peach melba popsicles Recipes

peach melba popsicles

When I moved to New York City 16 years ago I am pretty sure that on some level I believed if I went far enough above 14th Street with money I did not have, I’d reenter some gauzy version of New York from the past, you know, stuffy restaurants with tufted leather banquettes, paintings in gilded frames, black and white tiled floors and stories about when Sinatra was a regular. Places where mutton chops, Lobster Newburg, Baked Alaska and things in champagne cream sauce never went off the menu. It’s not entirely clear to me why I thought I was moving to 1950 but needless to say, in the actual New York City I moved to, my first years were filled with the typical stuff, a walkup apartment in an illegal sublet, a terrible job, a lot of wine, virtually no hangovers (because: youth) and a lot of five-dumplings-for-a-dollar and $1.50 slices at 1 a.m.


what you'll need, plus some sugar and water

I still love those old-fashioned places, though, and I have yet to find peach melba on a menu. It’s too bad; I realize it sounds dreadful, like something an ancient aunt named Melba would eat or worse, something someone snuck melba toast into (fair enough, as they’re named after the same person), thinking we wouldn’t notice, but as it’s in fact a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a poached peach half and a cascade of tart raspberry sauce, it’s probably the most August dessert, ever. Escoffier created the dessert in 1892 for a dinner party to honor the opera singer Nellie Melba, who was performing in Covent Garden. Wikipedia says that an ice sculpture of a swan, which had been featured in the opera, carried peaches that rested on a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with spun sugar but was later replaced with raspberry purée.

overripe peaches are perfect here
peaches
blending the berries

I’m sorry if you were hoping for ice swans today; I hope ice popsicles will suffice. A 50/50 marbling of fresh peaches (although frozen will work fine), vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberry sauce that together is like the highest calling of a creamsicle, each bite a different intersection of sweet, sour and creamy, no two tastes or popsicles exactly alike. Realistically, this will lead to needing more, so I trust you’ll plan accordingly.

marble it!
peach melba popsicles
peach melba popsicles

previously

One year ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
Two years ago: Cold Noodles with Miso Lime and Ginger
Three years ago: Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini
Four years ago: Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
Five years ago: Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey
Six years ago: Everyday Chocolate Cake
Seven years ago: Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
Eight years ago: Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing and Key Lime Meltaways
Nine years ago: Quick Zucchini Saute

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Miso Black Sesame Caramel Corn
1.5 Years Ago: Chocolate Oat Crumble
2.5 Years Ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts
3.5 Years Ago: Egg Salad with Pickled Celery and Coarse Dijon
4.5 Years Ago: Cheddar Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread

Peach Melba Popsicles

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 30 minutes + Freezing time
  • Print

I used these molds, which hold about 1/3 cup liquid each. You can use either fresh or frozen peaches and berries here. For the peaches, if yours are a little overripe/soft, you can probably get away without cooking them and just puree them. The same goes for frozen peaches, which will no longer be firm once defrosted. The cooking is just to ensure a smoother puree. Re, the simple syrup you’ll make with sugar and water: I learned this from Fany Gerson’s excellent Paletas book, which is that it freezes to a better texture than just sugar will so I always use it.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole raspberries
  • 2 cups peeled chopped peaches in small/medium chunks
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt or non-dairy vanilla ice cream of your choice, slightly softened (think: soft-serve consistency)

Combine sugar and water in a small-medium saucepan (intentionally larger than it requires) and bring to a simmer; stir until sugar dissolves. Pour 1/4 cup syrup (just eyeball it — it’s 1/3 of mixture) over raspberries in a bowl. Add peach chunks to remaining syrup in saucepan and bring back to a simmer, cook for 1 to 2 minute, until they soften. Let both raspberries and peaches cool in syrup. The raspberries will quickly but you can hasten the peaches along by setting them in a larger bowl of ice water for 10 to 15 minutes. In a blender or food processor, puree peaches and their syrup first, then scrape into a measuring cup with a spout and stir in almond extract, if using, then puree raspberries and place in a smaller spouted cup. (The raspberry color would muddle the peach puree much more than vice-versa, hence blending peaches first.)

