Sichuan Peppered Fruit

Sichuan peppercorns, much used in Chinese cookery, can be bought in oriental food stores and some large supermarkets. Mild and wonderfully aromatic, they make this mixture of poached apricots (or you could use yellow plums) and fresh strawberries truly mouthwatering. The colours are very glamorous, too.

Ingredients

  • 500 g/1 lb 2 oz fresh apricots
  • 125 g/ oz caster sugar
  • 2 rounded teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 450 g/1 lb fresh strawberries

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Slice the apricots in half and remove the stones. Place in a fairly large ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Roughly crush the peppercorns and coriander seeds and scatter them amongst the apricots. Pour in the lemon juice and cover the dish with foil, then place on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes-1 hour, until the apricots are soft. Remove the foil from the dish and leave to cool. Finally, slice the strawberries lengthways and mix with the apricots and syrup. Chill until ready to serve, with or without cream.

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