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Peach, raspberry and vanilla is a match made in heaven. Classically they are the flavours that make up a Peach Melba, created in the late 1800s by Escoffier for Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. While vanilla ice-cream is the traditional accompaniment for the fruit, the vanilla ricotta works wonderfully with this dish, which can be served for breakfast or dessert. You could substitute a brioche slice for the sourdough bread.
- 1 1⁄2 cups firm ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean, inner seeds only (reserve bean to poach the peaches)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon rind
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, strained
- 1 medium ripe but firm peach
- 4 slices sourdough bread, well toasted
- 1 cup fresh raspberry
- reserved peach syrup
- 1⁄4 cup small mint leaf
- icing sugar, to dust
- For the ricotta, combine all the ingredients in a food processor or cake mixer. Process or whisk until smooth and shiny (about 5-8 minutes). The ricotta can be refrigerated at this stage and kept for 1 or 2 days, but do allow it to come to room temperature and give it a good whisk before serving.
- For the peaches, combine all ingredients except the peaches in a heavy-based saucepan.
- Score the top of the peaches as you would for blanching a tomato. In a small saucepan, just large enough to hold the peaches, bring the syrup to the boil then add the peaches. Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and simmer gently until the skin starts to come away from the fruit (about 5-10 minutes depending on the ripeness).
- Remove the peaches from the syrup with a slotted spoon and plunge into iced water to cool. Reduce the syrup by a third over a rapid heat or until thick and glossy. Strain and reserve. Once the peaches are cool, gently peel off the skin. If not using right away, refrigerate the peaches at this stage.
- Cut in half, remove the seeds, and place the peach halves in a single layer on a flat heatproof tray. Spoon a little of the peach syrup over the peaches and grill for 5-8 minutes under a hot grill until slightly caramelised.
- To assemble, smear a thick layer of ricotta on each piece of sourdough. Place 2 peach halves on each. Toss the raspberries in the reserved syrup then divide among the 4 bruschetta (you probably won’t need all the syrup, which can be reserved for another use). Top with the mint leaves. Dust each dish with a good amount of icing sugar and serve right away.