Poaching

Poaching

By
From
PS Desserts
Photographer
Mark Roper

Choosing the correct ripeness of fruit for poaching makes all the difference to the result. Take pears, for example. You want to choose one that is not too hard but not too ripe either. Whereas for stone fruit, like peaches, you want to choose a specimen at its perfect peak of ripeness.

Poaching orchard fruits

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4-5 orchard fruits, such as pears or apples
500g caster sugar
1 litre water

Method

  1. Choosing the right pear

    When choosing pears for poaching, pick fruit that is “in between” hard and ripe. Ripe fruit will become soft and squishy when poached, whereas ripe fruit will stay hard and discolour. The picture opposite shows the perfect “in between” pear for poaching in the middle, while the pear on the left is too ripe and the pear on the right is too hard. You want to choose the one that is just right. I always buy slightly under-ripe green pears and let them ripen for several days before poaching.
  2. Making the poaching syrup

    Choose a wide-based saucepan that will accommodate the fruit, in this case pears, fairly snugly without squashing it. Combine the sugar and water in the pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Preparing the fruit

    Use a melon (parisian) scoop to remove the core of the pears from the base, taking care to get out all the seeds. Snip the stalks at an attractive length.
  4. Starting at the stalk and moving downwards, carefully peel the skin with a peeler.
  5. To poach

    Add the fruit to the simmering poaching syrup and increase the heat. Cover the surface with a cartouche, pressing the baking paper directly onto the surface, then place a plate on top to ensure the fruit stays submerged.
  6. When the syrup comes back to the boil, reduce the heat so it is just simmering. Gently poach for about 15 minutes or until you can easily pierce the flesh with the tip of a knife.
  7. Allow the fruit to cool in the syrup, covered with the cartouche, then refrigerate in the syrup until needed. The pears will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, but make sure they are submerged in the syrup.

Poaching stone fruits

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 perfectly ripe stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots or plums
300g caster sugar
1 litre water

Method

  1. Preparing stone fruit

    If you are using peaches or nectarines, but not apricots or plums, you need to remove their skins first (see notes). Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and have a bowl of iced water at hand.
  2. Cut the fruit in half, following its natural line around. Gently twist to separate the halves without bruising the flesh. Remove the stones.
  3. Plunge the peaches or nectarine halves into the water for 20 seconds, then, using a slotted spoon, gently remove and drop into the iced water. Slip off their skins and discard.
  4. Making the poaching syrup

    Choose a wide-based saucepan that will accommodate the fruit, in this case pears, fairly snugly without squashing it. Combine the sugar and water in the pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. To poach

    Carefully add the fruit halves, cut side up, to the simmering poaching syrup. Cover the surface with a cartouche, pressing it onto the surface.
  6. Gently poach. As the fruit is ripe for eating, the poaching won’t take long (not more than 10 minutes). You’re not aiming to “cook” the fruit perse, but you’re essentially hotmarinating it. Flip the fruit over to ensure the cut sides don’t discolour, then remove from the heat.
  7. Allow the fruit to cool in the syrup, then refrigerate in the syrup until needed. The fruit will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, but make sure it is submerged in the syrup.

Poaching dried fruits

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g dried fruit, such as prunes, apricots and figs
350g caster sugar
1 litre water

Method

  1. Soak the dried fruit (separately if you are using different types) in hot water for several hours or until plump and moist, then drain.
  2. Making the poaching syrup

    Choose a wide-based saucepan that will accommodate the fruit, in this case pears, fairly snugly without squashing it. Combine the sugar and water in the pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Poach the fruit for about 1 hour or until it is swollen and soft.
  4. Allow the fruit to cool in the syrup, then refrigerate in the syrup until needed. The fruit will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, but make sure it is submerged in the syrup.

Notes

  • As a general rule, if you want to double the quantity of fruit for poaching, double the quantity of poaching syrup too.

Notes

  • To make a cartouche

    Fold a sheet of baking paper large enough to fit your saucepan in half crossways, then in half again lengthways, then in half into a triangle.

    Trim the triangle so that it is the same length as the radius of your pan.

    Snip the tip off the triangle to create a hole for the steam to escape.

    Open out the triangle. (You can always cheat and trace around your saucepan, then cut the circle out.)

Notes

  • The peaches or nectarines need to be perfectly ripe or their skins won’t slip off ... Very frustrating!
Tags:
PS
Desserts
Philippa
Phillipa
Sibley
sweet
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again