Stone fruits—peaches, pears, plums—are one of those hit-and-miss purchases that may cause unwanted frustration when they turn out hard, unripe or just plain sour. Even at farmer’s markets, it would be wise to place your bets on more reliable staples like apples and bananas. But when all hope seems lost, bear in mind the wondrous technique of poaching. Poaching stone fruits does three things: it softens the fruit, enhances its sweetness, and imparts new flavor. Note: it does not actually ripen the fruit; miracles require more legwork. At its core, poaching fruits merely requires a simple syrup, patience and gentle cooking. Poached eggs might hog brunch menus nationwide, but try a poached peach for a simple and sweet fruit makeover.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 mins
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup white wine
1. Pour the sugar, water and vanilla extract in a pot on high heat and boil vigorously for 30 minutes, so the mixture is reduced to a syrupy consistency.
2. While the syrup is reducing, cut the peaches in half lengthwise and remove the stones.
3. Add the white wine, lemon juice and de-pitted peaches cut-side down into the reduced syrup. Cook over a medium-low heat for 45 minutes. You want the peaches to be simmering gently so that the flavor of the syrup can infuse slowly.
If you’re feeling luxurious, serve with a healthy dollop of vanilla ice-cream.
If you’re a purist, ladle a peach onto a plate and flood it with that rose-tinted goodness.