Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Poached Peaches with Blackberry Sauce

I am always challenged in my ProStart class to come up with or find recipes that are a little different than the every day things the students eat, but something that is familiar enough that they will at least try it to realize they like it. Some of the students are more than a little out of the comfort zone food-wise, but I think that in the end they appreciate trying new things!

I needed a couple of recipes for our moist heat cooking section, and I decided a poached fruit would fit the bill, but knew I couldn't poach in wine at school, so I had to come up with a little different method. I looked around for a recipe, but wasn't finding one, so I just decided to use the information that I already knew to create something.

We have been working on presentation and plating lately also, and this was a really pretty presentation before the ice cream melted--oops! It would be just perfect with a sprig of mint on top!
As a bonus, the leftover poaching liquid can be used again for something else OR it tasted really great just heated as an apple cider!

Poached Peaches with Blackberry Sauce

Serves: 12 (1/2 peach with sauce each)

2 quarts apple juice
2 quarts water
1/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole allspice berries
6 peaches, halved and pitted

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
~1/4 cup sugar

Combine juice, water, and sugar and bring to a boil. The poaching liquid should be a little sweet, but not overpowering (you still want to taste the fruit--not just the liquid!)
Reduce heat to simmer and add in cinnamon and allspice. Simmer for about five minutes.

When you poach, it should be around 180 degrees--bubbles a lot, but not simmering or boiling. You can check with the thermometer if you want! When your liquid is ready for poaching, place your peaches in the liquid. They should not be touching the bottom and they should be covered with liquid (they'll normally sit toward the top, which is fine, and you can push them down with a round parchment liner or lid if you want, but I don't worry about that).

Poach the peaches for about 20 minutes. You should be able to put a small sharp knife through it without any resistance, but it shouldn't fall apart--you don't want mushy peaches.

Once the peaches are done, remove the peaches from the liquid and set aside. Leave the poaching liquid over medium high heat to reduce by half.

While the liquid is reducing, combine 1 1/2 cups of blackberries and sugar in a blender. After liquid has reduced, add in 1/4 cup of the reduced poaching liquid. Taste and adjust the sugar as necessary.

Stir in the blackberry puree with the rest of the whole blackberries.

Slice peach halves in half and put two on a plate. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream and drizzle blackberry sauce on top--be sure to get at least one whole blackberry on each plate! Garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.

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