Summer is still way far ahead but that doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy good delicious fruit desserts. Lately, I had been fascinated by simplicity of poaching fruits. It’s easy to prepare, and with just a very minimal budget, a poach fruit can be turned into an elegant delicious dessert.
What is Poaching?
Poaching is a simple and fairly healthy way to prepare fruit for a dessert. It is a cooking technique which involves cooking by submerging food (like fruits) in a liquid like water or alcoholic beverage, stock etc. It uses a very low heat and is very suitable for cooking delicate and soft food. It is a healthier way of cooking because it doesn’t use fat in the process to flavor the food.
I thought I would dedicate a separate post for this since I can foresee that I would be using this method quite a lot to make my dessert. I like the idea of poaching peaches, but we still don’t have peach in the market as summer is still far away. So instead of waiting, I decided to poach pear since that is what we have in abundance right now.
Fruits that are best for poaching
Almost any firm fruit with a lot of natural juices can be poached. Pears, apples and peaches are the most common poaching fruits. Soft and delicate fruits like berries are not that suitable as it might fall apart in the process of cooking.
For the fruits, I’m using the deep poaching method where the fruits are submerged in poaching liquid and is cook in a deep pan that has enough room for the fruits and liquid to expand as it cooks. The other method is shallow poaching which is more suitable for boneless, naturally tender, single serving size, thinly sliced or diced pieces of meat, poultry or fish.
This is normally a combination of sugar, water, something acidic ( like wine, non alcoholic sparkling beverage, lemon or orange juice), and aromatics ( like cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, etc.). Once done poaching the fruits, the poaching liquid is normally reduced and used as the base for a sauce or for brushing the fruits for a shinier and glossy appearance.
How To Use Poach Fruits
There are plenty of ways to use poach fruits. You can have it as a dessert on its own, or have it with ice cream on the side, or you can have it baked with tart, pie, puff pastry desserts or bars like brownies. As expected, I used mine with ice cream and I couldn’t be more happier. I am also planning to use this for the Chocolate Frangipane Tart with Poach Pear, a Valentine’s dessert that I had been working on, so stay tune for that. Let me show you how to poach fruits and how to use it. Let’s get started!
- 2 pieces ripe but not overripe Pear (I used Bosc Pear but Anjou and Bartlett will work too)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups sparkling fruit juice (can be substituted by red or white wine)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 oz (100 grams) fresh raspberry (If you want a plain white poach pear, you can omit this)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- Combine all ingredients (except the Pear) in a tall pan. Place over medium heat, and stir until sugar is dissolves.
- Peel the pear (either half or whole) and put into the simmering poaching liquid. Bring to boil for 30 – 40 minutes or until pears are tender but not too soft. Put a heavy plate on top to force the pears to remain below the water. This will make even cooking of the pear. To test it cooked right already, use a sharp or pointed object (like a knife or toothpick) and push through the pear. If the knife went through without any effort, it is done. Be careful not to over cook it, you don’t want it to soft and mushy, to compare it with pasta, it should be like aldente.
- Remove the pear and transfer to a bowl or plate. Set aside to cool, then remove pit. You can also remove the pit before poaching if that is easier for you. I find it easier to remove it after as the pear is already soft.
- Continue boiling the poaching liquid until reduced to a syrup that will coat the back of the spoon, about 30 -45 minutes or more in medium heat. Check and stir from time to time to avoid sticking in the bottom of the pan.
- Pour over pear, let cool completely and store in the refrigerator overnight to allow pear to absorb the flavor of the poaching liquid. If you want to serve it immediately, just let it cool down before serving.
There you go!
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