This recipe demonstrates the technique of poaching fruit. The exchange of flavours produces delicately spiced fruits in an aromatic jus which is delicious served hot or cold.
"My general rule about wine when cooking is not to use expensive wine. I don’t spend more than £4-5 per bottle. I have seen some wonderful expensive Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignons murdered by boiling them! What you are looking for is a deep rich coloured Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Pinot Noir is usually too light and delicate. By boiling the wine, you will remove the bitter alcohol taste and leave the delicate fruity qualities of the wine."
"Every recipe in the world tells you to infuse a whole vanilla pod in milk, cream etc., then to be discarded and occasionally washed off and recycled as vanilla sugar. A good vanilla pod will cost you up to £2.50 each. I have found a much better way to use 100% of the pod. It is simple and keeps for as long as you want to. The sugar content will act as a preservative, store in a sealed jar or container in the fridge. Roughly chop together 6 large vanilla pods, removing the hard nib at one end, and puree together with a warm sugar syrup (100ml water and 100g of caster sugar boiled together)."
"It is important that while the fruits are poaching, the liquid does not come to a boil; the intensity of the heat will damage the delicate flesh of the fruits."
By freezing some of the cooking liquor, you can create a granita (delicate flakes) of iced spiced wine by scraping with a fork. Serve either on top of your chilled fruits or as a little pre-dessert in a small shot glass.
Any other seasonally available fruit would be a welcome addition, but make sure to adjust the cooking times for more delicate fruits, such as blackberries, which only need 8 minutes of poaching.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2018
Food photography by David Griffen
Raymond’s love of delicious food is lifelong. Years of experience have given him a rich store of knowledge and the skill to create fantastic dishes that work time after time. With a range of achievable and inspirational recipes for cooks of all abilities - and useful tips throughout - this book brings Gallic passion and precision into the home kitchen.