poached fruit

Sweet Soaked Summer Fruit


A few years ago I learned how to make khoshaf, a Muslim (primarily Egyptian) version of compote -- what my grandma called "kumput," (which she made by cooking dried prunes and apricots with sugar, lemon and cinnamon). Kumput was delicious, but sometimes a bit mushy.

Khoshaf isn't cooked -- you pour simmering, seasoned, sweet syrup over the dried fruit and let it macerate for a while. The fruit becomes tender but never gets soggy.

The khoshaf was such a success that I never went back to "kumput."

So, I figured that the soaking/macerating method would work on fresh fruit too.

I was right.

This simple dish -- cut up fruit steeped in a seasoned, sweetened syrup -- is the perfect ending to a meal on a hot summer day, especially when you want a dairy-free dessert. Of course you could always top the fruit with ice cream or whipped cream. But sorbet would be fine too.

I like it plain, as-is, with a small amount of boiled-down, thickened syrup.



  • 2 pounds stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots), approximately
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 vanilla bean, broken
  • 2 orange slices, about 1/4-inch thick
  • 4-5 slices crystallized ginger

Cut the fruit in half and remove the pits. Cut the fruit into bite-size chunks and place in a dish deep enough to hold the pieces plus liquid. In a saucepan, combine the water, honey, vanilla bean, orange slices and crystallized ginger and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Pour the contents of the saucepan through a strainer over the fruit. Let soak for at least 2 hours. Serve as-is or strain the fluids, boil the fluids for 6-8 minutes or until thickened, and pour over the fruit (or let cool first).

Makes 8 servings



Honey Poached Plums

When my kids come for a few days I buy a ton of fruit. And then usually have to shop again during the visit to get more, because there's none left. 

When my kids don't come I buy much less fruit but never run out of it. In fact, the fruit I buy frequently sits there in the fruit bowl, washed and waiting. Then gets too soft for actually eating out of hand and winds up in a banana bread or cold, summer fruit soup or some other recipe that works well when fruit is past its prime.

Like these plums. They looked so good when I bought them. Alas, they were not as compelling this week as the chocolate covered cherries or the chocolate covered almonds or the NoMoo Cookies I bought.

However -- when I poached them in a little honey, added a few cardamom pods and some orange peel, well, then the plums seemed more like real dessert and therefore more welcome. Especially when drizzled with boiled down poaching juices and accompanied by yogurt (plain, mixed with some of those boiled down juices) and chopped, roasted almonds.

So the fruit did get eaten after all. No leftovers.


Honey Poached Plums with Yogurt and Roasted Almonds

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 slightly crushed cardamom pods (or use 2" cinnamon stick)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel
  • 6 large plums
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds

Place the honey, water, cardamom pods and orange peel in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Wash the plums, cut them in half and remove the pit if possible (if not it will be easy to remove after poaching). Place the plum halves in the poaching liquid. Mix in the vanilla extract. Let rest until the liquid cools, at least 2 hours. Remove the plums and set them aside. Bring the poaching liquid to a boil over high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes or until thickened to the consistency of maple syrup. Let cool. Place 2 plum halves per person on dessert plates. Mix a small amount of the boiled down liquid into the yogurt and spoon some of the yogurt next to the plum halves. Drizzle the plums with the remaining poaching liquid. Scatter the nuts on top of the plums and yogurt.

Makes 6 servings