By Eileen Goltz
My Aunt Maureen (a favorite relative who is a
fabulous cook) as a version of hot fruit compote
is one of my all time favorite dishes. I serve it year around,
whenever I feel the need for comfort food, and especially when I
roast a turkey or Cornish hen. To me, compote is
that special side dish best appreciated when
fresh fruits aren't readily available or when we have a little extra dried
fruit we want to use up.
As a toddler my youngest used to describe compote as
sort of a cholent for fruit and it caught the
essence of it,sort of. In reality compote is literally a
form of preserves and is one of the very first dishes I taught him
to make. It is one of the simplest ways to get
your kids involved in cooking because the recipes are all very forgiving
and if a piece or two of dried apricot or canned
pineapple end up in someone's mouth instead of the bowl nobody will ever
know (or even care). Try giving even the youngest of your helpers a
plastic knife and let them "cut" up some of the
fruit. You'd better buy extra ingredients
because if your kids are anything like mine half the recipe was gone
before I ever got it cooked.
Making compote is easy and the prep work can usually
be done in about 10 to 20 minutes. The
fruit is the preserved, combined or flavored by
cooking or marinating them in syrup. The compote can be made by cooking
the fruit in syrup or by pouring boiling syrup over fruit and
allowing the fruit to steep in the syrup. You
can also poach the fruits and then marinate them in
syrup. To make life even easier you can use canned fruit and
eliminate some of the cooking.
Compotes can be made several days in advance of when
they'll be needed and can stay in the
refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (if it lasts that long). Most
can be served either hot or cold. The following recipes span the
spectrum of the very easy marinated fresh fruits
to the more involved boiled and baked recipes
and they are guaranteed to perk up even the most boring of meals.
NOTE: For most of the year a little compote goes a long way but with
Pesach not too far away you may want to know that it is the one
time of year where making 3 or 4 different types of compote in one week is
perfectly acceptable. Honestly, who among us
hasn't used compote as a "natural" counter point
to the mounds of intestine blocking matzo we've consumed.
Most of the following recipes are acceptable or can easily be
adapted for the week of Pesach.
NOTE: If you are making these recipes for Pesach make sure that the canned
and dried fruit you use is certified kosher for Pesach.
NO TIME TO MAKE COMPOTE, COMPOTE (pareve)
You can put this dish together in under 20 minutes and it tastes like you
were in the kitchen all day.
|1 16 oz can pear
1 16 oz can peach halves
1 16 oz can apricot halves
1 1/2 cup sugar
|1/2 cup sweet or
semi sweet red wine
Grated rind and juice of one lemon
Grated rind and juice of one orange
Drain all the fruit (reserving the syrup), and put
the fruit into a bowl. In
a large sauce pan combine the sugar, 3/4 cup of the reserved syrup, wine,
lemon juice and rind, orange juice and rind and cook slowly at a simmer
about 15 minutes. Cool, and then pour the syrup over the fruit. Mix to
combine and then cover and chill in several hours. Serves 6 This recipe
be doubled or tripled.
BAKED FRUIT COMPOTE FOR PESACH (pareve)
|2 lb. mixed dried
fruit (prunes, apricots, pineapple, pears, and figs)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
|1 stick cinnamon (or
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
8-10 macaroons, crumbled
Soak the dried fruits in cold water (to cover)
overnight. Drain the fruit
and place them in a saucepan together with the orange juice, water, cloves
and cinnamon. Simmer gently for 45 minutes, and then add lemon juice and
sugar and cook, stirring frequently, for l0 minutes longer. Preheat oven
375. Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid, and place fruit in a shallow
ovenproof casserole or pie plate. Add just enough liquid to barely cover
fruit. Sprinkle crumbled macaroons over the top. Bake in preheated oven
15-20 minutes. Serve either warm or cold. 8 to 10 servings
FANCY DRIED FRUIT COMPOTE (pareve)
A few more fruits, a couple more steps but this recipe is a very elegant
twist on a simple recipe.
|1 1/3 cups dry white
1/3 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup white raisins
2 tablespoon dark raisins
|8 pitted prunes,
8 dried figs, stemmed and quartered
1/3 cup dried apricot halves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dried pears, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup dried apples, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
In a large saucepan combine the wine, sugar,
cinnamon sticks, zest, lemon
juice and water in a saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. Cover saucepan and simmer about 10 minutes. Add
raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, pears, and apples and return to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Serve warm or chilled using the
toasted almonds as a garnish.
