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Champagne-poached Peach, Champagne Cheesecake

‘A stylish conclusion to a good lunch in the garden, this dish requires a little time in the kitchen. Several components can be made in advance and stored. Alternatively, simplify things by only making the cheesecake. Or, even easier, serve the poached peaches with their poaching syrup and your favourite ice cream.’ – John Williams, author of The Ritz Cookbook


You will need

sugar thermometer | 6 x 8cm (3& 1/4 inch) ring moulds

3cm (1 & 1/4inches) deep

2 nonstick silicone baking mats

ice cream machine




1 x quantity Almond Nougatine Dough

1 x quantity Sabl. Biscuit Dough

24 Atsina Cress sprigs


For the almond meringue

3 whole almonds

1 x quantity Meringue


For the almond crack tuile

4 whole almonds | 200g (7oz) glucose syrup

200g (7oz) caster sugar

50ml (2f l oz) water


For the poached peaches

2 peaches

100ml (3 & 1/2f l oz) Stock Syrup

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped

1 star anise

1 bay leaf

250ml (9f l oz) Champagne


For the peach sorbet

4 small peaches

350ml peach puree

150ml (5f l oz)

Stock Syrup

50ml (2f l oz) Champagne


For the Champagne cheesecake

4g (⅔ tsp) gelatine leaves

125g (4 1/2oz) full-fat cream cheese

zest of 1/4 lime

zest of 1/4 lemon

zest of 1/4 orange

1/4vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped

4 tbsp elderflower cordial

50ml (2f l oz) Champagne

40ml (1& 1/2f l oz) egg yolks

65g (2 1/4oz) caster sugar

165ml (5 3/4f l oz) double cream, whipped to soft peaks



Make the meringue “drops”

Preheat the oven to 140˚C (275°F), Gas Mark 1. Put the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 8 minutes until golden.

Make the meringue drops following the instructions on page 229 but finely grate the toasted almonds over the meringue bulbs prior to drying out in the oven.

To make the almond crack tuile

Roast the almonds as above and leave to cool. Line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper. Weigh the glucose into a heavy-based pan, followed by the sugar and measured water. Mix well and brush the sides with a wet pastry brush to avoid crystallization. Place over a medium-low heat and cook to 154°C (309°F), then carefully pour on to the lined tray and leave to cool. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. When cold, break up the tuile, blend to a fine powder in a mini food processor and sieve on to a very lightly greased baking tray, making sure it’s spread evenly over an area of 30 x 20cm (12 x 8 inches) and not too deep. Bake for about 1 minutes until the powder melts and resembles a sheet of glass. Remove it from the oven and immediately grate the toasted almonds over the tuile.

When it has cooled slightly, cut out 6 strips, 28 x3cm  then, while they are still warm, roll each strip around one of the ring moulds. Leave it in place for 30 seconds, then remove and leave to cool and harden. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


To make the nougatine

Make, roll out and bake the dough. Leave to cool slightly, then use one of the ring moulds to carefully cut out 6 discs.


To make the sablé biscuit discs

Roll the sable dough between 2 sheets of nonstick baking paper to a thickness of 2.4mm (about 1/16 inch). Refrigerate for 24 hours. The next day, preheat the oven to 160˚C (325°F), Gas Mark 3 and line a baking tray with a nonstick silicone baking mat. Cut out 6 discs from the chilled dough using one of the ring moulds as a cutter, place on the tray and cover with another silicone mat. Bake for 9–10 minutes, or until very lightly browned.


On the day of serving…

Poach the peaches Using a small and sharp knife, slice 6 wedges from each peach, from top to bottom, reserving any excess pieces to use in the sorbet. Put the peach segments in a heavy-based saucepan with all the remaining ingredients and poach over a low heat for about 5 minutes – depending on their ripeness – they should still be slightly firm. Leave to cool, then drain and transfer the peach segments to a container. Cover and refrigerate until required. Set aside the poaching syrup for the sorbet.


Make the sorbet

Remove the flesh from the peaches, cut into small chunks and add to the reserved peach trimmings. In total, the sorbet requires 380g (13oz) peach flesh. Put in a saucepan with 100ml (3fl oz) of the reserved poaching syrup, the peach puree, the stock syrup and Champagne. Gently heat to 60˚C (140°F), then remove the pan from the heat. After 30 minutes the peach pieces will have softened. Using a stick blender, blend to a smooth puree, then pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn following the manufacturer’s instructions until frozen.


Then the cheesecake

Soften the gelatine in a bowl of iced water for 10 minutes. Line the bases of the ring moulds with clingfilm and place on a baking tray. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, citrus zests and vanilla seeds, then set aside.

Pour the elderflower cordial into a small, heavy-based saucepan. Shake the excess water from the gelatine, add it to the pan and warm the mixture over a low heat to 40˚C (104°F) to melt the gelatine, stirring with a balloon whisk. Pour in the Champagne and stir once more. Remove from the heat and pass through a fine-mesh sieve. In a food processor, whisk the egg yolks and sugar to a sabayon – pale, rich and thick. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the sabayon into the cream cheese mixture. Next, fold in the whipped cream. Finally, pour in the elderflower mixture. Divide the

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 cheesecake mixture between the lined rings, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set.


Now assemble the dish

Remove the set cheesecake mixture from the rings, then place on to the sable biscuits in the centre of each serving plate. Carefully lay the almond crack tuile over each one, then top with the nougatine discs. Arrange the peach wedges around the nougatine discs, leaving a gap in the middle for the sorbet. Add the meringue drops, followed by the cress. Finish with a scoop of sorbet.


This is an extract from The Ritz Cookbook by John Williams