Saturday, November 21, 2009

Poached Donut Peaches

Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've found something new to me at the local Farmers' Market - Donut Peaches!

donut peaches© by Haalo

Depending on where you are you might know these by any one of the following names - Doughnut, Saturn, Mountain, UFO or Tobacco. While they look like something that has come out of a lab they are actually an heirloom variety that dates back to 1800's China.

They are characterised by a sweet, white flesh and an easy to remove stone and most notably by their flattened appearance.

Stone fruit are one of the few things that make summer even slightly tolerable but even so, the stone fruit found at the beginning of the season doesn't quite have that depth of flavour that comes as the season progresses. For that reason, I tend to poach the fruit as a way of bringing out that missing flavour.

For the recipe I've made today, I've made a change to my usual method and am incorporating another unusual ingredient - Wild Willow Water

wild willow water© by Haalo

It is distilled from Salix Alba - the white willow - and has a rose like flavour. You can use it as a replacement for rosewater and for this recipe, just a few drops adds another point of interest to the dish.

Poached Peaches© by Haalo

Poached Donut Peaches

Whole Donut Peaches
Light Sugar Syrup
Wild Willow Water, optional

Make the Light Sugar Syrup:

A light sugar syrup follows the formula of 2 parts water to 1 part sugar - you need to bring these two ingredients together in a pan and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Once dissolved, increase the heat so it's just under boiling point and let it bubble away for 5 minutes so it reduces slightly.

You can now store this syrup in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Poach the peaches:

Place the peaches in a single layer in a pot that is large enough to snuggly hold them. Pour in enough sugar syrup to cover the peaches. Bring this slowly to a simmer, add a few drops of willow water or rose water if desired and continue to gently cook the peaches until softened.

The peaches will float so the best way to keep them submerged is to cover the pot with an oversized round of baking paper that you press so it just touches the liquid - you then place a weight on the paper to keep the peaches under the liquid.

Poaching time will depend on the size of the peaches - don't rush it as they can quickly turn from under-poached to mush. As they cook, the syrup will turn a beautiful rose colour and the gentler the process of poaching the more depth of colour you'll find.

Once poached, let the peaches cool in the liquid. Store the cold poached peaches in their syrup in the fridge.

You can eat the peaches with their skin on but if you prefer a smoother look, you can peel them when they are still warm. If you have poached them enough, the skin will easily peel away.

One other thing I like to do is to reduce the syrup for serving. Pour some of the excess syrup into a small pan and bring to a rapid boil - boil for a few minutes until the syrup thickens and the colour intensifies. Cool it slightly before serving - drizzled over the peaches it gives them a luxurious shine.


  1. haalo, I know those peculiar peaches, they've come on our markets as well years ago and now they have also become a Slow Food Presidia.
    saturnino peaches
    they are really delicious and your dish super!
    have a nice Sunday!

  2. Where does one get Wild Willow Water?

  3. I could easily enjoy one of your bellini's Cinizia - must try that. It's good that they are being protected.

    Hi Beth - this one is made by Pariya ( it is a fairly new product and isn't on their website, might be worth while contacting them to find out if it is available where you are

  4. Haalo, I have to say I love peach! I did once take one with me in my purse, and brought it out to smell it when I wanted to. Crazy, huh?!
    Your dish looks very pretty. I think you must have brought out tons of fragrances with the use of wild willow water.

  5. Gorgeous photos...this looks so divine! I am adding you to the whb #210 roundup right now...

  6. Haalo, those peaches look beautiful! I've never heard or seen donut peaches before either. I love your photography :o)

  7. looks beautiful! thanks for sharing :)

  8. Not crazy at all Lulu :)

    Thanks Marillyn - you are too kind

    Thanks Winnie - and thanks so much for hosting too

    Thanks PJ!

  9. So is the Wild Willow Water good for headaches too? Or is the aspirin stuff removed?


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