Manolo's Food Blog Manolo Loves the Food!

May 28, 2006

Compote: out of despair

Filed under: Fruit,Japanese Food,Mr. Henry — Mr. Henry @ 10:20 pm

Mr. Henry’s favorite fruits are the pulpy, pitted, tree fruits such as plums, apricots, nectarines, and peaches. The Chilean ones in the markets lately, however, although ravishing beautiful, have been rudely tasteless. While the weather this year has been divine, springtime as a rule produces very few fresh fruits or vegetables. California artichokes came and went in a couple of weeks. Like California strawberries, excessive rain ruined their usually intense flavor.

In despair Mr. Henry does what he has done so often in the past: he complains to his friends. A suggestion from Nadia (who is never really wrong) solved the problem in an inspired, old-fashioned way.

Compote: When you have purchased five luscious, black plums and discover they have the internal texture of turnips and a flavor redolent of caterpillars, you feel rather less than hopeful for the future. To save the moment as well as the fruit, pit them and throw them into a casserole with half a cup of fresh orange juice and a tablespoon or two of Demarara cane sugar crystals.

Add a splash of slivovitz or kirsch for a rounded aroma and more smoothly textured liquid. Brandy will intrude a bit on the plum flavor but works nicely if you intend to create a dessert.

Nadia likes to add a stick of cinnamon, but Mr. Henry generally avoids it. Like for cranberries, once the pot has boiled, it is done. After it cools, add a bit of fresh lemon juice to bump up the tartness and preserve the color.

The Czechs eat this as an accompaniment to schnitzel and other fried foods. As both a taste treat and a visual treat, the dark red, aromatic concoction is equally appropriate alongside meat or fish. On top of yogurt it makes a perfect breakfast, too. There is something tantalizingly attractive about that color, something positively medieval.

Spooning it
into his bowl, Mr. Henry is transported and translated to a picnic in Poitiers reclining on the unicorn tapestries.


  1. Redolent of caterpillars is precisely what the flavor is. I’ll never be able to think of it any other way again.

    Comment by redfox — June 3, 2006 @ 11:15 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress