Poaching is often my cooking method of choice. My standard breakfast order is two poached eggs. Hainanese chicken rice is my comforting cure-all meal and salmon poached in a fragrant Thai broth a standard mid-week dinner. It seemed time to venture from the savoury to the sweet.
Aromatic Poached Peaches
This makes a deep aromatic poaching liquid that would be perfect for any stone fruit. The sweet and spicy broth is ideal for under-ripe fruit in need of a flavour kick. Don't even think of discarding this liquid after use, it is an excellent soaking liquid for dried fruit!
3 cracked cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
vanilla pod or extract
2-3 swigs sweet liquor or dessert wine (I am such a precise cook!)
3 peaches halved
In a wide shallow saucepan bring the sugar and water to the boil. Allow to simmer 2-3 minutes until reduced slightly. Pop in the cracked cardamom pods, peppercorns, bay leaf and vanilla extract or scrape out a pod. Let boil for another 2 minutes and add liquor or wine. Reduce the heat before adding fruit.
Halve peaches and if seeds come away easily, remove at this stage. Otherwise remove after poaching. Gently ease peaches into poaching liquid. Allow to cook through until tender but not mushy. Around 10 minutes for under-ripe fruit. Make sure to turn fruit during cooking process.
Remove from liquid and allow to cool before slipping off peach skins. Serve with meringues, cream, custard or ice cream.
Don't throw away the remaining cooking liquid. It is excellent for soaking dates or raisins before use in cakes or puddings.