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Celebrate Bastille Day, or Any Day, with Poached Fresh Fruit

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Poached raspberries go great with ice cream.

It’s Bastille Day. So, why not take a French approach to some fresh fruit you have and poach it? This recipe comes from James Peterson’s indispensable “Glorious French Food” (John Wiley & Sons, $45). You can use this basic poaching recipe all year long with whatever is available. After the basic recipe for poaching liquid are some variations on how to use it.

Basic Poaching Liquid for Fruits

1/2 cup sugar
3 cups water

Mix sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and use it immediately to poach the 2 pounds of fruits. Or, let it cool. if you’re not using it right away, keep it refrigerated, but for no longer than several days. because the liquid has a relatively low concentration of sugar, it’s susceptible to alcoholic fermentation. To poach more than 3 pounds of fruit, change the ingredient amounts accordingly. If you find that you don’t have enough liquid to cover a batch of fruit, cover the pot during poaching so that the fruit that isn’t submerged is steamed. Gently turn the fruit over itself after a couple of minutes, so that it cooks evenly.

Makes poaching liquid for 2 pounds fruit.

From “Glorious French Food” by James Peterson

Poached Raspberries

4 (1/2-pint) cartons raspberries
1 recipe Basic Poaching Liquid
1/4 to 1/2 cup framboise (raspberry liqueur) or kirsch (cherry liqueur), optional

Because raspberries are fragile, I poach them for only a few seconds. bring the poaching liquid to a simmer and turn off the heat. Put the raspberries, in batches, in a skimmer, dunk them in the hot liquid for about 5 seconds, and transfer them to a bowl. When you’ve done this with all the raspberries, boil the liquid down to half its original volume and let it cool before adding the liqueur, the raspberries and any liquid the raspberries may have released into the bowl.

Makes 6 dessert servings with ice cream, and proportionately more if other poached fruits are being served at the same time.

From “Glorious French Food” by James Peterson

Poached Bananas

I admit the idea of poached bananas never really grabbed me until I discovered the secret ingredient: good dark rum. This is also the way to go if you’re in a hurry to use underripe bananas.

3 large bananas
1 recipe Basic Poaching Liquid
1/4 to 1/2 cup dark rum, preferably from Martinique or Jamaica, optional

Peel the bananas, cut them in half crosswise, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise. poach the pieces in the simmering poaching liquid for 4 minutes and transfer them to a colander set over a mixing bowl. Boil the poaching liquid down to half its original volume. Put the banana pieces back in, let them cool at room temperature and then chill them in the refrigerator. Flavor to taste with rum.

Makes 6 dessert servings with ice cream, and proportionately more if other poached fruits are being served at the same time.

From “Glorious French Food” by James Peterson

Poached Apples

1 recipe Basic Poaching Liquid, or more, as needed
6 apples
1/4 to 1/2 cup Calvados (apple brandy), optional

Bring the poaching liquid to a gentle simmer and peel the apples. Cut them in half, cut out the cores with a melon baller or paring knife, and cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges, depending on the size of the apples. Poach the wedges until they soften slightly but can be penetrated with a small knife, about 7 minutes, depending on the apples. (If the poaching liquid doesn’t completely cover the wedges, poach them with the lid on the pot.) Transfer the wedges to a colander set over a mixing bowl. Boil down the poaching liquid — adding any liquid that’s accumulated in the mixing bowl — to half its original volume. Put the wedges back in the mixing bowl, let cool at room temperature, and then chill them in the refrigerator. Flavor to taste with Calvados.

Makes 6 dessert servings with ice cream, and proportionately more if other poached fruits are being served at the same time.

From “Glorious French Food” by James Peterson

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