Today: Jan 23 , 2020

Brandied Winter Fruit Compote

21 November 2016  

If your family would just as soon pass on the cranberry sauce, why not serve a compote of winter fruits?

Shopping List

Dried Fruit:
4 prunes
8 dried apricots
2 dried pears
1 dried peach
1/2 c. Raisins (Flame or other dried red grapes are best)
1/2 c. Dried tart cherries
1/4 c. Dried cranberries (optional)

Fresh Fruit:
1 tart apple (such as Granny Smith, Rome, Cripps Pink, Jonathon, Jonagold), peeled and cored
1 pear (Bosc would be good, not overripe. No need to peel, just core it.)

Note: The number of apples and pears may vary, depending on size. All together, when chopped up, you’ll want about 2 cups.

Spices & Liquids:
1 Cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
1-2 Tablespoons sugar
1 c. Brandy or sherry (can substitute not-too-sweet fruit juice if you prefer not to have alcohol.)
Up to 1 cup water

Compote is a French word meaning mixture. This dessert originated in medieval Europe. In late medieval England, Compote would be served at the beginning of the last course of a feast. But, during the Renaissance, people tended to serve it chilled at the end of dinner. Easy to prepare, containing no dairy products and made of inexpensive ingredients that could be changed depending on what was at hand, Compote became a staple in Jewish diets throughout Europe.

This recipe can be made up to 3 days ahead, freeing up your cooking time on the big day. Leftover compote is wonderful on ice cream or plain yogurt. It is also especially good served with pork chops, loin or ham.

Sprouts has several kinds of dried fruit on sale this week, including apricots and raisins.

Brandied Winter Fruit Compote

Makes 1 quart (4 cups)


Start with: 
4 prunes
8 dried apricots
2 dried pears
1 dried peach

Cut into pieces about 1 inch (or about the size of 1/4 of a dried apricot) Sprouts sells a plastic box of mixed dried fruits which contains all of the fruits mentioned below. If there is a particular type you especially like, use that instead of or in addition to those mentioned below (apples, currents, dates). Trader Joe’s is currently selling dried mandarin oranges. They were very good. The total amount of dried fruit should be about 3 to 3 1/2 cups.

Next, gather: 
Dried tart cherries

Place in a spice bag:
cinnamon stick
whole cloves
whole allspice

Combine all the dried fruits, cut up as necessary, in a 2 quart saucepan. Pour the brandy over the fruit, stir and set aside to soak for at least an hour. Add about 1/2 cup of water. You may want to add a couple tablespoons of sugar depending on how sweet your fruits are and how sweet you want the finished dish to be. You can wait until the mixture is cooked to add sugar if you want. Heat the mixture to boiling. Add the spice bag. Cook at a low simmer (uncovered) for 1/2 hour.

While that’s cooking, dice to about 1 inch:
1 apple
1 pear

Chop enough for about 2 cups combined.

Add the diced fresh fruit to the cooked dried fruit. Stir well, add more brandy (or other liquid) if need be, and simmer an additional 1/2 hour, or until fresh fruits are cooked through. The liquid should be nearly cooked away and the fruits still in chunks, not just a mush. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. To serve let return to room temperature or heat to serve warm.