Festive Red Fruit Compote

December 21, 2020
3 Ratings
Photo by Amy Chaplin
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 12 minutes
  • makes 2 1/2 cups
Author Notes

This flavorful ruby toned compote is the perfect make ahead topping to have stashed away in your fridge this winter. It adds a jewel-like flash of color to any humble breakfast, dessert or snack. Highlighting winter fruits like pomegranate and citrus, and warming spices ginger and cardamom, results in a bold flavored and brightly colored compote that will add warmth and cheer to any grey winter day.

Allow it to effortlessly transform your humble bowl of oatmeal or slice of toast into something noteworthy. Need a quick dessert? Stir a cup of compote into sliced ripe pears, cover your favorite crisp topping and bake until golden and bubbling. Try it on your holiday breakfast—I’m thinking dolloped over warm waffles or French toast or perhaps alongside a selection of pastries. It’s also great swirled into your favorite yogurt as an afternoon snack or light dessert.

Pomegranates are widely available at this time of year—this recipe takes advantage of both the seeds and the juice. The sharp, tart flavor and the vibrant red color of fresh pomegranate juice is a world away from the bottled kind you may be used to, and well worth the extra effort (hey, you probably have the juicer out for the oranges anyway). It’s also famously jam-packed with antioxidants, and is a disease fighting superhero.

I’ve kept the sweetener to a bare minimum in this compote so the flavors of the fruit and berries really come through. I find I like my compotes to be quite tart and slightly bitter; but if you prefer things sweeter, feel free to increase the maple syrup.

Note: If you don’t have a vanilla bean, you can use a teaspoon of vanilla extract in its place. —Amy Chaplin

Test Kitchen Notes

Whole Food Cooking is a column by our Resident Vegetarian at Large, Amy Chaplin. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups (230g/8oz) frozen cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups (145g/5oz) cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate arils, plus more to garnish
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, strained
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus zest from one orange
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 2 teaspoons filtered water
  • 1 cup (85g/3oz) frozen raspberries
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, cranberries, pomegranate seeds and juice, orange juice, maple syrup, ginger, vanilla bean pod and seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Bring up to a simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cranberries have burst and cherries have softened. Stir in orange zest.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve arrowroot powder in water and slowly drizzle into fruit, stirring constantly. Once mixture returns to a simmer, stir once more and remove from heat. Fold in raspberries and set aside to cool. The compote will thicken as it cools.
  4. Allow the compote to cool completely, then transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Amy Chaplin is a two-time James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and vegetarian chef. Amy's approach to cooking is inspired by nature and the healing benefits of whole food ingredients. Her recipes have been featured in T Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Vogue, among other publications. She divides her time between Brooklyn and Upstate New York.

1 Review

Katykins1008 February 26, 2022
Amazing! Could not get fresh pomegranate or cranberries so I substituted a cup of reconstituted dried low sugar mixed berries and cranberries and used Pom juice. Served it with a cardamom cake at a dinner party. Leftovers are great with Greek yogurt. A big hit all around and I’ll definitely be making this again.