Fruit Poaching
Techniques

Poached pears on a dish.Poached Pears

Fruit poaching can be done when a fruit filling is needed or to accompany a dessert and can be eaten warm or cold.

I'm not a big fan of having the poached fruit alone but many of you, especially if you're health conscious, may appreciate the "natural" taste.

For best results, always use firm and fresh fruit.

The Basics

To poach fruit a syrup is used that will gain more body as it simmers. It can look like a heavy syrup or a glaze. The bigger the fruit the thicker the glaze. Since larger fruit cook longer put a lid on the pan.

You need enough syrup to cover the fruit. Turn it every now and then so it's evenly cooked.

The longer it takes to cook a fruit the lighter the syrup in the beginning. Over time this syrup becomes thicker and sweeter. It takes some eye balling and experience to find the right consistency.

When done, take out the hot fruit by draining them. Continue simmering the remaining syrup for further reduction if needed.

Flavoring

Things that can be used/added to enhance the flavor of the syrup are:

  • Wine, red or white. Mix half wine half water or wine only.
  • Orange/lemon zest or its juice.
  • Cider
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Mint
  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Vanilla
  • Cardamom seeds

Whatever liquid base (water, wine, cider,...) you're going to use let it simmer with the flavor maker of your choice without the sugar.

After it has simmered for 10 to 15 minutes, sift the liquid and simmer again with the added sugar. For fruits that take longer to cook, use a light syrup. It will reduce and increase its sweetness with the longer cooking time.

Example 

Recipe for Poached Pears:

  • Williams pears 250 g
  • 75 cl white wine
  • 250 g sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ vanilla pod

Process:

  1. Simmer wine for 10-15 minutes with the cinnamon, star anise and vanilla pod.
  2. Take out cinnamon, star anise, vanilla and add sugar to wine to dissolve.
  3. Add the peeled pears. Simmer them until soft. Use a knife to see if they are.
  4. Turn off stove. Let the pears sit in the wine to cool.
  5. Remove the pears and reduce the sugar wine to a syrup or light glaze, if you wish.


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