Put some hot water into a small pan. Set a bowl over it, making sure the bottom is clear of the water. Put the chocolate into the bowl (if you are using a bar, break it into pieces first); bring the water to simmering point. Stir the chocolate a little as it melts. Do not allow the water to boil as the chocolate will overheat. When it has melted, put the bowl aside, leaving the pan of hot water for later.
Meanwhile, pour the apple juice into a shallow saucepan or a frying pan with a lid. Add the caster sugar and brandy, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat.
Rinse the figs and cut large ones into quarters lengthways, small ones into halves. Halve and stone the peaches or nectarines, then cut each half into four slices. Add the fruit to the apple juice, cover and poach gently for 4minutes. If the skins come off the peaches or nectarines, remove them.
While the fruit is cooking, stir the crème fraîche into the melted chocolate gradually with a balloon whisk, then beat until smooth. Put the bowl back on the pan of hot water while you finish off the fruit.
Transfer the poached fruit to a serving dish with a slotted spoon. Boil the juice for 5 minutes, or until reduced to a slightly heavy syrup, then pour it over the fruit.
While the syrup reduces, grate half the rind from the orange into the chocolate mixture, then add 2 tablespoons juice. Stir the sauce and serve with the fruit.
Melting chocolate in the microwave
Melt the white chocolate quickly in a microwave oven. Put the chocolate pieces into a bowl, heat on low power for 30 seconds, then stir. If lumps remain, cook and stir in further ten-second bursts until smooth.
If you can't find crème fraîche use light sour cream or a mixture of cream and sour cream, or cream and yoghurt.