How to Make Compote Without a Recipe –

14199752717_4893da2c76_b1. Choose your fruit! Go with whatever’s in season — we got our hands on some sweet strawberries, but late summer berries, stone fruits, apples, and even eggplant would work as well. And remember: This is a prime opportunity to use bruised specimens: With a little heat, acid, and sugar, the ugly duckling will transform into a beautiful, fruit-laden swan.

Also get out: Some source of acid, such as lemon, lime, or even a splash of vinegar; a sweetener, such as maple syrup, sugar, or honey; a pinch of salt, and anything else you’d like to flavor the compote. I went with vanilla, but cinnamon, cloves, or even a hint of chili would all be great add-ins, depending on the fruit in question. Play around with it until you find a combination that’s your jam, pun intended.

2. Cut off any inedible parts of your fruit (here’s what to do with your strawberry tops), zest your citrus, scrape out your vanilla bean, then toss everything into a saucepan. If you want your compote to have a thinner consistency, add in a few splashes of water or juice.

3. Set the mixture on the stove over low heat, then forget about it. When the heavenly aroma of fresh berry fields comes wafting from your kitchen, give it a stir or two — it’s not needy. Let the fruit break down as much or as little as you like (sometimes I like mine to be more closely akin to fruit swimming in syrup, as in this grits recipe). When the fruit is to your desired level of softness and the whole thing looks glossy, the compote is done. Don’t worry if it seems thin — it will thicken as it cools.

4. Give the compote a taste, then adjust the flavorings until sweet, sour, and savory meet in your ideal balance. If you’re feeling frisky, feel free to add a splash of bourbon or rum. You could also stir in some chopped, dried fruit for texture. Once it cools, you could also purée the mixture until smooth, thinning it out as needed with water. Pour it over pancakes, or add a splash to brighten up your cocktails.

5. Once it’s cool, store your compote in a tightly sealed jar and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks. Spoon it overvanilla ice cream, swirl it into your morning yogurt, and spread it on fat slices of golden challah bread. Lord knows we did.