Peach Melba Cordial
Some fabulous fresh peaches and raspberries arrived by the back door with my daily vegetable delivery today; their smell is something rather special. OK, so I must admit that peaches here in the UK do not have the same flavour and scent as back home (in South Africa), but with the heat today, the fruits have ripened that bit quicker and they smell absolutely amazing.
Seeing the two together, I could not resist trying this classic combination for peaches and raspberries. It reminds me of the popular Peach Melba, where traditionally, poached peaches are served with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. This popular dessert was created by Escoffier in 1892 for the opera singer Nellie Melba. What a combination and what a triumph that after all these years we still use the flavour profile and refer to it, so it’s never gone out of fashion!
I have used the flavour combination to create a cordial that will be used in various drinks here at the British Larder. We will offer two versions, the first is a non-alcoholic posh pop served in a wine glass with plenty of ice and topped up with soda water to make a divine Peach Melba Spritzer (I think Nellie Melba would definitely approve!), and the other is our seasonal twist on a classic Tom Collins, called the Peach Melba Collins.
As the season is producing an abundance of superb seasonal fresh fruits I tend to get a bit carried away, buying more than I can actually use, and for that reason I freeze the raspberries and peaches (stoned and sliced) to prevent them from turning mouldy before I get to use them.
For this recipe, frozen raspberries will work just as well as fresh ones. The secret to the success of this recipe is that you must ensure the fruits are very ripe for maximum flavour impact.
This recipe does make quite a bit, so my top tip is to freeze it in smaller quantities so you can enjoy this delicious cordial for even longer.
- 530g (prepared weight) very ripe peaches, stoned and roughly chopped
- 600g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out (discard the pod)
- 120g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 litre cold water
- 1 teaspoon citric acid
Place all the ingredients, apart from the citric acid, in a medium saucepan over a low heat and leave the pan uncovered. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then just leave the pan over the low heat for 20 minutes – the fruits are steeping during this time and the mixture does not need to boil. Don’t be tempted to increase the heat as this will change the flavour.
Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the citric acid and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Pass the liquid through a piece of muslin cloth into a bowl or jug (use the steeped fruits left in the muslin as a compote served over yoghurt for breakfast). Pour the cordial into sterilised bottles and seal. Keep refrigerated until needed. The unopened bottles of cordial will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Once opened, keep refrigerated and use within 1 week. Alternatively, freeze the cordial in portions (in freezer bags), then defrost and use as required.
Makes 1.2–1.5 litres
Peach Melba Spritzer
To make Peach Melba Spritzer, for each serving, put plenty of ice in a glass, pour some Peach Melba Cordial over the ice and then top it up with soda water. If you prefer a sweeter drink, use carbonated lemonade instead. Decorate with fresh raspberries and peach slices and serve.
Alternative delicious drinks can be made using this cordial:
Peach Melba Collins
Put plenty of ice in a tall glass and pour over 50ml Peach Melba Cordial. Pour over 50ml gin of your choice, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, then add a few crushed frozen raspberries and a slice of fresh peach. Top the glass up with soda water, stir and serve.
Peach Melba Martini
Place a martini glass in the fridge to chill. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add 25ml gin or vodka, 50ml Martini Rosso and 50ml Peach Melba Cordial, and shake vigorously. Pour into the chilled glass (discarding/without the ice) and serve immediately.