How to Make Versatile And Delicious Cherry Compote

January 31, 2024
Cherry Compote

Cherry season means it’s time to take advantage of fresh, ripe cherries before their short season has passed. Enter cherry compote – a simple yet elegant way to capture cherry flavor to enjoy year-round. Cherry compote is a cinch to make at home. The sweet and tangy compote can be served warm, cold or at room temperature, pairing beautifully with everything from yogurt to cake. Read on to learn how to craft versatile and delicious cherry compote using fresh summer cherries.

What is Cherry Compote?

Cherry compote is a fruit dessert made by cooking down fresh cherries into a thick, jam-like mixture. It differs from pie filling or jam in that the cherries retain their shape instead of being crushed, resulting in delicious bite-sized fruit in every spoonful. The tart cherries combine with sugar, spices and juice to make a syrupy compote that is versatile enough to use in a myriad of sweet or savory dishes.

Benefits of Making Your Own Cherry Compote

Here are some of the prime benefits of whipping up homemade cherry compote:

  • Highlight cherry flavor – Fresh cherries make the compote far superior to store-bought
  • Control ingredients – Craft compote to suit your taste with less added sugar if desired
  • Use any cherry variety – Works with sweet Bing, tart Montmorency or sour pie cherries
  • Make ahead – Compote keeps refrigerated for 2-3 weeks for grab-and-go convenience
  • Versatility – Use compote in everything from cheesecake to pork tenderloin!
  • Impress guests – Elegant yet easy dessert solution for entertaining
  • Gifting – Share homemade compote jars as gifts for teachers, neighbors or family

Tips for Picking or Purchasing Cherries

The star of this compote is fresh, ripe cherries. Follow these tips for selecting cherries:

  • Look for glossy, firm cherries without any blemishes
  • Sweet varieties like Bing or Rainier are best for eating raw
  • Tart Montmorency or sour pie cherries work better cooked into compotes
  • Use cherries as soon as possible for best flavor and texture
  • Avoid any shriveled cherries, as this indicates dryness

Slightly underripe cherries will soften up nicely during cooking. Rinse and pat dry cherries just before using.

Equipment Needed for Cherry Compote

Part of the appeal of homemade compote is that you likely have everything needed in your kitchen already:

  • Saucepan for simmering compote
  • Wooden spoon for stirring
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowl for tossing cherries with sugar
  • Potato masher or fork for gently crushing some cherries
  • Mason jars for canning compote (optional)

And that’s it – no need for fancy gadgets to make delicious cherry compote!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Cherry Compote

Ready to dive in and make this summery cherry compote? Follow these simple steps:

1. Pit and chop cherries

  • Rinse and pat dry 2 lbs cherries. Pit and chop.
  • For pretty whole cherries, use a cherry pitter to remove pits.
  • For a chunkier texture, coarsely chop half the cherries.

2. Toss cherries with sugar and cornstarch

  • In a bowl, combine chopped cherries, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp cornstarch and a dash of salt.
  • Allow to macerate for 15 minutes so juice starts flowing.

3. Cook the compote

  • Pour cherry mixture into a saucepan with 1/4 cup water or juice.
  • Over medium heat, bring to a simmer.
  • Cook, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
  • Mash some cherries lightly with a masher or fork.

4. Finish the compote

  • Remove pan from heat and stir in 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract.
  • Taste compote and add more sugar/lemon if desired.

5. Store or can compote

  • Allow compote to cool completely before transferring to airtight containers.
  • For long term storage, can compote while hot in mason jars and process in a water bath.

And that’s it – you’ve turned fresh summer cherries into a compote that will thrill your tastebuds all year long!

Serving Ideas for Versatile Cherry Compote

A batch of cherry compote is the gift that keeps on giving. Here are some ways to enjoy this versatile condiment:

  • Spoon over yogurt, oatmeal or pancakes
  • Layer into trifles or parfaits
  • Swirl into creamy desserts like cheesecake or panna cotta
  • Fill crepes or cr??pes with compote and top with chocolate
  • Use as pie filling for hand pies
  • Dollop on ice cream sundaes
  • Stir into plain Greek yogurt for a quick dip
  • Brush on pork, chicken or duck before roasting
  • Mix into stuffing or rice pilaf
  • Thin with spirits and use as a cocktail syrup
  • Spread on scones, pound cake or waffles

As you can see, the possibilities are endless! Cherry compote is sure to be your new favorite way to add a burst of summer flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cherry Compote

Here are answers to some common cherry compote questions:

1. What’s the difference between cherry compote, pie filling and jam?

Compote features whole cherries in a light syrup, while pie filling and jam are made from crushed cherries.

2. Can I use frozen cherries?

Yes, you can substitute frozen cherries. Thaw first and drain any excess liquid.

3. Is compote supposed to be smooth or chunky?

It’s up to you! Leave all cherries whole for a pretty compote, or roughly chop some for more texture.

4. How long does compote last in the fridge?

Compote will keep for 2-3 weeks refrigerated. For longer storage, can compote in mason jars.

5. Can I use cherry compote on meat or fish?

Absolutely! Brush on poultry, pork or fish before baking for delicious flavor.

6 .What sweeteners work besides white sugar?

Brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or agave work well too. Just adjust to taste.

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