat from the meat down around the outsides of the pan, stopping it from going onto your barbecue and making clean up easier. This obviously wasn't an issue when grilling peaches, but it's definitely helpful when cooking savory dishes.

The biggest advantage I've found is that you can move food around easily (even with metal utensils) thanks to the non-stick coating. And I love the fact that the pan has tall handles, making it very portable. My only issue with the pan is that it's somewhat large and may be a tight fit for smaller grills. It fits comfortably on our grill, but I believe that they also make smaller versions you might want to look at if you're interested.

Peach Melba Recipe with Picture

Ingredients

Yields: 8 servings

12 small peaches (about 8 cups), ripe
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons whole almonds (optional), peeled (blanched)
1½ tablespoons baking powder
10 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons shortening (or more butter)
½ cup goat milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
2½ tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup raspbberry coulis
8 scoops homemade vanilla goat milk ice cream
8 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, for dusting
¼ cup sliced almonds (optional), lightly toasted


Directions

Grilling the peaches:

Peel the peaches (if the fruit is very ripe, the skin should come right off); cut them in half and remove the stones. Brush both sides of the peaches with a thin layer of oil.

Place the grill pan on a hot barbecue. Once the pan is hot, place the peach halves on the grill pan for 2 minutes cut side down. Lift the peaches with tongs and rotate them 45° so criss-cross charred marks are visible. Close the grill and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Coarsely chop half the amount of peaches. Set aside.

For the almond croquant:

Coarsely chop the peeled almonds and place them in a mini-food processor. Pulse for 10 seconds until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Dice 6 tablespoons of butter.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soft butter, shortening, seeds from the vanilla bean, nutmeg, salt and granulated sugar. Mix using the back of a fork (or a stainless-steel pastry blender) until it forms sandy crumbs of butter, sugar and flour. Add the coarsely chopped almonds (if using). Slowly add the cold goat milk and blend until it forms a barely wet dough. Do NOT over-mix. Cover with a towel and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Line 8 7-ounce ramekins with parchment paper. Cover the bottom of the ramekins with the coarsely chopped grilled peaches (divided equally). Top with the chilled dough and spread an even layer. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 18-20 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Delicately unmold the croquants and discard the parchment paper. Transfer to individual serving plates. Set aside.

Assembly time:

Place 2 halved grilled peaches next to the almond croquant. Accompany the dessert with a scoop of goat milk ice cream. Drizzle with a few teaspoons of raspberry coulis. Sprinkle with lightly toasted almond slices. Decorate with fresh mint leaves and dust with a little powder sugar. 

Serve warm with a hot cup of tea.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Goat milk pairs wonderfully with fruit. If you don't have goat milk, regular cow's milk (or even water) is just as delicious.

Peeling the peaches is optional but I find the velvety skin unpleasant to chew. Here's a neat method to peel them. Make a small, shallow criss-cross cut at the bottom of the fresh fruit using a bread knife (I use a bread knife because the blade won't bruise the fruit). Fill a small saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil. Place the peaches in the water and wait for at least 1 minute. Remove the peaches (I use a large strainer or a slotted spoon), then transfer to an ice cold bath to stop the cooking process. The skin will come right off. 

The peaches from our garden were extremely sweet and juicy. If that's not the case, you could sprinkle them with a bit of sugar.

If you have any nut allergyies (which is the case for one person in our household), you can omit the almonds and the dessert will still be delicious.

The shortening helps give a crunchy exterior to the croquant.

You can prepare the croquants in advance and store them in the refrigerator overnight. 

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 7, 2012.


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