Poaching apple and pears in a hard cider perfumed with honey and coriander seeds creates an aromatic dessert that’s delicious warm or cold. A dollop of tangy, peppery crème fraîche is the perfect complement, but you can use Greek yogurt instead. Enjoy leftover poaching syrup in cocktails or drizzle over pancakes.
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cups dry hard apple cider
- 1/2 cup honey
- Zest and juice of 1/2 orange (zest removed in wide strips with a vegetable peeler)
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (zest removed in wide strips with a vegetable peeler)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 4 apples or pears (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled, halved and cored
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Bundle coriander seeds and cinnamon stick in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. Combine hard cider, honey, zests and juices, spice bundle and vanilla in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 minutes.
Carefully add apples or pears to the pan and return liquid to a simmer. Cover and cook until fruit can be pierced easily with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes for apples and 10 to 12 minutes for pears. Check often to avoid overcooking. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fruit to a bowl.
Strain liquid and return to the pan. Increase heat and boil until liquid reaches a thick, honey-like consistency, about 25 minutes (you should have about 1 1/4 cups). Pour syrup over fruit, cool slightly and serve. Alternatively, store in an airtight container, refrigerate overnight and serve cold.
While fruit cools, in a small bowl, stir together crème fraîche and pepper and set aside (or refrigerate until needed).
To serve, place 2 fruit halves in each shallow bowl along with a generous amount of syrup. Top with a dollop of black pepper crème fraîche.
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