I don’t know if it is because my parents are both now dead or if it is because the world seems like such an unsettled place these days – or simply because it is winter – but I seem to be turning more and more to simple comfort foods. I’m sure you noticed that I did not say because I am getting older! While it may seem strange, I have never been what I term a “foodie.” I have not been terribly interested in fads and eating at fancy restaurants where they mist my food in front of my nose and call it dinner. That is no place that I want to eat. I may enjoy the artistry involved in some of these creations, but it is not how I would choose to spend my money or tickle my palate.
I have been making this fruit compote for as long as I can remember and my mother made it before that. I have no idea where the recipe, such as it is, came from. It is simple to make and wonderfully versatile. It is equally good on its own as it is over a good pound cake and I have used it to stuff Rock Cornish Hens or loin of pork. It lasts a very long time in the fridge and every time I eat it, I recall my father teasing my mother about serving “ein bisschen com-putt.”
There is no magic mixture of fruit to use and you can buy packages of mixed fruit. I would recommend buying really good quality dried fruit, preferably unsulphured. I usually make sure that I have dried apples, pears, apricots or peaches, prunes and figs, but I will use what I happen to have around as I have done this time because I am too lazy to go shopping. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. This can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature or even cold from the fridge over vanilla ice cream. This humble dish will definitely brighten these dark days. Tomorrow I will post an orange currant pound cake to go well with this.
Yield: About 10 servings
1.5 pound of mixed dried fruits
3 cups of cold tap water
3 fat cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon of whole cloves
1.5 cups of granulated sugar
2 or 3 thinly sliced strips of lemon peel, yellow part only
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Soak the dried fruit in the water for 3 hours
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
- Drain the liquid through a sieve into a saucepan and arrange the fruit in a non-metal baking dish
- Add the sugar to the water and cook the mixture on medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved
- Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon peel in with the fruit. Pour the sugar syrup over everything
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to one hour or until the fruit is plump and tender. How firm you want your fruit is a matter of personal taste
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit and allow it to cool. I like to store mine in a glass jar.