Monday, January 28, 2008

Apricot-Cranberry Compote

This is one of our favorite desserts: sweet-tart dried fruit slow-simmered down to a rich amber stew. It's a blessedly simple option for when you're having company--there's almost no prep work and you can just throw everything in the pot before you start making dinner and let it simmer gently throughout the evening until dessert rolls around. Feel free to experiment with the fruit; try substituting dried figs or dried peaches for the apricots, dried cherries for the cranberries, or orange slices for the lemon slices. You can also replace the yogurt with creme fraiche (if you're feeling fancy) or cashew cream (if you're feeling lactose-intolerant).

The slow simmer really concentrates the sugar in the fruit, so you'll want to serve this with plain, unsweetened yogurt (we like this with thick Greek yogurt or goat yogurt for variety). The sweetness will also vary depending on the kind of fruit you use: Turkish apricots will yield a sweeter compote than California apricots, lemon slices will be tarter than orange slices, and sugar-sweetened cranberries vs. juice-sweetened cranberries--well, you get the idea. If you do end up with a compote that isn't as sweet as you'd like, you can drizzle honey or maple syrup over the final product.

If you end up with leftovers, this makes a delicious breakfast!

1 and 1/2 cups dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 a lemon, thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
yogurt for topping

Place all ingredients in a saucepan (don't use cast-iron--it'll taste weird). Add water just to cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, until fruit is very soft and the liquid has reduced to a mahogany syrup. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.

1 comment:

h0n0r said...

Man, this is good. I've visited twice now just to look at the picture and remember how good it tastes. I thought about making it in Denver and thought it required fresh apricots - guess not. Nice to know. Seems like dried fruits always get relegated to fillings of desserts. Nice to see it as a primary. Mmmm.