This time of year I always find myself determined to stay in my Summer bubble, unwilling to acknowledge that another season is biting at Summer’s heels and wanting to enjoy every last minute with friends; especially outside as the sweltering heat starts to wane and days are almost perfect. Whether we convene on my patio, their home or even outside enjoying Happy Hour at a local watering hole I don’t want it to end. It will be cold soon enough and I’m not ready. So it seems fitting to wrap up the end of this month with our second Progressive Eats supper club hosted by my friend Liz from the blog ‘That Skinny Chick Can Bake‘ with a Summer Barbecue filled with foods great for your end of summer or Labor Day event. For my contribution I’ve brought dessert. This Peach Melba Pavlova with Bourbon Caramel Sauce wraps up all the best of desserts in one package. A great presentation always makes friends feel so special and the presentation lives up to expectations by combining an amazing light, crisp meringue filled with some of the best fruits of summer; peaches and raspberries. All layered with whipping cream and topped with some homemade bourbon caramel sauce. Yes…EASY. And every bit as good as it sounds!
I’ve made a similar dessert for years called Raspberry Boccone Dolce that combines fresh raspberries and chocolate with baked meringues. It is so good and I almosts made it for this month’s Summer Barbecue event but then fresh peaches from the Western slope of the Rocky Mountains happened. We Coloradans think we have the best of all peaches. The warm days and cool nights of the peaches grown in Palisades, Colorado are amazing. Big, ripe, juicy and so sweet we simply think they are just the best. And they were a great idea for this summer dessert.
Peach Melba is typically a dessert of peaches and raspberry sauce with vanilla ice cream. The dish was invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London, to honor the Australian soprano, Nellie Melba in 1892 when Melba was performing in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden. The Duke of Orléans gave a dinner party to celebrate her triumphant performance and Escoffier created a new dessert and displayed it using an ice sculpture of a swan, which is featured in the opera. The swan carried peaches which rested on a bed of vanilla ice cream and which were topped with spun sugar. In 1900 Escoffier created a new version of the dessert for the opening of the Carlton Hotel, where he was head chef. He omitted the ice swan and topped the ice cream and peaches with raspberry purée. Other variations of this dessert have used pears, apricots, or strawberries instead of peaches and/or use raspberry sauce or melted red currant jelly instead of raspberry purée. I was lucxky to have fresh raspberries and peaches and for my version opted for meringues and whipping cream instead of vanilla ice cream. Perfect choice I must say.
You know what I love. It’s looks so fabulous but it’s SO easy. Ever made a meringue pie? For this dessert you simply spoon that meringue onto parchment paper that has 9″ circles drawn on them and they’re baked low and slow the day before. Make the caramel the same day so it can cool. On the day of your party, simply layer the meringues with whipped cream and fresh fruit and some of that caramel sauce. Easy right? Elegant too. But the taste is what makes it so special. That perfect fruit with rich whipping cream and some crispy meringues and you’re got a show stopper for your end of summer fling!
I wanted to share this photo with you of one of my favorite young men. Tyler lives a few houses away from me and is simply the sweetest boy; he and his brothers Mason and Nolan are the ones who show up at my door asking, ‘You need any help?’ and I just want to squeeze all three of them they are so cute. He and his dad, Kevin, both take karate classes and recently participated in a Day of Empathy. It is an exercise to remind them how lucky they are and to not take the little things for granted. They are required to see what it is like to live with a handicap for 24 hours choosing from being blind, deaf mute or being confined to a wheelchair and then journal about the experience. Tyler chose blind and wore this mask for a full day and made it to my house all by himself but a big part of the exercise is to go out in public to see how it feels and to see how differently the general public treats those with handicaps. At this house he was just treated with a piece of this dessert which seems easy compared to navigating most of what he did for the day. Finding the plate, the fork, even getting the food into your mouth when you can’t see is all work when it’s usually just something we don’t think about. I am so proud of him and his parents; love that they are teaching their kids about this world that exists beyond their own personal experience. Glad I could brighten his day for a moment too…and he came back the next day for another piece!
Before this show stopper though you need more. More fabulous food and the perfect summer drink with fruit spritzers. Make sure you check out my friends dishes that they are bringing to the party including another wonderful dessert; I want them all!
- That Skinny Chick Can Bake – Whiskey Marinated Pork Tenderloin
- Sunchowder’s Emporia – Grilled Tequila Lime Shrimp Skewers
- Stetted – Pimiento Cheese Jalapeño Poppers
- Barbara Bakes – Cheesy Garlic Bread
- Healthy. Delicious.– Grilled Vegetable Panzanella
- Pastry Chef Online – Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho
- Never Enough Thyme – Curried Corn
- The Heritage Cook – Amped up BBQ Beans
- SpiceRoots – Grilled Rosemary Potatoes
- Miss in the Kitchen – Summer Fruit Spritzers
Peach Melba Pavlova with Caramel Sauce
For the Meringues:
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup sugar
For the Bourbon Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ stick Butter 4 Tbsps
- ½ cup Half-and-half
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla
- Pinch Of Sea Salt
- 2 Tbsp Bourbon
For the Whipping Cream:
- 3 cups whipping cream
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
To Assemble the Pavlova:
- 3 large peaches sliced (I leave the skins on; prettier that way)
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
To Make the Meringues:
- Beat egg whites until frothy. Add salt and cream of tartar, beating until stiff. Gradually add sugar continuing to beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and trace 3 circles with cake pan, each 8 or 9 inches in diameter.
- Spread the meringue evenly over the circles and bake at 250 degrees for 35-50 minutes, or until the meringues are pale gold and still pliable. Remove from the oven and carefully peel the paper from the bottom.
- Place on cake racks to dry. The meringues may be made the night before.
To Make the Bourbon Caramel Sauce:
- Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat.
- Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes until sauce thickens; remove from heat and allow to cool.
To Make the Whipped Cream
- Chill bowl and beaters. Put whipping cream into bowl and beat until thick; add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until thick and soft peaks form.
To Make the Pavlova:
- Slice the peaches and combine them with the brown sugar and lemon juice. Allow to sit; stirring occasionally.
- Smear a bit of the caramel sauce on a serving plate to hold the bottom meringue layer in place. Place meringue layer on top of sauce.
- Drizzle meringue with some caramel sauce. Spread 1/3 of whipped cream over caramel.
- Arrange a third of both peaches and raspberries on top of the whipped cream.
- Repeat two more times. Meringue, caramel, whipped cream and fruit.
- Once all three layers are complete drizzle more caramel over entire pavlova. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best if eaten the same day it's made.
Welcome to another edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
This month’s theme is Summer Barbecue hosted by Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake. You’ll love all the summertime recipes that will be perfect for your next cookout or Labor Day gathering.