The Best Way to Poach Fruit
Many recipes for this delicate dessert are made with aggressive spices that can overwhelm the delicate taste of the fruit. This approach calls for simmering the ears in an unspiced syrup that is reduced to concentrate the fruity flavor. It’s worth the effort to seek out Poire Williams (a pear-flavored eau-de-vie) to finish the dish, but you can also use another pear-flavored liqueur or brandy. As it poaches, fruit becomes tender because it absorbs some of the cooking liquid. For this reason, the flavor of the liquid is key. Create a simple poaching liquid by mixing two parts liquid (such as wine, water, or fruit juice) with one part sugar. Then try your hand at this technique with the following tips.
Core or pit the fruit, and peel if appropriate. Firm fruits, such as pears and apples, work best when peeled, but keep the skin on delicate stone fruits, such as peaches and plums.
Submerge fruit in the poaching liquid in a stainless steel pan.
Cover with a plate to weigh the fruit down and ensure even cooking.
Simmer for 10 minutes, and then check for doneness by piercing the fruit with a knife. The fruit should give without being mushy. Continue simmering to suit your taste.
Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon, and allow it to cool. Serve or store the fruit with the poaching liquid in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.