A fruit compote is such an easy way to turn a dessert or savory dish into a showstopper. A compote is simply fruit, that is cooked with some sweetener. Add salt, spices, citrus and more for a complex mix of flavors. Knowing how to make a fruit compote will make your desserts, snacks, crepes, chicken, beef and pork dishes easy, delicious and crave worthy. Add tart and zing to a sweet dish. Add sweet and zing to a savory dish. Compotes are so versatile.
The fruit compote recipe below is a cherry ginger compote. The sweet and tart cherry with the zing from fresh ginger is great on a sweet dessert, ice cream, yogurt, pancakes, waffles, crepes, chicken (yes!) and the list goes on. And of course the deep magenta red color is spectacular.
No matter which fruit you use, the cooking method for a compote is the same. A compote recipe has just a few ingredients and cooks in one pot, in just a few minutes.
I like to use frozen fruits, because once thawed briefly, they just take a couple of minutes to soften and create a perfect syrupy juice. You can use just about any frozen fruit like blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries, pineapple, mango and even cranberries (with double sugar) for a super tart topping, and the recipe would work.
Ginger and citrus juice are great flavor partners to just about any fruit. Add ground ginger, fresh ginger, lemon or lime juice, tangerine or orange juice or even grapefruit juice. The citrus will add a tart and sweet balance to the compote.
Warm spices spices are perfect for an autumn or winter dish. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, star anise and ground ginger (or any combination) are wonderful ways to add a gentle kick.
Make your compote more savory by adding some shallot, minced garlic or herbs.
How to Make a Fruit Compote
The process of making compote is pretty simple. Here’s how it goes:
- Thaw 3/4 c frozen fruit. Slice them in half or quarters if pieces are big (about 1/2″ pieces).
- Place in a small pot with 1-2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice (or other citrus juice)
- The amount of sugar can be adjusted up or down depending on the sweetness of the fruit and your preference.
- Add other flavors like fresh grated ginger, spices like cinnamon, star anise, ground ginger or even cayenne pepper if you want a sweet and spicy compote.
- Stir and bring to a simmer. Smash the fruit a little bit. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 minutes stirring occasionally.
- It will thicken as it cools. But if you want a thicker compote add a slurry of 1/2 tsp of tapioca starch mixed with 2 tsps cold water. Stir the mixture into the compote and continue stirring until it is combined and the sauce thickens.