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Jamie Stolper

This is one of those dishes where proportions and even ingredients can be left up to the cook.  Use the fruits, liquids, and spices that you prefer.  Add extra sugar if you like a sweeter compote and extra water, juice, or wine if you like more liquid.  You can even reheat it just before serving and add berries or other fresh fruit (cook for just a minute or two) to make it more colorful and fresh-tasting.  Compote is quite versatile - serve it alone in small bowls for dessert, with vanilla ice cream, or spooned over pound cake or sponge cake.

1 – 1 1/4 pounds dried fruit
[I use 4 ounces each of apricots, peaches, pears, apples, and prunes]
2 cups water
1 cup orange juice or sweet red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemon wedge (about 1/8 of a whole lemon)

Measure out the different fruits and keep the firmer ones separate (usually the peaches and pears).  Cut the large pieces in half.

Place all ingredients except the fruit in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Add the firmer fruits to the liquid.  Stir gently and then let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the softer fruits to the pot.  Stir gently and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the mixture cool, stirring gently occasionally.  The fruit will continue to soften as it cools.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Compote can be served at any temperature – cold, warm, or in-between.

Yield: About 6 servings


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