This August’s issue of Martha Stewart Living has a whole bunch of things I’ve never heard of before – buckles, slumps, and, what we’re focusing on today, spooms. Yes, spoom – not spoon. (The auto-correcter is trying to proof my apparent misspelling.) It turns out spoom was once a favourite dessert in England, according to Wikipedia, and it’s name derives from the Italian spuma (foam). It’s a kind of frothy sorbet, in which fruit is folded into an Italian meringue and frozen. Another way is to fold the meringue into the frozen sorbet, and freeze again.
Peach Melba is considered a classic dessert, being invented in the early 1890′s by Auguste Escoffier, a French chef at the Savoy Hotel in London, to honour the Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba, whom the chef was a fan of. The presentation of the newly created dessert in the soprano’s name was true theatre: Chef Escoffier used an ice sculpture of a swan (which featured in the opera) to present the dessert, which carried peaches that rested on a bed of vanilla ice cream and topped with spun sugar. Later, he would make a new version of the dessert with the peaches topped with a raspberry puree or sauce.
In the case of this version of Peach Melba, peaches and raspberries are used and in place of the ice cream, an Italian meringue is made before pureed raspberries and peaches are folded in and frozen. Italian meringue is a cooked meringue (sometimes done over a double boiler) so there is no risk about the consumption of raw egg, such as salmonella.