Today is the first World Whisky Day! Isn’t that exciting? (Correct answer: yes!! If you don’t like whisky, bear with me, or just skip this paragraph). So the day is supposed to be all about celebrating world whiskies, which is wonderful, except that it’s a Tuesday, so as much as I’d love my day to involve tasting lots of whisky, my day will actually consist of sitting at my desk and pulling my hair out whilst trying to understand exactly how one goes about calculating the strengths of magnetic and tide-induced electric fields and trying to organise the logistics of transferring some rays down to the aquarium. I clearly very much chucked myself into the deep end for my Masters. Woops. Anyway, I digress. So today is not likely to involve much whisky-drinking for me (perhaps a wee dram this evening as I finish unpacking and tidying everything away), I decided to add some whisky to the recipe I’m sharing today. Because whisky-eating is the next best thing, obviously.
This month’s Random Recipe challenge theme of “lucky number 17” was chosen by Choclette of the Chocolate Log Blog – we had to choose the 17th book on our bookshelves. The only flaw was that my cookbooks spent most of the month in a box somewhere between Edinburgh and Auckland, and thus not terribly accessible. So I decided to adapt the rules to doing the 17th recipe in a food magazine that I’d bought on arrival to try and get an idea of what is actually in season here (since it’s the total opposite of the Northern hemisphere and I felt like a total foodie criminal buying apricots in March…). Well, it was the 17th recipe that I could actually feasibly make (so I didn’t count the recipes that required a food processor, electric whisk or barbecue), which ended up being poached stone fruit with cinnamon honey syrup. Helloooo delicious-sounding recipe!
As I mentioned earlier, in honour of World Whisky Day, I decided to add some whisky to the recipe. I used Milford 10 year, which is a New Zealand whisky, since I know absolutely nothing about NZ whisky and figured this would be a good excuse to make a start on that. This turned out rather delicious, and makes such a wonderful late summer dessert. It’s so easy to make as well, and can easily be prepared in advance and served cool, or warmed up. The addition of the whisky was perfect, too, and comes in as a subtle flavour. I’m submitting this recipe as a second entry to this month’s Simple and in Season blog challenge, since all the ingredients are in season (although it’s coming to the end of the stone fruit season – sad times!), and are definitely local (unlike the mangoes in my mango and chocolate muffins) – even the whisky! Now that I’ve been reunited with my cookbooks, next month I’ll be back to the proper Random Recipe rules, I promise!
Poached stone fruit with a honey, cinnamon & whisky syrup
Adapted from Food (February March 2012)
I used Milford 10 year whisky, but use whatever good whisky you have available, preferably one with fruity, honey undertones. The original recipe also used apricots, but I couldn’t find any nice ones, so I just used nectarines and plums, but this would work with most stone fruit. The total poaching time depends on how ripe the fruit are, so try to choose ripe but still quite firm fruit. If you want to add a bit more of a whisky kick to it, stir some through the syrup once it’s been taken off the heat.
50g light brown sugar
85g liquid honey
4 tbsp whisky (optional to add more at the end)
3 whole cloves
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1. Add the water, sugar, honey, whisky and spices to a medium saucepan (make sure it’s large enough for all the fruit to fit) and bring to the boil.
2. Turn down the heat, add the larger stone fruits and allow to simmer for about 2 mins before adding the smaller stone fruit. Allow to poach for 5-15 mins, depending on how ripe the fruit is to start with, until just tender. (The plums that I used were ready in about 5 mins, but the nectarines took nearly 15 mins. If the plums start to be too tender, remove them into the serving bowl.)
3. Remove the fruit into a serving bowl or individual dishes, and return the syrup to the heat. Simmer down until the reduced by about half. Remove from the heat and stir in 1-2 tbsp whisky (optional) before spooning over the poached fruit. Serve with yoghurt, ice cream or dainty little biscuits.
Enjoy! And happy World Whisky Day!! (Also, drink responsibly and all that jazz…)
PS – I know that the fruit are a little too large for the martini glass and it looks a bit odd in the photos, but I didn’t have anything else that was vaguely fancy to present them in.