Compote of fresh fruit

Compote of fresh fruit

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
4-6

A dish of fresh, tinned or dried fruits cooked gently in a syrup to preserve their shape and served in the syrup as a ‘composition’ of beautiful colour and form. A compote may be hot or cold and may be made of one kind or a combination of fruits – usually whole, sometimes halved or sliced. A well-made compote is one of the simplest but most elegant of desserts.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500-700g fresh fruit (plums, peaches, apricots, cherries, apples, pears, rhubarb)
220g sugar
500ml water
flavouring, (see note)
cream, to serve
or Crème anglaise, to serve
crisp biscuits or pain perdu, to serve

Method

  1. First prepare fruit: cover plums or peaches with boiling water, stand for 3 minutes, drain and slip skins off; wash, halve and stone apricots; remove stems from cherries; peel apples or pears; trim rhubarb and cut into short lengths.
  2. Stir sugar, water and chosen flavouring in a wide saucepan over moderate heat until sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 3 minutes. Place fruit in syrup, one kind at a time, and poach just below simmering point until tender but still firm. Spoon syrup over fruit frequently and turn fruit over once or twice with 2 wooden spoons while cooking.
  3. Remove fruit to a serving bowl, arranging it carefully. Boil syrup down a little and strain over fruit. A little strained lemon juice to sharpen flavour or 1–2 tablespoons brandy, rum, Kirsch or other liqueur may be added to syrup if desired. Serve hot or chilled, with cream or crème anglaise and crisp biscuits or pain perdu.

Note

  • For flavourings choose from: 2 strips orange peel and ½ vanilla bean; 2 strips lemon peel; ½ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger, 3 cloves, or a mixture of spices, with 125 ml red or white wine if desired.
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