Late Summer Fruit Compote
A fruit compote, or fruit “soup” is more common in the mediterranean than here in North America. What is it? It’s an assortment of summer stone fruits cooked in a sugar syrup (I add sweet wine and orange juice) on medium heat until the fruits break down slightly but still retain some texture. You can also make a winter fruit compote using dried fruits, but the recipe I am offering today is definitely a summer version of fruit compote using fully ripened summer fruits. I tend to make it at the end of the summer, when stone fruits are ripe and ready.
Some people leave some of the pits in the soup (especially pits from apricots and prune plums) as they add an interesting, slightly bitter-nutty flavour. I remove the pits, don’t want anyone breaking their teeth on my fruit soup accidentally. If you want to try it with pits I suggest you wrap the pits in a cheesecloth so you can remove them in one swoop when the soup is ready.
How to serve it? In the summer it is common to serve a chilled glass of fruit compote to guests who drop by unexpectedly (common over there, almost never done here) or to family as a snack or dessert. You can serve it in a lovely dessert bowl as well. I like making it and love the beautiful fruit flavours and the chilled liquid the cooked fruits float in. De-lish.
3 lb stone fruits (prune plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines) can add seedless grapes or even berries
3 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sweet wine (I used Moscato Passito made from partially dried Moscato grapes. The dehydration of the grapes concentrates their sugars and the flavours these dried grapes impart is heavenly. I am sipping on a glass of Passito as I am writing this recipe.
1 stick cinnamon
3 star anise, tied in a cheesecloth
Peel from one lemons, cut in long strips
Juice of one lemon
Place sugar, water, orange juice and wine in a large pot and place on medium-high heat.
Cut the fruits but do not peel: cut peaches and nectarines into wedges, cut prunes and apricots in half. Add the other fruits you may be using but if you use berries wait unit later to add them so they don’t completely disintegrate.
Add the cut fruits to the syrup and continue cooking until the syrup reaches a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and let the fruit simmer for about 30 minutes. After about 30 minutes the syrup should thicken and the fruits break down but not disintegrate. Half way through the cooking you can add the berries if you use them.
Remove from heat and let the soup cool.
When it reaches room temperature, remove the cinnamon stick and the packet with the star anise and discard.
Keep the soup in the fridge. You can keep it in mason type quart jars and even give one to an unsuspecting friend. Got to educate their palate.