I don’t mean to alarm you, but the holidays are right around the corner. And that means trying to come up with menus for multiple holiday dinners. I always like to serve the expected favorites, but I also like to shake things up a little and experiment with something new. This year, that’s going to be my twist on Poached Fruit. A mix of late summer and early fall fruits, this Poached Fruit is amazing just served on top of ice cream, or to dress up a pound cake.
It even works at breakfast the next morning, if you ended up making too many dishes for dinner (or is that just me?). Served with yogurt or oatmeal, it’s pretty amazing. And since Poached Fruit is the poster child for make ahead food, you can make it several days ahead and let it hang out in the fridge while you continue on with other preparations. Bathed in a dreamy syrup fragranced with Asian standbys like ginger and star anise, this Poached Fruit is ready to be a glamourous showstopper at your next holiday gathering. (We won’t tell anyone that it takes just about a half hour to make…)
Poached Fruit Syrup
This syrup is so delicious! I’m actually thinking of saving some next time to make cocktails. And making it couldn’t be easier: just simmer the spices with water and sugar so the syrup becomes highly flavored. If you’re using a whole vanilla bean, split it with a sharp knife down the middle and scrape out the seeds. You can use 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste or even vanilla extract instead. If you’re using extract, it’s best to add it at the very end as the flavor can disappear if you add it at the beginning.
While the syrup is simmering, it’s time to prepare the fruit. I made this using a mix of fruit available right now. Late summer/early fall means there are still good stone fruits around, but also pears and figs are coming in. You really can make this with nearly any fruit that you like and that looks good. Since the fruit will be poached, firmer, not quite ripe fruit works best. The poaching process will render it lusciously soft and tender. Too ripe and it will fall apart when poached.
I start by peeling the peaches/nectarines. Their skins tend to peel off while poaching so I find it nicer to just remove it. The easiest way to do this is to cut an x on the bottom the fruit, and then blanch. The peels slip right off. (This is also a great way to peel tomatoes)
I prep the pears last, so they don’t have a chance to turn brown.
Poached pears are so beautiful, I like to make sure I have half a pear for each person for the prettiest presentation. My pears were tiny, so cutting them if half was perfect but if you have very large ones, consider cutting then in quarters to keep all of your fruit around the same size.
Once all the fruit is prepped, it’s time to poach! Bring the syrup back to a simmer over medium heat. Begin by poaching the pears first, as they are the firmest and need the longest cooking time.
Once all the fruit is tender, your Poached Fruit is done. Just cool in its syrup to room temperature and refrigerate. This can be made a couple of days before, making it an ideal holiday dessert. If you have any leftover, try it spooned on top of oatmeal, or even as a side to a savory main dish like Char Sui BBQ Pork. Please take a moment to rate and comment on the recipe below, we love hearing from you! And don’t forget to tag us in your pics at funkyasiankitchen.
For the Syrup:
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 star anise
- 1 ½ inch piece of ginger
- 2 peaches/nectarines, a little firm
- 2 plums, a little firm
- 2 small pears, a little firm (I used bartlett but bosc would be good too)
Yogurt, sour cream, or vanilla ice cream
Make the syrup:
- Cut the ginger into several slices.
- Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, star anise, and the ginger in a pot and bring to a simmer over high heat.
- Cover with a lid, lower heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the fruit.
For the Fruit:
- Wash all fruit.
- Score the tip end of the peaches/nectarines with a small x. Bring a small pot of water to boil and submerge them in the boiling water for 10 seconds.
- Take them out of the pot and dunk into cold water. Let it sit a couple minutes to cool. Peel the peaches, starting where you made the X, and then cut the fruit into halves (or quarters if very large) and remove the seeds. Set aside.
- Cut the plums into halves and remove the seeds. Set aside.
- Peel the pears then cut the pears in half and then scoop out the seeds. I used a tomato corer so it looks neat but you can also use a paring knife. Next, trim the base and cut out the inner stem. Set aside in a bowl of water. (Prepare the pears last so they do not oxidize).
- Bring the syrup to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the pears, cover with the lid, and lower the heat to medium.
- Simmer the pears gently for 10-12 minutes until you can slip a knife tip easily into the pear. Add the peaches, plums, and figs, and replace the lid.
- Simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes until the fruit is fully cooked and tender. Cool the fruit in the syrup until it is room temperature and then refrigerate.
- Serve cold with yogurt, sour cream, or some ice cream.
*There will be plenty of syrup left for the amount of fruit. Consider using it to sweeten some hot tea, as a base for a fall cocktail, or poured over some hot cereal.
*The fruit can be made ahead and will keep several days in the fridge.
Keywords: holiday desserts, asian sweets, fruit desserts, fall fruits