Seasonal fruit compotes are wonderful to have in your cooking repertoire for several reasons:
- They are easy to prepare. Simply toss cut fruit with your sweetener of choice and any additional flavorings and cook until tender.
- It is a no-fuss method for making the most of seasonal produce. Have a bunch of peaches/apples/pears/strawberries from the farm stand that are ripe and ready to go but not feeling up to making a pie at the moment? Perfect! The compote is your simple solution to preserving the life of your fruit without turning it into a complicated project.
- Compotes are better (and easier) than jelly or jam. Compotes can be used in place of jam or jelly on your morning toast, and they typically contain less sugar and have better, truer fruit flavor. An all-around win!
- They freeze beautifully. Most compotes will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks (not that you won’t finish it before that), but they also store well in the freezer for a few months.
- And the number one reason to make compotes part of your cooking repertoire…..they are INCREDIBLY versatile.
How to Use a Fruit Compote
Let me expand on the versatility piece. Once you have a jar of fruit compote in your fridge, the options beyond your morning toast are endless. A few suggestions:
- Layer it with skyr or Greek yogurt and granola for a morning breakfast parfait (this is SO good….like fruit crumble for breakfast)!
- Spoon on top of a Nordic Buttermilk Waffle with some whipped cream.
- Stir into your morning oatmeal with a drizzle of whole milk or cream.
- Use it as a filling for scones or rye crumble bars.
- Spoon on top of vanilla ice cream (so simple and delicious).
- Possibly the easiest idea of all....drizzle warm compote with a little heavy cream and eat it with a spoon (yes, sometimes easiest is best).
- Rye crispbread + cream cheese + compote = tasty and easy breakfast or afternoon snack.
While I have several compote recipes here on the blog, I had yet to do one of the classics: apple compote. I tried several versions before landing on this Caramelized Apple Compote. And maybe that shouldn't come as any surprise. I adore caramelized apples. One of my favorite desserts is Tarte Tatin, the famous upside down caramelized apple tart that hails from France. This Caramelized Apple Compote has that same deep apple flavor with toasty notes of caramel and is serious step up from any other apple compote of tried.
The list is short and sweet, very much like what you might find in an apple pie or tart filling:
I tried a couple of methods for cooking the apples, including roasting them in the oven and a simple stovetop method in a saucepan, but neither delivered that caramelized flavor I was after. I switched my vessel to a nonstick skillet and began by combining the butter and sugar together creating a quick caramel sauce before adding the apples. This created the apple compote of my dreams: the larger surface area allowed the apples to brown more quickly and take on the caramel flavor I was looking for.
The apples cook in the sugar and butter for 15-20 minutes, or until they are tender, soft and caramelized. Add a little water and a squeeze of lemon juice and that's it! I like my compote on the chunky side, so I simply mash it up a little with the back of a spoon when it comes off the heat.
Apple season is most definitely here and it is a great time to give this Caramelized Apple Compote recipe a try. You will be glad you did! In addition to the ideas listed above for how to enjoy fruit compote, stayed tuned over the next couple of weeks for a few specific recipes using this particular apple version. Need more apple recipes? Give these a try:
Simple Caramelized Apple Compote
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch cubes
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar packed
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ vanilla bean split and scraped
- ¼ cup water
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and cook until bubbling, about 1 minute.
- Add apples, vanilla bean paste and the pod and saute, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.
- Add water, reduce heat to low and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice. Serve warm or allow mixture to cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator to store. Compote will last for about 1 week in the fridge.
Delicious in the apple crumble! Thank you!
A note: you ask for a "large pot" which is pretty vague. I discovered mid-cooking as apples were softening but not carmelizing that the key to carmelization is spreading the apples in a single layer so you don't steam the apples. I transferred to a large shallow cast iron pan (could also be a large saute pan) so I could put in one layer and shallow, avoiding steaming the apples with high sided pot.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for the feedback!