Summer is here at last and not only does it bring light and warmth, it also brings us a wealth of juicy fruit. When you’ve had your fill of fresh berries and stone fruit, you’ll probably be looking for other ways to eat them. This recipe for poached peaches and apricots in a spiced lemon & thyme syrup is simple to make and utterly delectable.
I was initially planning on poaching apricots alone, but when I saw doughnut peaches at my local greengrocer I couldn’t resist buying some of those as well. These doughnut peaches, first grown in China in the 19th century, have taken the world by storm in recent years. Also known as Saturn peaches and flat peaches, they’ve won us over with their superior flavour, sweet flesh and dinky shape. I also ended up adding strawberries to the cooled fruit and syrup because I happened to have a few lying around, but these aren’t necessary.
Middle Eastern Influence
When it comes to poached fruit, my mind immediately springs to the Middle East. Think Claudia Roden and her poached quinces or Yotam Ottolenghi’s saffron and cardamom pears. Diana Henry in her book Crazy Water Pickled Lemons has a marvellous recipe for poached prunes served with rosewater cream. But the fruit I indelibly associate with this cuisine is apricots. Every cook seems to have a different variation. Be they poached with honey, cinnamon, lemons, orange flower or rose water, they’re bound to be delicious.
I know apricots have an affinity with vanilla from making my popular apricot and vanilla jam, so I figured that peaches would work equally well. However, I wanted my poached peaches and apricots to have a Middle Eastern note, so I also added cardamom pods, lemon and thyme. The result was sublime. CT went into raptures every time he had a spoonful – which he frequently did.
Click on this link for more recipes in my Flavours in the Middle East series.
Poached Peaches and Apricots
The poached peaches and apricots scented the house beautifully whilst cooking. When cooled, they had a heady fruity aroma softly scented with vanilla, cardamom, lemon and thyme. We ate them with Greek yoghurt and chopped roasted pistachios as an exquisite light summer dessert. They also turned our breakfast yoghurt and granola into a sun-kissed bowl fit for Shahrazad, having survived another of her thousand and one nights.
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Poached Peaches and Apricots – The Recipe
Poached Peaches and Apricots in a Spiced Lemon & Thyme Syrup
- 6 apricots
- 5 doughnut peaches
- ½ vanilla pod
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 lemon
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 300 ml water
- 100 g golden caster sugar
- 200 g strawberries - hulled (optional)
- Peel strips from the lemon, then juice it.
- Place all the ingredients, including the lemon strips and juice into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Remove the fruit from the pan and continue to simmer uncovered for a further 10 minutes or until the liquid has halved.
- Strain the syrup and pour over the fruit. Leave to cool.
- Add the strawberries shortly before serving.
- Serve with labna or Greek yoghurt and chopped roasted pistachio nuts.
I’m sharing this recipe for poached peaches and apricots with Feeding Boys for Simple & In Season.
I’m also sending it to Food on Fridays at Carole’s Chatter where the theme is berries and currants this month.
As the strawberries would have disintegrated if I hadn’t used them in this dish pronto, I’m also sharing it with #KitchenClearout at Madhouse Family Reviews.