I’ve had herb poached peaches on my mind for weeks. I mentioned that I planned to try poaching peaches in anise hyssop tea last week; local peaches have been spectacular this year, so I was eager to give this a try.
I decided to add cape gooseberries because I’d purchased them from the Farmer’s Market and I had no other plan for them. Have you ever seen/tried cape gooseberries? They grow in a skin like tomatillos.
I really like their flavor. If you can’t find them, though, don’t worry. Just use the peaches.
And if you don’t have anise hyssop, that doesn’t mean you can make some pretty poached peaches. You could try this with a different herbal infusion… or try a floral tea such as earl gray. You could also try using some wine in the poaching liquid, along with ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Anise hyssop has a natural sweetness, so I didn’t need a lot of extra sweetener. Depending on how sweet your peaches are and if you use a different poaching liquid, you might want to use more or less honey (or another sweetener).
To begin, you’ll make a tea from approximately 3 tablespoons of anise hyssop flowers (the purple buds you see below)…
…and 2 cups of water. Let the tea come to a boil, then allow it to cool. Transfer to a covered container, and let the flowers steep in the liquid overnight in the refrigerator.
Strain the flowers out, then put 6 sliced and pitted peaches in a pan with the tea. Add about 1 cup of peeled cape gooseberries, if you have them.
Bring everything to a boil, add 3-4 tablespoons of honey (preferably raw honey), then simmer the fruit in the liquid for about 10 minutes.
Allow the peaches to cool a bit, then you’ll be able to easily lift off their skins, revealing the astoundingly beautiful (I mean really, aren’t they stunning?) peach halves. Set the peaches and the gooseberries aside, and return the poaching liquid to a small pot.
Add a bit more water, a generous splash of rum (or brandy) and about 1/4 cup of honey and bring the liquid to a boil. Allow it to cook without boiling over so that the poaching liquid reduces and thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Spoon some of the syrup over the peaches and the gooseberries before serving.
You can serve the poached peaches as is, or feel free to embellish with a dollop of creme fraiche or mascarpone cheese, a little vanilla ice cream, or homemade whipped cream.
If you don’t finish all your peaches, store them in the refrigerator topped with any leftover syrup.
Poached Peaches with Anise Hyssop, Gooseberries, and Brandy
- 2 tbsp anise hyssop flowers
- 2 cups water
- 6 peaches pitted and sliced
- 1 cup cape gooseberries peeled
- 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp honey separated
- splash brandy
- Make tea by combining the anise hyssop with water, bring it to a boil, and allow to cool. Transfer to a covered container and allow to steep overnight.
- Strain the flowers out from the tea mixture and pour it over the pitted and sliced peaches in a pan. Add cape gooseberries, if available.
- Bring everything to a boil and add 3-4 tablespoons of honey. Simmer for 10 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to cool.
- Remove the skin from the peaches. Set aside the peaches and gooseberries and return the liquid to a small pot. Add a bit of water and a generous splash of brandy, along with an additional1/4 cup of honey. Bring liquid to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until it reduces and thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Spoon the syrup over the peaches and gooseberries and serve as is, or try adding a dollop of creme fraiche, mascarpone cheese, vanilla ice cream, or whip cream.