How I Got My Kids to Eat Fruit for Dessert (and Enjoy It)

image source: jane maynard
image source: jane maynard

My kids love dessert. I’m pretty sure they get it from me. Okay, they definitely do. The richer the dessert the better, preferably with lots of chocolate. To say we never have fruit for dessert is an understatement. My health-conscious 7-year-old Anna has been known to enjoy an apple for dessert occasionally, but that is the extent of such behavior in our house!

Image Source: Jane Maynard

A few years back we were invited to dinner at my friend Faye’s house. Faye is a pastry chef and I was excited to see what she had whipped up for dessert. Much to my surprise she served fruit — poached peaches with yogurt sauce to be precise. I’ll admit, I was a bit disappointed … until I took the first bite, that is! That dessert ended up being one of the best I’ve ever had.

Now, I know that dessert is never really healthy, but I’m sure poached fruit with yogurt sauce has more nutritional value than, say, chocolate chip cookies. So introducing the idea of fruit for dessert to my kids seems like a good idea. And, after all, if I could be convinced to skip chocolate after dinner for delicious poached peaches, maybe my kids could be, too.

Image Source: Jane Maynard

I decided to try making poached peaches with my kids. I figured if they helped make the fruity dessert they would be more inclined to eat it. I planned to recreate the experience I had at Faye’s, complete with the yogurt sauce. You won’t be surprised to learn that the kids were skeptical of my dessert choice. As much as they love peaches and yogurt, they were not convinced that these ingredients could make for good dessert material.

Then we cooked together. And taste tested together. And they were convinced.

In fact, they were so enthused by the final product that they wanted to eat ALL of the poached peaches, and I had to guard a few servings for my husband and me to enjoy! I grilled the kids afterwards, asking them if poached peaches did in fact make a good dessert. Not only was the answer yes, but they wanted me to make more that very night!

Image Source: Jane Maynard

The best moment came just after everyone was finishing up their servings. I could hear Cate, my 10-year-old, coming in from the back patio saying, “Can you give my compliments to the chef?” I was about to respond when she followed up with, “Oh, wait! That’s me!” It was really funny but also heartwarming. I loved that she felt ownership over the food we had created and was excited about our fresh dessert with no flour or chocolate in sight!

Image Source: Jane Maynard

Below is the recipe inspired by what my friend Faye made years ago. We followed a standard technique for poaching peaches and made up the yogurt sauce along the way. This was a great recipe to make with the kids. They could help with washing the fruit, measuring and mixing, and my oldest even practiced her knife skills by halving the peaches.

Now that the poached peaches were such a success, I think we’ll be able to try other fun fruit options for dessert, too!

Image source: Jane Maynard

Poached Peaches with Vanilla Yogurt Sauce

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 lemon or lime, juiced
4 peaches
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon milk
3 teaspoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

Image Source: Jane Maynard

1. In a pot wide enough to accommodate 8 peach halves (see photo), stir together water, sugar, and lemon/lime juice. Bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Meanwhile cut the peaches in half and remove the pits.

3. When water is boiling, add peaches, then reduce heat to around medium, so the water maintains a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until peaches are easily pierced by a sharp knife, flipping the peaches once halfway through cooking.

4. Remove peaches from water and set on a cutting board. Let sit 5-10 minutes, then slide off the skin.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, agave nectar, and vanilla.

6. Serve peaches warm or chilled with yogurt sauce poured over the top.

Note: You can save the ~2 cups of liquid the peaches were cooked in as a peach-flavored simple syrup to use in other recipes, like homemade lemonade.

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