Pour a tiny splash of raspberry (you’ll only want to use half of your total sauce) in the bottom of each popsicle mold or small glass that you’re using as a mold (I like champagne flutes, for this and really everything), following by a larger splash of peaches (again, using about half the puree) and dolloping in a little softened ice cream. Repeat with remaining raspberry, peaches and ice cream. Use a skewer to lightly marble the mixtures together — I get the best swirls by swiping the skewer right along the inside of each mold. Freeze popsicles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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62 comments on peach melba popsicles

  1. My mouth is watering over this recipe. Wondering: have you tried it using lower sugar quantities (with the gorgeous, in-season sweet fruit you’re using)?

    I might try it with regular greek yogurt to cut down on the sugar and reduce the added sugar as I like my pops a little less sweet. BTW, your recipes are just the best and inspired me to start making popsicles (my brother calls me Queen of the Popsicles these days).

    1. deb

      I feel like you could drop it to 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar, however, things taste much less sweet and much more tart from the freezer. I.e. this had been my plan for the next batch but we ended up finding it just-right in sweetness. Hope that helps.

      1. Thanks Deb – that sounds like a good proportion – I’ll give it a shot. I’ve also been using xanthum gum in my popsicles (1/2 tsp/batch from Bob’s Red Mill), which helps them solidify without too many ice crystals netting slightly creamier pops.

  2. In my childhood bedroom there was an old box high in the closet that proclaimed MELBA TOAST. I was fascinated by it, and disappointed to discover in adulthood that Melba toasts are just crispbreads. Somehow I missed their namesake-cousin, peach Melba, till just now; seems far more exciting!

  3. Valerie

    LOVE Peach Melba! I actually make overnight oats Peach Melba style. Can’t wait to make this, and I have peaches waiting for me in the kitchen! Perfect timing!

  4. I made something similar to this earlier this week, but with home-made vanilla ice cream. It was a kind of viennetta, with fresh fruit. I made it twice–the first time it was too hot here (no A/C) plus I’d gotten only 30% fat crème fraîche. it tasted fine, but lacked volume. The second time, I learned that in France, the mind-boggling variety of crème fraîche has a little four-star rating at the bottom of the label, showing whether it’s good for baking, sauces or chantilly. It only took me 12 years to see this. Clearly I don’t make enough whipped cream.
    The ice cream was a custard base and did NOT require an ice-cream maker. Very easy. I would be tempted to do it again, as popsicles….

  5. gfwithlb

    These popsicles look divine!! I have never heard of Peach Melba before and I totally agree–it sounds like she would be friends with your Aunt Opal. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

  6. Sandy Radeke

    They look really pretty with a more layered appearance but I wonder if I’d like the taste better if the vanilla, peach and raspberry were mixed together so you got them all at once. Did you try it this way?

  7. tone

    I just got a zoku (brand new for $10 at the thrift shop!) and have been making popsicles for the last 3 days. Ive managed to sneak yogurt into my kid who refuses to eat it. Amen. I’ll be giving this recipe a shot ASAP (subbing plain whole milk yogurt w/ a little sugar for the ice cream)

  8. Margaret

    My favorite restaurant serves peach melba, in old fashioned parfait glasses. It is a heavenly treat! Also, I saw a peach melba ice cream cake on Instagram. That is all.

  9. JP

    Your popsicle recipes are some of my favorites, and you sure do have variety! I think a popsicle party is in order…that is if our weather would get past the 62 degrees we have in CA today! Must get out my vintage Tupperware popsicle molds. Nothing shouts summer like your frozen treats. Thanks for another winner!

  10. C

    Sounds tasty. Could you fix this typo: “a as mold”? I made a lot of popsicles last year–when I turned down the freezer temp they came out less icy.

  11. Erica

    How do you think this would this work layered in a bread pan and then unmolded and sliced? How much more of each of the flavors do you think a 9×5 bread pan would need? Any ideas for a sauce, or what to serve with it in slice form? Obviously I’m thinking about adults who THINK they’re too sophisticated for popsicles….

