When I started this blog just over two years ago, I had no idea I’d be making fancy schmancy mousse, baking with hazelnuts and brown butter, or learning half of what I’ve learned so far about food. And still, every time I gain a new bit of knowledge, or learn to make something new, or create a recipe that I love, it makes me happy. I get to feel proud of myself, which is always pretty cool.
But anyway, back when I first started, I don’t think I even knew what a compote was. I sure didn’t know the difference between jam and jelly, and I wouldn’t even begin to be able to distinguish either of them from marmalade or preserve or compote. The truth? It still confuses the heck out of me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived in a house where fruit spreads sit in the fridge and get opened maaaaybe twice a year. So basically, fruit spread 101 is not my forte. I might know more about food than I did a few years ago, but I’m not quite a connoisseur; I just like to make fancy things sometimes and pretend. ;) I’m actually on the fence about whether to call this a compote or a preserve, but either way, it’s tasty, and I decided that’s really all that counts.
I originally made this compote for the Cherry Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Rolls I posted just a few weeks ago, but it was so good that I decided it deserved to be a post on its own. It’s also an awesome way to use the last of the summer cherries (boo, where is summer going?!) and keep them alive for a little longer. It’s bold in flavor, sweet without being sugar-laden, and filled with chunky bits of cherry. It’s also super-simple to make, which means that in about 15 minutes, you can have a jar of this gorgeous, deep-red compote sitting in your kitchen. Then you can do whatever you want with it… like:
1) Spread it on toast (told you it’s also like a preserve)
2) Use it to top pancakes and waffles
3) Serve it alongside biscuits or scones
4) Have it with ice cream
5) Make sweet rolls!!!
6) Use it as a crepe filling
7) Mix it with oatmeal
8) Make a parfait… think yogurt or whipped cream, and go crazy!
9) Use it in a fruity dessert.
10) Annnd…Eat spoonfuls straight from the jar. You have to do this at least once, right?
Sweet Cherry Compote
Sweet bing cherries and a touch of almond extract make a simple but delicious cherry compote. It only takes 15 minutes to make, but it’s endlessly versatile for breakfast, lunch, and dessert options!
- Yield: about 1 cup 1x
- 11 ounces (2 cups) pitted bing cherries
- 1 ¾ ounces (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons 100% cherry juice*
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cold water
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- In a small saucepan, stir together cherries, sugar, and juice until evenly combined. Set over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes, keeping the liquids at a simmer and stirring occasionally; the cherries should get soft. With heat on, gently mash cherries, releasing more of their juices and breaking them into smaller pieces, making sure no cherries are left whole. Once done, remove from heat.
- Sift cornstarch into a small bowl. Add cold water and whisk until totally smooth (creating a slurry), making sure no undissolved bits of cornstarch are left on the bottom of the bowl. While stirring, slowly pour slurry into cherry mixture.
- Place cherry mixture back on stove with the heat slightly over medium. Cook, stirring gently, until the mixture comes to a low boil. Continue to stir and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.
- Cool compote in saucepan at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a jar or other airtight container to cool completely in refrigerator.
*I bought my cherry juice at Trader Joe’s, and I’m sure you can find it at similar stores. You can, however, substitute another juice; just make sure you pick one that will go with the flavors of the compote.