For juicy, dripping, hand-sticky end-of-the-summer fruit, it’s hard to beat a raw peach. But alas, we all don’t live in permanent supply of perfectly ripe peaches, and even September supermarket fruit can be tough specimens. This recipe for ice wine poached peaches is an easy way to turn sub-par stone fruit tender and flavorful, delicious on their own or with ice cream, pound cake or stirred into lemony rice pudding.
Wine, both red and white, is often used for poaching purposes, and ice wine is a fine twist on this classic method. As ice wine is naturally sweet, you won’t need to add sugar to your poaching liquid. A few simple aromatics lend a soft, spicy complexity to the ice wine poached peaches. Don’t fret if you haven’t got whole cloves or cinnamon sticks in the house, though – as long as you have the staples of ice wine and peaches, you’re on your way to a tasty late summer fruit dessert.
Note: You might like to try this recipe with apricots or nectarines, which tend to be a bit stubborn when not extremely ripe. And if you would like an extra touch of sweetness, drizzle the ice wine poached fruit with honey.
Ice Wine Poached Peaches
2 cups ice wine
1 whole clove
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed
2 strips orange rind
2 large or 3 small peaches, pitted and halved
Combine the ice wine, clove, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and orange rind in a saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let the wine and aromatics reduce together, about 10 minutes.
Add the peaches to the poaching liquid, occasionally spooning the wine over the fruit. The peaches are ready when easily pierced with a fork – this should take about 5 minutes. Remove peaches from heat and gently slip off their skin (this is a tasty treat for the cook).
Reduce the poaching liquid for another 5 minutes or so, bringing the peachy wine to a syrupy texture. Serve peaches in their poaching liquid, hot or cold.