  12. Rebecca Pattiz

    Reminds me of the delicious melba sauce you can get on frozen yogurt at Bloomingdales, which feels like a very 1950s thing to do…

  13. Nechama

    I searched the internet looking for vegan and/or gluten free peach ice cream, but then your amazing recipe entered my email and to my surprise there it was! The most delicious, superbly August, Peach popsicle. Oh did this bring back memories or creamsicles past (visions of sugar plums dancing . . .). Thank you for truly NY flavor.

  14. Lorelle

    About 35, maybe more years ago when I was in my late teens, I worked part time waitressing in a historical park here in Australia called Sovereign Hill. It is based on 1850’s goldfields era. At the time we also catered for out of park hours ‘theatre restaurant’ nights where shows had to be similar to what would have been put on in the 1850’s. They were very popular, and I remember that we used to serve ‘peach melba’ as one of the desserts as Dame Nellie came to the gold fields and performed in that era. It was a fabulous dessert that I loved eating once our guests had all been served. Thanks so much for this new representation of such a fine dessert.

  15. Debby

    Excepting the mutton chops, I remember those ’50s style restaurants. Delmonico’s and a dining room at the Plaza Hotel come first to mind.

    I haven’t had a peach Melba in years. But if you wanted to make this more healthy, why not add the purees to yogurt and have it for breakfast.

  16. Hi Deb, I actually have a question about a cookbook recipe but since it is also peach related this seemed an appropriate spot. What do you think about making your peach dumplings recipe in advance? Would it hold up if made the day (or two) before eating? And how would you store, on the countertop or in the fridge? Thank you!

    1. deb

      They should hold up in the fridge but keep them in the fridge and if you’re going to rewarm them before eating, that’s when you should put the hard sauce on so it doesn’t sit on the crust too long and soften it.

  17. Patricia

    I have a question about freezing in champagne flutes – the post ends with you saying ‘freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions’. My champagne flutes did not come with popsicle freezing instructions :-)))). Any recommendations?

    1. I wouldn’t recommend freezing in champagne flutes unless they’re very hearty glasses. I’ve seen people do it but it’s worth buying the Popsicle maker Deb recommends in this or other posts – excellent pop shapes and easy to remove the frozen pops when you get the nack for it. Plus, I bought like 1000 Popsicle sticks for less than $10 on Amazon

    2. deb

      For those, just freeze them (and don’t use your best flutes). This was more in reference to Zoku and other popular systems that freeze very quickly.

  18. Carol S

    Peach Melba was a common dessert (there was one every night) of my childhood. The peaches were canned, and the raspberry sauce was some fancy jarred stuff that was always in the fridge.

    1. deb

      Manufacturer of your popsicle molds. If they’re classic, just freeze until solid. But others (zoku are popular) freeze quickly using a machine…

  19. PennyC

    After some digestive issues, I’m slowly adding fruits and vegetables back to my diet. These popsicles are calling out to me. I even have this popsicle mold!

  20. Rosemary

    Made these in 1/2 pint jars* and keep them in the freezer. Also pretty and a week later they are still full-flavor!

    *using what’s at hand ;-)

  21. candice

    Peach Melba is on the menu at Antoine’s in New Orleans at this very moment. I had baked Alaska there once as part of an insane 8 course meal, but the place has gone downhill….

  22. Mary Beth

    I made these popsicles over the weekend and they turned out great! I did pass the pureed raspberries through a sieve to get seeds out. I also steeped some fresh rosemary in the simple syrup which gave it more depth. I used fat free frozen yogurt which was also good. I’m doing these again with blueberries soon.

  23. PennyC

    Thanks for this recipe, Deb! I made this last night, and except for the fact that my raspberries were a little too tart, it is perfection! I would add a little more of the syrup to them next time. I posted a pic on Facebook and every relative I have has demanded some when they visit.

  24. Cindy

    Deb, made these for a friends daughter that had her tonsils out yesterday. Perfect idea except I had a really tough time getting them out of the molds. We dipped in hot water. I ordered the same mold you had used from Amazon. Any tips?! My son and I managed to get five out successfully. It made for a good story when we delivered!

