Every attempted recipe has been meat-focussed...and maybe that's the problem. Apart from pulled pork and ribs, nothing it's done has made me cotton to it, and only leaves me to wonder why so many people are enamoured with the beast and its kin.
With this in mind, this month I decided to eschew the contraption's carnal side to experiment with the sweeter side of its personality.
Poached fruits was the obvious first step for me--whole specimens left to blurble in a sweet syrup shouldn't push the machine far beyond its capabilities.
By the time I mustered up the energy to pull it off the shelf and prepare this month's offering, local peaches had their day and all I could easily find were sad, softball-like imports. The only positive comment I can say about these truck-driven specimens is they retained some semblance of fragrance.
It doesn't take a genius to poach fruit. Whip up a poaching liquid, spiced as you wish, and then let the prepared fruit simmer away until it's reached to the point of doneness. Again, I'm not convinced that using a slow cooker helped in any way, and in fact just gave me an extra couple of pieces to wash (the cooker insert and lid).
Normally when I poach fruit, I use water or juice but this time I decided to use a vidal from Norfolk County's Florence Estate Winery. By the time the fruit was done, the seed-speckled liquid was heady with peach and vanilla and retained a bit of the wine's crispness.
Poached fruit is wonderful on a cool night, especially now as the seasons turn. Will I do this again? Definitely, but I'll save myself dish rack space and leave the slow cooker out of it.
Vanilla Poached Peaches
8 ripe but firm peaches, halved and stoned (skinning, optional)
250ml (1c) sweet white wine
250ml (1c) water
80ml (0.33c) honey
1 vanilla pod, slit in half lengthways OR 1dspn (2tsp) vanilla paste
pouring custard, whipped cream, heavy cream or ice cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat slow cooker, if its manufacturer's instructions dictate.
Heat wine, water, honey and vanilla until bubbling.
Arrange peaches in slow cooker, pour vanilla syrup overtop. Cover and cook on low for 90 minutes. The fruit should be firm, but yield to an inserted blade.
Remove peaches from cooker and pour syrup into pan. Over a medium-high flame, reduce liquid by about half.
Serve warm: two halves per person with syrup dizzled over top. serve with custard, cream or ice cream, if you wish.
I'm a quill for hire!