Pears Aren't The Only Fruit You Can Poach In Wine. Try Peaches Instead

Poached pears are an absolutely classic dessert, especially when cooked in a bath of sweet red or white wine syrup flavored with spices like pink peppercorn, vanilla, cinnamon, or star anise. Kept whole, they make for a stunning presentation as the fruit takes on the hue of its poaching liquor, contrasting against a pale white accompaniment like chantilly cream or crème fraîche.

But poached fruit desserts don't have to stop at pears, and another alliterative seasonal delight works a treat, too. Dare not just to eat a peach, but poach it, and you'll be rewarded with a fragrant orb of orange sunshine, tender to a spoon and sweet and juicy on the inside. The method is much the same as with pears, just with one extra step: The peaches need to be blanched and then shocked in iced water in order to peel the skin off before going into their syrupy bath.

Peachy pairings for poached fruit

While pears are traditionally poached in red wine to give them a scarlet hue and rich, luxurious flavor, poached peaches can fit with all manner of syrups. Red wine works just as well, but so will a white, perhaps something with peach in its flavor notes like an albariño or sauvignon blanc. For a fizzy twist, use Champagne or prosecco, recreating the combination that gave rise to the Bellini, one of the most classic cocktails of them all, or combine peaches and bourbon for a honeyed, smoky flavor.

Whichever wine you choose, make sure it's bathing ripe peaches, and add sugar, whether ripe or not, to balance the dessert. Aromatics usually used with pears work well with peaches, too, but consider using hard herbs like thyme or rosemary, floral lemon verbena, or even a little almond essence to recall the flavor of peach kernels. Don't eat the pits of your peaches, though; they could kill you.

The amazing by-product of poaching peaches

To poach peaches in wine syrup, you'll need enough to cover them to prevent parts of the fruit from drying. This will almost always produce more fragrant, honeyed syrup than you need for a dessert (but if you're storing the peaches for another time, you could leave them in the syrup in the fridge to infuse.)

That surplus syrup is a flavor-packed ingredient in itself, and you've already customized it to your taste when selecting the wine and aromatics to poach with the peaches. Yes, there are some obvious applications, like drizzling it over ice cream, yogurt, and other desserts, but this elixir isn't just good for food: It's perfect for drinks.

Treat this syrup like a cordial, and mix it with sparkling water or seltzer for an inspired, refreshing drink. Or, use it as an ingredient in cocktails, whether an old faithful peach Bellini or a lesser-known cocktail from around the world that calls for a fruit syrup.