All of us are using the time that we got from this lockdown in different ways. Some of us are ticking off things from our life’s To-Do list, some of us are giving netflix a run for its money. While some of us are learning new things. I’m honestly trying to make the best of this time and do as much as I can. That is why I have been sharing a new recipe on my Youtube channel every single day and you all have been loving them (YAY!). But I also think- instead of just trying a new recipe everyday, we can use this time to learn some basics that will always come handy. One such basic concept is that of compote.
I absolutely love a sweet and tangy compote. It is so versatile in terms of its flavors and the ways in which it can be used. You can literally put it on anything and everything! For me, I think a compote goes best with warm waffles and french toast- oh my god YUM. My mouth is already watering! Learning how to make such simple things can really take your baking to the next level simply because of the flavor bomb that a compote is. It contributes so much texture and yumminess to whatever it is that you’re making! Literally takes the dish to the next level.
I’m going to be sharing some of my tips and tricks on how to make a compote and trust me, if you try this once, you will never stop making it and your fridge will always have a jar of some homemade compote!
What is a compote?
I haven’t seen a lot of bakeries in India that use compotes with their cakes and desserts. My guess is that it is not a common dessert component here. That is why not many people know what a compote actually is.
Compote is a French term which means ‘mixture’. Technically, it is defined as a dessert that is made out of chunks of fruit in sugar syrup. This simple dessert component originated in medieval Europe and is still loved all over the world. Whole fruits are cooked in water with sugar and spices and the compote is served either warm or cold.
What is the difference between jam/compote/preserves?
When we talk about these fruity elements and/or reductions in the dessert world, the list is endless. There are so many different kinds! We have jam, there is marmalade, there is preserves, coulis, compote, etc. They’re all very similar but there are some technical and utilitarian differences between them.
Jam, for example, is a preserve made by cooking crushed or chopped fruit with sugar until it gels. And with regard to texture, jams aren’t totally smooth but aren’t super-lumpy with whole fruit, either. A marmalade on the other hand, is a spreadable preserve popularly made with citrus rind or peel. However, variations made with chunks of other non-citrus fruit skins—like carrot marmalade also exist.
Conserve is a preserve to which an additional herb, vegetable, or nut has been added. For example, a peach conserve with ginger and toasted walnuts. Whereas, a compote is a sweet-and-savory preserve made of pieces of fruit cooked down into a chunky syrup.
Based on the texture and shelf life, these can be used in different ways and for different things.
Things I need to make a Compote
Despite it’s fancy name, a compote is super duper easy to make! Like I said, since it is a sweet/savory preserve all you need to make this is fruit, some sugar, and some water. That’s all!
You need to cook your fruit till it becomes soft and releases some of its juices. Then, add an adequate amount of water. If you add too much, your compote will lose flavor. And if add too little, your compote won’t turn into a luscious and delicious syrup.
Also, the amount of sugar you add will depend on the sweetness of your fruits and your personal preference for a sweet or tarty compote. I personally enjoy a sweeter compote so I always add a little bit of sugar, about 1 tablespoon. But if you think your fruits are sweet enough, then you can easily leave out the step of adding sugar. If you want, instead of just using white sugar, you can also use light brown sugar. This will give a nice caramelization to your fruit.
Basic steps to make a compote
There is nothing complicated about making a compote. All you have to do is:
What are the most suitable fruits to use for a compote?
My personal favorite is a strawberry compote because hello, it has strawberries in it. I’m always in the mood for something strawberry! You can use a variety of berries and tropical fruit to make a compote.
Raspberries and blueberries work really well in a compote. Since raspberries are more tarty, I would add a tiny bit of more sugar while making raspberry compote. For a blueberry one, I would mainly just cook it down with water.
Mangoes and passion fruit is also absolutely perfect for a compote. Serve this with some vanilla ice cream or your favorite yogurt and oh my god, yummmm! Honestly, you can use any fruit you want. Cherries, blackberries, pear, and apples would also work really well.
How to safely store it?
Compotes have a great shelf life. Once your compote is ready, you should transfer them in airtight jars or containers and keep them in the fridge. These will stay fresh for upto 2 weeks.
If you wish to store for longer, you can always store them in airtight plastic containers and keep them in the freezer. These should stay okay for 3-4 months, just defrost in chunks, as and when you need it.
These were my tips on how to make a compote. If you ever had any doubts about making it, I hope it is all cleared out now and you’ll be making a compote real soon! If you’re looking for a recipe to help you get started then you can check out these two dessert recipes from my blog!
If you make any of these, please don’t forget to tag me on Instagram.