A compote is one of our favourite cold-weather desserts. It’s simply fruit cooked down with sugar and flavourings. It warms you up inside without being immoral, illegal or fattening.
It can be served as a topping for desserts, toast, plain cake, waffles, or on its own. This basic recipe works for any fruit. Dried apricots, raisins, etc. can be added to the mixture after hydrating it in the liquid used for about an hour.
Compotes are a great way to use up an assortment of leftover fruit. You can eat a cup of compote in less than five minutes without even realising that you’ve eaten three whole peaches. It’s so delicious warm and scented with spices.
(In Eastern Europe – Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Lithuania, etc. – ‘compote’ has a slightly different meaning. It is used to describe a light refreshing drink most often made of dried fruit boiled in water with some sugar and left to cool and infuse.)
For 3 cups of chopped/pitted fruit. (One can leave the peels on apples, pears and stone fruit.)
1 to 1.5 cups of liquid depending on how much liquid the fruit contains
**water/wine/juice. we used orange juice
1 to 2 tablespoons of honey/maple syrup/sugar
**this is optional and depends on the tartness of the fruit
a tiny pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of Cognac or Grand Marnier
**this is optional, but recommended. This dish is suitable for children as the alcohol is simply for flavour and will burn off while cooking.
1 tsp of lemon juice
flavourings of choice
** grated ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, whatever you like. Powder the spices, or tie them in a muslin bag with kitchen twine and remove them in the end. We used 2 tsps orange zest.
Cook everything together on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes until the fruit is tender, but not entirely mushy. It should be spoonable and slightly more runny than jam.
If the fruit has reached the desired texture but is too runny, dissolve 2 tsps cornstarch in a tablespoon of liquid of choice, add it to the mixture, and bring it to a boil. This will thicken the mixture.
Serve it hot or cold with accompaniment of choice or on its own.
(A thicker, drier version of this recipe yields jam. Since we make small quantities, we do not use pectin. If you wish to make jam, reduce the liquid used to half a cup, and add some citrus pips tied up in a muslin bag with twine. They contain pectin. Or just cook it down until it reaches the consistency you desire.)
Cherry-Orange Compote with low-fat vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate curls – the way J likes it.
Or blend a tablespoon into your glass of low-fat soymlk, milk, or yogurt.
The Heart of the Matter blog aims to provide nutrition awareness pertaining to a heart-healthy lifestyle. They have a monthly event inviting recipes to promote this theme.