Poached Winter Fruits With Crème Anglaise

By Sophie Dahl

Works perfectly as a light pudding as it does a more decadant breakfast


For the poached fruit

  • 1 quince, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 2 figs, quartered
  • 2 plums, pitted and quartered
  • 2 cups/500ml fruity red wine
  • ½ cup/100g superfine sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • A few orange slices

For the crème anglaise

  • A generous ½ cup/150ml full-fat milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, slit in half and seeds scraped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup/50g superfine sugar


  1. Poach the fruits in a large saucepan with enough water to just cover the fruit (a scant cup). Start with the quince, poaching for around 8 minutes over medium heat, and then add the pears and apples and cook for another 5 minutes. Finally, add the figs and plums and poach for 5 minutes more.
  2. In a separate saucepan, mix the wine, sugar, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves, star anise, and orange slices and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. When both the poached fruit and the wine syrup have cooled, pour the syrup over the fruit and leave covered overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Make the crème anglaise shortly before serving. In a saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla bean and seeds to a boil, take off the heat, and allow to infuse for about 10 minutes. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar, and place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Whisk briskly. Gradually strain the vanilla milk in to the yolk mixture and continue to stir as the custard thickens. Take off the heat and serve over your fruit. Serve this in one big beautiful glass bowl – it’s good either cold or warm.