Compote (French for "mixture") is a dessert originating from 17th century France made of whole or pieces of fruit in sugar syrup. Whole fruits are immersed in water and with sugar and spices added to the dish, over gentle heat. The syrup may be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon sticks or powder, cloves, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit, or raisins. The compote is then served either warm or chilled arranged in a large fruit bowl or single-serve bowl for individual presentation. The dessert may be topped with whipped cream, cinnamon, or vanilla sugar. Other preparations consist of using dried fruits which have been soaked in water in which alcohol can be added, for example kirsch, or rum. Dried fruit compote is a common Passover food.
Five fun facts:
- Western European compote is not directly related to the 300 years older Eastern European punch-like fruit drink kompot, even if they seem similar in name and ingredients. The Eastern European drink originates from the time of the Ottoman Empire, it may be even the predecessor of the Western European dessert of the same name.
- The base of fruit compote is, of course, the fruit. Some variants used dried fruit, while other cooks may make a berry compote.
- Some fruit compotes follow a theme, such as tropical fruit compote, while others use preserved fruits in syrup from the summer, or an assortment of whatever looks good.
- Depending on the type of fruit used, the spicing and level of sweetness is usually adjusted to make the fruit compote's flavor optimal.
- The length of cooking varies, depending on individual taste, with some cooks preferring to just briefly warm the fruit, while others stew it to a soft, even texture.
Five Compote Recipes:
- Dried Fruit Compote- Open your mouth and close your eyes and you will believe you are in Istanbul. The dried fruit plumped up by a two day soaking and flavored with honey and rosewater is delicious, refreshing and the perfect end to any meal. Eat it with whole milk thick yogurt or spoon it over ice cream with a dairy meal.
- Vanilla-Kirsch Panna Cotta with Cherry Compote- You'll be sure to impress your guests with these cherry flavored cream desserts that go deliciously with a side scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. These panna cottas (Italian for cooked cream) are smooth, light and mild molded desserts set off by a bright, intensely flavored cherry compote. The recipe calls for a vanilla bean, which yields the best flavor, but you can use extra vanilla extract instead; just be sure it's top quality. The compote is also delicious spooned over slices of angel food cake or scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt.
- Compote- Compote, a sweet stew or cooked salad of fresh and dried fruit, is one of those dishes that pops up in just about every cuisine. Use whatever fruit you can get your hands on. Compote is more a technique than a recipe.
- Cranberry & Ruby Grapefruit Compote- This flavorful compote can be served with vanilla yogurt or ice cream and will add a little variety when served at brunch or as an after dinner treat.
- Coeur a la Creme with Rhubarb Compote - This is a fancy name for a fancy cheesecake.
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Nutritional information for one serving (a half cup) of compote:
Fat: 1 g
Carbohydrates: 18 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Protein: 1 g