Easy to make and nice for a winter dessert
Use any hard fruit - pears / apples ... sometimes in winter bullet-hard peaches appear in my local supermarkets and they work well too.
You'll need some whole spices (do not
use powdered spices), brown sugar and something acid...
pick 1 or 2 from the following list (NOTE: don't muddy the flavor by using too many different spices unless you really
know what you're doing)
- cinnamon stick
- whole clove (very strong - don't use too much b/c you'll overpower the other spices)
- star anise
- cardamom (NOTE: cardamom is available both hulled and unhulled. I buy the unhulled seed because it stays potent longer. Both are available in Indian groceries)
- slices of fresh ginger root (you don't have to peel it)
of these will do
- fresh lemon juice (do not use bottled lemon juice)
- powdered ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- citric acid (sometimes called "sour salt") > NOTE: citric acid is used in canning and in making "bath bombs" - don't pay supermarket prices for citric acid - you can get a pound of it on the 'net for about $2.50
Ascorbic acid or citric acid are are good things to have in your pantry if you need a touch of acidity in a dish.
I can't give you quantities because I don't know how much fruit you need to poach or how spicy you like it.
> Peel, halve and core fruit
> In a saucepan, combine sufficient water to cover fruit plus your choice of whole spices. Bring to a simmer. Add sufficient brown sugar until it is fully dissolved and sweet enough for your taste. Add acid ingredient to your taste (NOTE - if using citric acid or ascorbic acid, add only a tiny pinch at a time - they are very strong!). Throw in the fruit. Simmer, covered, until fruit is tender but still firm (about 30 min). Off heat.
> NOTE the longer the fruit steeps in the warm spiced and sweetened cooking liquid, the more they absorb the flavor. Vary the timing to your preference.
> right before serving, pour a small amount of the poaching liquid in a small pot and reduce over high heat until slightly syrupy.
> plate the fruit and dribble the reduced poaching water over it
The poaching liquid (with its spices) can always be saved in a jar in the 'frig for the next time.