Compote is a refreshing variation on more traditional jams and jellies. This cooked fruit mixture originated as a 17th century French dessert, often served with sour cream and biscuits. What makes it so different from jam, jelly or fruit butter? It contains whole fruit, which makes a compote the perfect way to get the most out of your seasonal fruit all year long.
Pears are one fruit that are just as prized for their texture as for their flavor. A pleasant and appetizing graininess makes them a great choice for a seasonal fall compote recipe. This one in particular is flavored with just a hint of honey and vanilla.
Compotes are usually served as desserts, much like homemade applesauce. In fact, the word compote in French is still used today to refer to this most ubiquitous of cooked fruit dishes. But this pear compote recipe isn't terribly sweet, which means that you can also "pear" it with savory recipes!
This pear compote recipe makes a tasty accompaniment for pork roast, and the vanilla in the recipe makes it a natural accompaniment for our vanilla-cured pork loin. It can also be used to change up the flavor of your favorite applesauce cake. And of course, you can can the leftovers for later!
makes 1 cup
4 small pears
1-2 Tbsp. honey (depending on sweetness of the pears)
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 vanilla bean
Cut the pears into quarters and remove the cores and the skin. Place in a saucepan and just cover with water. Add the honey and cider vinegar and bring to a simmer.
Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pot. Add the bean as well. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, depending on the ripeness of your pears, until they have broken down and become soft.
Serve warm or cold, with savory or sweet dishes.
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Image: Emily Monaco