    1. deb

      I just run it under warm water, yank, if it doesn’t work, repeat again and again. Usually after 3 dips, I can pull it out. Gently! You don’t want to break it. Have never not been able to get one out, though, unless perhaps it wasn’t fully frozen yet.

  25. Tina

    Yum!!!! These look like summer.

    I had never heard of Peach Melba until listening to a Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast episode on Nellie Melba. The podcast includes the story of the creation of the Peach Melba. Sounds like she was quite the interesting lady for her time “Her life was everything you’d expect from a diva: foods named for her, command performances and a scandalous royal affair.”
    http://www.missedinhistory.com/podcasts/dame-nellie-melba-part-1/

  26. Deb, like a kid on Christmas I tore open my newly purchased popsicle molds as soon as they arrived yesterday (I live abroad and it took 2 months to get them) and made these gorgeous popsicles. They’re perfect, but I’m having lots of trouble getting them out of the molds. Ran warm water over them, and managed to get two out. For the rest, I accidentally yanked the stick out or got half a popsicle. I put the sticks back I’m and let them re-freeze overnight, but how do I salvage these parties in my mouth? And do you have any tips on how to store these once they’re free from their molds?

      1. Mary Beth

        I put mine in individual zip lock ‘snack’ size baggies, then put the baggies in another freezer bag. They don’t last long though! You do need to make sure thoroughly frozen (over night best), and as to unmolding, I had to dip in warm water about three times and then you just keep pulling hard between dips.

    1. deb

      Once unmolded, I space them out on a tray lined with parchment or plastic (so if they stick, I can just lift the paper/plastic and peel them off) and then once they’re re-solidified, put them in a freezer bag.

  27. Courtney

    These were amazing! East to make and easy to eat ;-). I forgot the almond extract, which was disappointing as I love almonds and peaches, but they were still awesome. I have the same ice pop mold and I love it – it just takes some warm water and gentle wiggling to get the pops out. Thanks so much for this great recipe!

  28. MJ

    I made these, and they came out both beautiful and delicious. But I’m an even bigger fan of your swirled berry yogurt popsicles. I find it much easier to work with the yogurt than the ice cream – there was a very narrow window of time between having the ice cream soft enough to dollop into the molds and it being too liquid. I also found that these melted some with unmolding, which hasn’t been an issue with the yogurt kind. (For your other readers, I fill a large mug with hot water and dip in the fully-frozen popsicle, count to 10 and see if it unmolds, adding more time if necessary. I either use individual cheapo sandwich bags for storage or if I don’t have the cheap bags layer waxed paper between the popsicles and put them in a plastic bag.) I might try these with yogurt next time. I’m really glad that you inspired me to get the popsicle molds last year – it’s a great way to make delicious, portion-controlled treats.

  29. Megan

    These are great! Made them with sweet cream ice cream. I’m not good at portioning things by eye, and since all 3 components are so delicious, that doesn’t matter at all. They really need to be frozen solid before unmolding, or the stick pulls right out.

  30. It always looks easy when someone else is making food…. I bought me different molds, smaller ones. I used them couple of times but can’t compare to yours at all!.. :(

  31. Jen

    Deb, your website continues to inspire me. I stumbled across popsicle molds on sale and gave this recipe a try. The raspberries at the store looked blah so I used strawberries instead and they worked great as a substitute. I used all the ice cream but ended up with leftover puree somehow, probably my popsicle molds are slightly smaller than the ones you use. My kids enjoyed but my husband and I loved them. When I said to him, “It’s like eating sunshine.” he agreed whole-heartedly.

  32. Renee

    I made this…sort of. I had everything I needed to make these popsicles except for the sticks for my popsicle mold! I did not want to go to the store and at the same time I did long to clear out the remains of an opened box of graham crackers I had. So, I made a simple graham cracker crust and baked it in a 9in pie plate. Once it was cool, I poured the ice cream and fruit purees into the crust in layers. I used all the ice cream, about half of the peach puree, and more than half of the raspberry puree. Froze it for a few hours, and had a fantastic ice cream pie!! I poured the remaining fruit puree into the couple popsicle molds I had that came with sticks.