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A most excellent hostess friend made this at a recent holiday cocktail party. It was so delicious that there are no photos: the guests swarmed the bowl and devoured all the fruit before there was a chance to take out a camera. All winter houseparties need to include this dish!

Preparation time 30-35 minutes. Poaching liquid can be made a day ahead.

Poaching liquid:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 2 table sp. Cinnamon liquor
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp grated lemon or orange zest (this is a must ingredient )
  • ½ cup Grand Marnier or Contreau (I used Blue Curacao that gave it the blue colour use which ever you  have on hand)
  • ½ cup Brandy or Cognac
  • ½ cup dry white wine 



  • Pear slices (skin on)
  • Navel orange sections
  • Apple slices (skin on)
  • Strawberries
  • Peach or Nectarine slices (skin on)
  • Kiwi (peeled and cut in large wedges or circles)


In a cooking or fondue pot combine water and sugar and heat over a medium flame until dissolved 3-5 minutes, do not boil. And vanilla and zest and heat a further 5-10 minutes. Add liqueurs and wine and keep warm over a low flame. This makes about 4 ½ cups of poaching liquid.  Up to this point it can be made ahead and then heated up when ready to serve. Keep warm over flame or low simmer.

To serve, put several scoops of prepared fruit into the poaching liquid. The fruit should be floating after about 7 minutes scoop out all the fruit and serve on a plate with toothpicks or cocktail swords alongside so guest can spear their own fruit.

The left over liquid may be used to fill small chocolate liqueur cups for an after dinner drink. Or use as a sauce for angel food cake or ice cream.