|Fresh from the garden:||Rhubarb, pears, lavender, citrus|
Poaching is a really handy way to cook fruit and bring out its beautiful flavour, as well as ‘impart’ flavours to the fruit through a poaching broth. Many different cultures poach fruit native to their regions and use traditional flavours.
The key to this dish is choosing a fruit that is in season, knowing how long you will need to cook it, and choosing flavourings and accompaniments to suit the fruit. As it poaches, fruit becomes tender because it absorbs some of the cooking liquid. For this reason, the flavour of the liquid is key. Keeping your ingredients simple will best highlight the fruit’s flavour.
You can create a simple poaching liquid by mixing two parts liquid (such as water or fruit juice) with one part sugar. The rest is up to your imagination!
Here’s a few things to consider:
1. What fruit do you have available that cooks well when poached? Almost any firm fruit with a lot of natural juices can be poached.
2. What else is available in the garden that might go well in this dish? Are there other fruits you can serve fresh alongside the poached fruit? What about herbs such as mint for your poaching liquid? How about edible flowers for decoration?
3. What sort of flavours and spices do you like in a poaching broth, and which of these will go well with your chosen fruit?
4. Ingredients such as lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla bean, peppercorns, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, tea, or any warm herb or spice are great flavour components for poached fruit desserts.
5. Mix and match sweet and savoury flavours and you can even mix and match different fruits.
6. What would you like to serve with your dish – perhaps some flavoured yoghurt, some spiced honey, a citrus dressing, a sauce made from pulped berries?
Check out this poached fruit recipe using pears to get your imagination going.
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What to do
1. Prepare the fruit of your choice by peeling and taking out any seeds or cores. Remember to put a tea damp tea towel under your chopping board to stop it from slipping.
2. Combine water, sugar and your choice of flavouring in a large saucepan over medium heat.
3. Stir until sugar is dissolved and add fruit.
4. Cook on medium heat until fruit is tender.