Zest and Herbs

Spiced white peaches

Every book I have on Korean cooking features a recipe for poached pears or baesuk. Asian cuisines aren’t known for their puddings, so that this one dessert exists seems to be justification enough for its inclusion in book. I ate it a few years ago at a restaurant in London, but only recently had the desire to cook it. I’ve been holding off trying it out until pears came into season (warm fruit is a more autumnal dessert anyway) and instead decided to marry summery peaches with the syrup, gently spiced with cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. The inclusion of peppercorns might seem a little left field, but I think they add a subtle herbaceous quality that helps to round off the more brash woodiness of the ginger and cinnamon – as a twist, I see no reason why a small sprig of thyme or rosemary couldn’t perform the same job. Also, it’s a traditional element of the Korean pear dish.

Poached white peaches in a spiced syrup

Normally I’m not picky about the specifics of ingredients, but I think that using white peaches (or nectarines, as the only difference is the furry skin) is essential for this: the skin releases a blush pink colour into the syrup, and of course it helps differentiate them a little from ordinary tinned peaches. I like to eat them on their own with fresh fruit, but you could also use them as a garnish to another dessert too. The only problem I have now is what to do with all the leftover syrup!


  • 100g sugar
  • 50g honey
  • 3cm cinnamon stick
  • 1tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 25g fresh ginger, roughly sliced
  • 4 white-fleshed peaches, halved and stones removed (under-ripe ones are best)

Fill a wide saucepan with cold water to a depth of about 3-5cm (I used about 500ml, and this was probably a bit generous), or enough to be able to cover the peaches. Add the sugar and spices, and bring gently to a simmer – doing this slowly will give the spices longer to infuse. Remove the whole spices and add the peach halves; simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Leave the peaches to stand in the syrup for a further 5 minutes off the heat. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and when cool enough to handle, peel off the skins (they should come away easily). Serve warm with fresh berries and a drizzle of the spiced syrup.


2 comments on “Spiced white peaches

  1. Bonnie Eng
    July 31, 2014

    Love white peaches, but almost never see them in a recipe. Thanks for sharing!


    • Simon
      July 31, 2014

      Me too. I should think you probably don’t see many recipes for them since they’re a little more expensive and harder to find than ordinary peaches. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get any to test this out!


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This entry was posted on July 31, 2014 by in Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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