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Baking with Dorie: End-of-Summer Sundae

Okay, this really isn't about baking, but it is about dessert, so I hope you'll cut me some slack. I'm also hoping that once you get a taste of this sundae, you won't care that you didn't turn your oven on this week.

The sundae is a gently tweaked peach Melba, a dessert of peaches, raspberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream, created by world famous chef Auguste d'Escoffier, in honor of the opera singer Nellie Melba. I hadn't made one in years—make that many, many years—but we'd been getting such great peaches this summer that I found myself reprising lots of tucked-away favorite recipes. Of course, once I made this, I made it again and again, reminded of why some dishes become classics: they're just so good.

The last time I made the sundae, which was this week, I made it a true end-of-summer dessert—I kept the poached peaches and raspberry sauce, but I swapped the vanilla ice cream for sweet-corn ice cream. I'd never made corn ice cream before—had never really thought about it—but there were the peaches and right near them at the farm stand was the corn, so bingo!

I don't have a clue whether Escoffier would approve. In fact, I'm not even sure you're going to approve, so here's what I've done: I've given you the recipe for a sundae with really good vanilla ice cream, then, in "Playing Around," you'll find the instructions for the sweet-corn ice cream.

If you have a second, let me know what you think. In the meantime, I hope those of you in the States enjoy the long weekend.

Playing Around: For Sweet-Corn Ice Cream, you'll find the ingredients are the same as those for the vanilla ice cream below, but in addition you'll need 3 ears of fresh sweet corn and some sea salt. (I used a pinch of fleur de sel.) Cut the kernels off the cobs, and set them aside. Cut each cob into 3 pieces and toss them into a large pot. Add the milk and cream, bring to the boil, turn off the heat, cover and let the mixture steep for at least 30 minutes. Pull out the cobs and discard them. Add the kernels to the pot, bring to the boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 3 minutes. If you've got an immersion blender, whir the kernels just a few times to break them up—you don't want to purée them (it's more like chopping them)—or do this in a regular blender or food processor. Strain the liquid into a large measuring cup; discard the corn kernels (or use them for fritters). If necessary, add milk to bring the liquid make to the 3-cup mark. Proceed as for vanilla ice cream, but add only 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and, if you'd like, a pinch of salt.

Peach Melba

About the author: Dorie Greenspan is the author of several books on dessert, most recently Baking: From My Home to Yours. Dorie can also be found at DorieGreenspan.com and on the Bon Appétit website, where she is a special correspondent.

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