FRESH PINEAPPLE AND PLUM COMPOTE (pareve)
|8 cups fresh pineapple
2-1/4 lb. fresh plums, pitted and sliced
|2 tablespoon brown
3 tablespoons toasted coconut
Combine pineapple chunks and plums large bowl.
Sprinkle the fruit with the
brown sugar and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Serve the compote on individual serving place. Sprinkle the top of each
serving with a little toasted coconut just before serving. Serves 12.
ELEGANT FRUIT COMPOTE
|1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons potato or cornstarch
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoon lemon juice
20 oz. pineapple chunks
11 oz. Mandarin oranges
3-4 diced apples
1/2 cup cherries or grapes for color
Combine the sugar, potato starch, pineapple juice,
orange juice and lemon
juice together in a sauce pan and cook until the mixture thickens,
constantly. Remove the mixture from the heat, set it aside to cool. When
mixture has cooled, in a large bowl combine the pineapple, mandarin
oranges, apples, bananas and cherries or grapes. Pour the liquid mixture
over the fruit and then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When ready to serve place the fruit compote in
its serving dish and top with the toasted
almonds. Note: other fruits in season may be added.
VANILLA FRUIT COMPOTE
|1 navel orange
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks (each about 3 inches long)
1/2 vanilla bean (about 3 inches long), split
4 large firm but ripe Anjou or Bosc pears (about 2 pounds), peeled,
cored, and each cut into 8 wedges
|4 large Golden
Delicious apples (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored, and each cut into 12
2 cups dried cherries or cranberries
2 packages (6 ounces each) dried peaches, each cut in half
From orange, with vegetable peeler, remove 3 strips
of peel (about 1 inch
wide each); squeeze 1/2 cup juice. In 5- to 6-quart sauce pot, place
cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, orange peel, and 3 1/2 cups water; heat to
boiling over high heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Reduce
heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add pears and apples to syrup, gently stirring to combine; heat to boiling
over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 8
minutes or until pears and apples are tender.
Stir in cranberries and peaches; cook 1 minute
longer. Pour fruit mixture into large heat-safe serving bowl; stir in
orange juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 3
days to allow flavors to blend. Serves 8
to 10. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
FROZEN FRUIT COMPOTE (pareve)
|1 lb Frozen,
1 lb Frozen, unsweetened blueberries
1 lb Frozen, unsweetened blackberries
|1 cup sugar, or less
to taste, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
3 large Naval oranges, peeled, halved and sectioned
In a large bowl, combine the strawberries,
blueberries and blackberries and
1/2 cup sugar. Let stand at room temperature until the berries thaw, about
1/2 hours. Stir occasionally, taste, adding the remaining sugar if
In a large colander, strain the berries with a bowl under it so you can
the juice. Place the cornstarch in a medium saucepan and stir in the
Turn on the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the juice becomes
and translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let it cool. Place the berries in
an attractive bowl. Pour the sauce over the fruit. Add the oranges and
gently. Cover and chill until serving time. Serves 8 to 10.
CRANBERRY COMPOTE (pareve)
This is a versatile dish, delicious warm, cold or at room temperature;
meat, poultry, as an appetizer, condiment, dessert or between-meal snack.
|1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 medium ripe pears; peeled
12 dried apricots
|2 seedless oranges;
peeled and sectioned
3 cup fresh cranberries (approx. 1 12 oz bag)
Cut the pears and oranges into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut
each apricot into 6 pieces and then set
them aside. In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar
to a boil, stirring the mixture occasionally. When the mixture comes to a
boil stir in the pears and apricots Reduce the heat and simmer the fruit
in the uncovered pan for 5 minutes. Stir in the oranges, and continue
simmering the fruit in the uncovered pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the
cranberries, and cook them over medium heat in the uncovered pan
for 5 minutes, stirring the compote
occasionally. When the cranberries burst the compote is done. Remove the
compote from the heat.
Goltz, a professional chef and caterer, is the author of the new
cookbook, Perfectly Pareve.
© Eileen Goltz 2003