If using a vanilla bean, split in half and scrape seeds out. Reserve all. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and vanilla bean pod and seeds or extract to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer.
Drop in the pear and pineapple and poach for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Drop in peach and nectarine, and poach for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Drop in grapes and orange segments, and poach for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drop in cherries, and poach for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Since they will discolor the syrup, always do them last.
When you have finished, put all of the fruit back in the syrup and set aside to cool down. Once cool strain the fruit and reserve. The syrup can be saved for another use.
Mango may be added raw.
Prepare your favorite gelatin: In large bowl, soften gelatin by stirring it into 1/2 cup apple juice. Set aside.
In small saucepan, bring the remaining 3 1/2 cups of apple juice and the sugar to a boil. Boil until the crystals have dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour it over the gelatin and stir to dissolve.
Stir in the reserved fruits and pour into 6-ounce footed cups. Chill several hours until set.
Recipe courtesy of Wayne Harley Brachman, Retro Desserts, Harper Collins Publishers, 2000