I found this recipe in Gourmet Magazine – the preparation is simple but the result is very elegant. Poaching time will depend on the ripeness of the fruit.
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
3 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
5 strips of lemon zest
2 large sprigs of thyme
10 fresh apricots, halved and pitted
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a 2 quart saucepan and add pod, water, zest, and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add apricots and simmer, stirring once or twice, until tender 2 to 6 minutes*.
Spoon syrup over warm apricots in bowls.
*A variation is to gently stir in 1 cup of fresh raspberries during the last minute of poaching.
Makes 4 servings.