The more fruit you have in the kitchen at any given time, the more difficult it is to use it up before some of it begins to become overripe. Apples, for instance, are durable, but the majority of summer produce – stone fruits, berries, etc. – either continues to ripen on your counter or simply starts to go bad the minute it comes through the door. So, while it’s always good to have a recipe that will use up only a bit of fruit, it’s also good to have options that call for a lot.
Poaching is a great way to cook fruit in big batches. Ripe, or almost-ripe, fruit is placed in a saucepan full of some sort of flavored poaching liquid and cooked until tender. The resulting fruit can be eaten plain, with yogurt, used as a topping for cake or ice cream and in just about any other application where fruit might be appropriate. I used a lot of apriums (an apricot-plum hybrid) here. Not only do they have a great, sweet flavor, but they’re amazingly easy to split in half – so easy that I could just pop them in half without using a knife and pull out the pits!
The poaching liquid here is very simple and the flavors complement the stone fruits well. When you make it, you have two options for serving. Either you can serve the fruits on their own, or remove the fruits from the liquid and reduce it by half, until it is somewhat syrupy, then add it back to the fruit for a saucier presentation.
Vanilla Honey Poached Apriums
1 1/2-2 lbs fresh apriums (plums, peaches, apricots, etc.) 2 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract, or 1/2 vanilla bean
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Cut a small slit on the bottom of each aprium and dunk in the water for a few seconds. Skin will loosen; rinse under cool water to make the skin easy to remove. Split apriums and remove pits.
Combine water, sugar, honey and vanilla extract or vanilla bean (if using) in a medium-large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Scrape vanilla bean into the liquid and gently add in the apriums, making sure that the poaching liquid just covers the fruit.
Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook until fruit is very tender, about 20 minutes (depending on the ripeness of your fruit).
Remove fruit from pot using a strainer or slotted spoon. Turn heat up on the pot and reduce poaching liquid by half, about 20 minutes or until it is somewhat syrupy. Add back to fruit and serve fruit and syrup together.
Apriums can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge if you’re not serving them right away.