Fragrant, sweet, and comforting, this is an all-purpose standard for good reason. If you struggle getting your family to eat fruit, try it. Warmed, it is delicious stirred into hot breakfast cereals like oatmeal, quinoa, or buckwheat, and memorable over waffles. It’s so inviting and welcoming that if you want to sell your house in a flash; even in a mid-winter storm, make up a batch, and set it out in the kitchen during an open house, and watch what happens. You’ll need cheesecloth and kitchen twine for this recipe.
Russian Dried Fruit Compote
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 whole black peppercorns or white, or mixture of both
- 6 allspice berries
- 2 cloves
- 1 piece of orange zest or clementine, 2"x4" strip
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey preferably buckwheat or other strongly flavored variety
- 4 scrapes nutmeg see Kitchen Tips
- 1/2 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stems removed
- 1/2 cup tart cherries dried, pitted
- 1/2 cup currants dried
- 1/2 cup strawberries dried
- 1/2 cup red plums dried
- 1/2 cup prunes pitted
- Make a sachet of the spices: Cut a sheet of 10-inch square of cheesecloth and spread it out on a work surface. Place the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and orange zest in the center. Gather the corners together and tie them into a sachet with kitchen twine.
- Pour the water into a medium-sized saucepan set over high heat, add the sachet, brown sugar, honey, nutmeg, figs, cherries, currants, strawberries, plums, and prunes, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, uncovered, for 15 minutes. The liquid will reduce considerably and the fruit will absorb the liquid and rehydrate.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, until the fruit is cool enough to touch.Remove the sachet.
- Serve immediately or transfer to one large or several small containers, cover, and refrigerate. This compote can be served cold or gently rewarmed. It will keep, covered, in the refrigerator, for about 5 days.