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 gray 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 with 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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
Allow the compote to cool completely, then transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.