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Lavender-Poached Peaches & Blackberries

July/August 2011

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Serve this colorful lavender-spiked blackberry-peach compote at a brunch or with small scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt for a glorious yet healthful dessert. If you can, choose freestone over cling peaches for this recipe: the pits will pull out more easily, which helps keep the peach halves intact. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.


Lavender-Poached Peaches & Blackberries

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 6 tablespoons clover honey or other mild honey
  • 4 4-inch-long sprigs fresh lavender (see Tips), plus small sprigs or lavender flowers for garnish
  • 1 3-inch-long piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 4 just-ripe medium peaches
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • Low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt or light ice cream (optional)

Preparation

  1. Combine water, orange juice, honey, large lavender sprigs and vanilla bean in a large nonreactive saucepan (see Tips). Bring just to a boil, stirring until the honey dissolves. Add whole peaches to the boiling liquid and cook, gently turning, until the skins start to loosen, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the peaches to a colander with a slotted spoon; rinse under cold water and let drain.
  2. Meanwhile, adjust the heat so the poaching liquid boils briskly and begins to reduce. Using a paring knife, peel the peaches and add the skins to the boiling liquid. Cut the peaches in half vertically, keeping the halves intact. Remove the pits, if possible; if it’s too difficult, leave them in until after poaching.
  3. Adjust the heat to a bare simmer. Return the peaches to the pan and poach until they are not quite tender when pierced with a fork, 3 to 7 minutes; they should still hold their shape. Transfer them to a nonreactive bowl with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, gently cut out and discard any remaining pits. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
  4. Add blackberries to the barely simmering liquid in the pan. Poach for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove them to a small bowl with a slotted spoon. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
  5. Adjust the heat so the poaching liquid boils briskly and cook until reduced to about 2/3 cup, 14 to 18 minutes, watching carefully to prevent scorching. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a nonreactive bowl, pressing down on the solids to force through as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Cover and refrigerate the syrup for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
  6. To serve, let the fruit and syrup come to almost room temperature. Arrange the peach halves in pairs in individual serving bowls. Spoon a small scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream into each half, if desired. Top with the blackberries and drizzle with the fruit syrup. Garnish with small lavender sprigs or flowers, if desired.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Tips: If fresh lavender is unavailable, substitute 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender; it is available in some supermarket herb and spice sections and in many natural-foods stores. Add it to the poaching liquid in Step 5 (after the peaches and blackberries have been poached and removed from the saucepan). Be sure to use food-grade dried lavender, not lavender sold for crafting projects.
  • Nonreactive pan, bowl or baking dish: A nonreactive bowl, pan or baking dish—stainless-steel, enamel-coated or glass—is necessary when cooking with acidic foods, such as lemon, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart off colors and/or flavors.

Nutrition

Per serving: 163 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrates; 26 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 5 mg sodium; 324 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (50% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 1 fruit, 2 carbohydrate (other)


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