Cooked fruit—what? We eat fruit fresh! Yes, but what about in the winter when you long for summer’s bounty? That’s when stewed fruit can be the answer.
Cooking fruit is in my genes. I remember the spicy aromas—the embodiment of love!—coming from my grandmother’s fruit concoctions as they simmered on the stove. She mixed together fruit canned in syrup and sweetened frozen and dried fruit, so her juicy delicacies were definitely dessert. My recipe uses unsweetened dried and frozen fruit that cooks down, so my finished product is tangy and sweet with a concentrated, rich fruit flavor.
Because I include a lot of fruit, we use it as an accent at breakfast. We top our yogurt with it, mix it into cooked cereal, or spread it on our toast like jam. But I imagine a spoonful of compote could add depth to a vegetable-bean soup in winter or a stone-fruit soup in summer.
A jar of your unique blend of stewed fruit could make a lovely homemade holiday gift for friends and family, and it’s easy to make!
An homage to grandma’s fruit compote
I select fruit without sugar (or chemical additives), so if your compote isn’t sweet enough, you can add honey or another sweetening agent at the end of cooking or at serving time.Try different fruit combinations to see what you like.
- dried unsweetened apples, apricots, cherries, mango, peaches, pears, pineapple
- prunes (aka dried plums)
- raisins (aka dried grapes)
- dried or frozen unsweetened berries
- zest and juice from 1 or 2 lemons
- water or unsweetened fruit juice
- Cut or chop dried fruit into small pieces. Put all fruit, including frozen berries if using, in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add fruit with the soaking water and lemon zest and juice to a large saucepan and cook over medium heat. Add water or juice to cover by 1 inch.
- Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to low. Add more water or juice as fruit cooks so the fruit doesn’t stick and to create the consistency you like (if needed, cook uncovered to reduce liquid). Cook until soft.
- When cool, transfer to airtight jars or containers and chill. Compote keeps well, like jam.