Delectible Tidbits has gotten off to a roaring start due to my being a bad vacationer who never manages to go anywhere. This will be post number seven and day seven of the blog. Yep. No tropical resort destinations for this gal. Just a happy contented feeling to be free to do whatever I want for a couple of weeks and leave the stress of the work day to someone else. Hopefully, this temporary spate of prolific writing won’t spoil the three or four of you who have discovered my blog so far! Hee, hee, hee…
This week has been about breakfast and baking so far. Two things that are near and dear to my heart. Another thing that is near and dear to my heart is visiting our local farmer’s market. This summer has been a very rewarding summer for fruit around here. It seems that we had a parade of gorgeous stone fruits and berries all summer and now we are getting treated to figs and apples as we head into fall. For the past month as the apple season has begun to intersect with the berry season, I have been playing around with fruit compotes for our weekend pancake feasts. I have been making these compotes a little on the tart side so that we can spoon them over the yogurt-topped pancakes and then pour maple syrup on top and not lose the fragrant fruit flavor or the tangy bite.
For the past two weeks, I have been purchasing blackberries specifically for this purpose because the blackberry compote I put together was so good it needed a second appearance on our table. Previous to this I made compote out of apricots and plums. I have a bad habit of buying too much fruit for two people to eat and then forgetting about it. I realized that I had apricots and plums ready to go to waste and scrambled to do something about it. The result was another equally wonderful version of the recipe I will post for you today. If you want to try using stone fruit, make the following changes: substitute stone fruit for the blackberries (If memory serves me correctly, think I used 3 apricots and 8 small plums, pitted and skins left on). I used one small apple instead of two and substituted apple juice for orange juice; the orange zest was omitted but would still be good if you want to include it.
Tart Blackberry compote:
2 pints fresh blackberries
The juice and zest of one orange
2 small apples, peeled and finely diced
2 allspice berries*
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp or more honey**
Combine all of the ingredients in a 1 ½ quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower to a strong simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about a half an hour or until the sauce thickens considerably. During the simmering time, start adding the honey a teaspoon at a time. Taste the compote before you add each subsequent teaspoon. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit you may want more or less honey than I recommend. Remember, you want a sauce with a concentrated fruit flavor and a bit of tartness. Also, during the simmering time, crush some of the diced apple against the side of the pan. This will help release the natural pectin in the apples and help thicken the compote a bit.
*When the compote is done, you may wish to remove the cinnamon stick. When I made the plum/apricot version of the compote, I could see the allspice berries and remove them. It is nearly impossible to find them in the blackberry version. Warn the people sharing this with you that they may bite down on a strong spice. The allspice berries will swell and soften so they should not be dangerous to anyone’s teeth but there will be a surprise burst of flavor.
**The compote will concentrate which is why I suggest adding the honey a teaspoon at a time until you get the right sweetness for your palate. If you don’t like tart sauce add more honey. We intended to use maple syrup on top of this sauce on top of pancakes so a tart compote was desirable for this use. If you want to use the compote on ice cream, a tart sauce would also be a good contrast to the sweetness of your dessert.