Pear Wreath
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Carter, Jamie
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Curried Poached Fruit

 

 

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"In the South, you often eat as well after the burial of a family
member or friend as you do on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas."

~ Pat Conroy


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Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking: Recipes and Ruminations from Charleston and the Carolina Coastal Plain
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Fruit Medley
Fruit Medley
Adam
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Believe you me, it did not escape my notice that the recipe to follow
appears in the chapter entitled “Why Dying Down South Is More Fun”.
Amen, Brother Pat!
You may well be wondering when I am going to get off this death kick I’ve
been on of late
. What can I say? I tell it like it is.
I sensed death approaching. It came. It must be accepted, and perhaps
even embraced…
Would that I had the time, space, and other precious resources to treat you
to the entire chapter referenced above. The introduction is, to me, as delicious
as the recipes themselves. I’ve always seen Pat Conroy as a poet disguising
himself as a novelist. His words never fail to touch me profoundly.
And speaking of precious resources, if only I were Oprah, I would see to it
that every single one of you would open your snail-mail box in several days
to find a copy of this extraordinary cookbook/memoir awaiting you. Alas, I
must trust you to procure your own. At the very least, perhaps I can whet
your appetite...

 

Curried Poached Fruit

The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life
The Pat Conroy Cookbook:
Recipes of My Life

by Pat Conroy with Suzanne Williamson Pollak
Copyright Pat Conroy 2004
(Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)

“Southern grief at a funeral of a loved one often gets mollified by the
scrumptious feast that follows the ceremony. In the South, you often
eat as well after the burial of a family member or friend as you do on
Thanksgiving Day or Christmas [which is why I choose to present
this recipe during the Christmas Holiday Season]. It is the custom of
the place for friends to bring a dish of delicious food to the home of
the deceased – it is one of the binding social conventions that still
survive in even the most estranged and disconnected enclaves of
the South.”

Serves 8 to 12

1 lemon
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 pears, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
4 peaches or apples (depending on the season)*
1 cup pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup cherries, pitted, or 1/2 cup dried cherries
4 apricots, pitted and quartered, or 1/2 cup dried apricots
1 cup seedless green grapes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder [good-quality purchased
curry powder, or make your own]

*Dried fruit also can be substituted for fresh. If using fresh peaches,
blanch the peaches in boiling water for 15 seconds. Peel and halve
the peaches, remove the pits, and thickly slice. If using fresh apples
 peel, core, and thickly slice."

1. Using a vegetable peeler, cut strips of zest from the lemon (not includ-
ing the white pith). Squeeze juice for the poaching liquid.
2. Make the poaching liquid by combining the lemon peel [zest] and juice, ginger, 4 cups water, and the sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil,
then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
3. Place the fruit in poaching liquid. If the liquid does not cover the fruit, gently push the fruit down to submerge it. Return the mixture to a boil,
reduce heat, and simmer until the tip of a sharp knife can easily pierce
the fruit, 5 to 10 minutes. (Since cooking time varies with the ripeness
of the fruit, test frequently.)
4. Drain the fruit in a colander. Discard the poaching liquid.
5. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
6. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and curry
powder. Carefully fold in the fruit (so as not to mash it) with a plastic
spatula. Transfer to a glass baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve hot.
 

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