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Poached fruit recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Fruity sweet low-fat desserts

What do you do if you buy underripe not-quite-sweet-enough fruit but you just have to have it right now? Simple solution: Poach it. Fruits that are too hard to eat raw or are out of season and haven't become sweet enough will become perfectly edible when poached in a sweet liquid. Top the poached fruit with a little fresh whipped cream or light ice cream and you will have a delicious low-fat sweet and fruity treat.

Poached Pears

Tips to poach fruit

 

Choose the best fruit

Almost any firm fruit with a lot of natural juices can be poached. Pears, apples and peaches are the most common poaching fruits, but experiment with any fruits you have handy. If you are buying fruits specifically for poaching, you want to look for firm, almost hard, fruit. Poaching significantly softens fruit, so you don't want it initially soft or it will just fall apart when cooked.

Choose a flavorful liquid

A typical poaching liquid for fruit almost always includes wine (red, white, champagne, or dessert wine works great), water, and maybe a spirit such as rum, brandy or whiskey (usually a dark liquor). The natural fruit juices will also be released to help the process. Sugar is also often used to help sweeten the fruit, but you can add as much or as little sugar or another sweetener as you desire.

Accent with other flavors

Lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla bean, peppercorns, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, tea, coffee, or any warm herb or spice are great flavor components for poached fruit. Mix and match sweet and savory flavors and you can even mix and match different fruits. But be judicious when adding flavors — keeping your ingredients simple will best highlight the fruit's flavor.

Poached fruit recipes

 

Classic Poached Pears

Makes 4 servingsIngredients:
1 (750-milliliter) bottle of red or white wine
3/4 cup granulated sugar or another sweetener
1/2 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
3 to 4 whole cloves
Zest and juice of an orange
4 firm pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored
Orange liqueurDirections:
1. Combine wine, sugar, vanilla and cloves in a medium pot over medium heat. Add orange zest and half of the juice. Bring mixture to a simmer then add pears. Cook pears 10 to 15 minutes in simmering liquid. Test pears by poking a knife in them — the pears should be tender but not mushy. Continue cooking, if necessary, until pears reach desired tenderness.2. Remove pears, vanilla bean and cloves with a slotted spoon and let cool. Continue cooking liquid until it has reduced and reached a thick consistency. At this point, you can add the orange liqueur, about 1 to 2 tablespoons if desired. When ready to serve, place pears on a plate and spoon liquid overtop. Top pears with a small dollop of whipped cream or low-fat ice cream.

Tea Poached Apples

Makes 4 servingsIngredients:
2 cups water
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1/2 cup granulated sugar or another sweetener
2 large firm apples, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored
8 dried apricot halves
4 whole cloves
1/4 cup dried tart cherriesDirections:
1. Boil water in a medium pot and add tea bags. Take pot off of heat, cover pot, and let tea steep for 10 minutes. Take tea bags out of pot and discard. Mix in sugar and heat over medium heat until dissolved. Mix in apples, apricots, and cloves. Place a lid on pot and simmer 5 minutes.2. Mix in cherries and simmer 1 more minute. Remove fruit with a slotted spoon and continue cooking liquid until it comes to a low boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture has reduced and thickened. When ready to serve, pour liquid over fruit. Serve warm or chilled.

Coffee Poached Fruit

Makes 4 servingsIngredients:
2 cups strong brewed coffee
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large firm pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored
2 large firm apples, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Freshly ground black pepper
Mint sprigsDirections:
1. Combine coffee and brown sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Add pears and apples to pot and bring mixture to a boil again. Place lid on pot, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook pears 10 to 15 minutes or until tender, turning if needed.2. Take pot off of heat and let fruit sit in liquid for about 10 minutes, with a lid over pot. Remove fruit with a slotted spoon and let cool. Add honey, curry powder and pepper into poaching liquid and cook until well combined and heated through. Let mixture cool and drizzle over fruit. Garnish with a mint spring.

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