Compote is actually really a dessert from medieval Europe. But times change and I adore making compote (which in this case is essentially, gently, stewed fruit, with a little je ne sais quois) for breakfast.
I first started making this after I moved to Somerset in the South West of England, at which point every Autumn, I seemed to encounter an endless supply of apples. People put them in containers and tubs at the end of garden paths and driveways, just for the love of it, to share with anyone walking by.
Ever the opportunist (and when I first moved here, we didn’t have much money for food, so a bit of a necessity really)… every time I went for a walk outside in the autumn, I’d come back with lots of treasures.
Back then I tended to make this with apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon, which was nice indeed. Originally, I had simply wanted to find a way to use the abundance of free apples falling at my feet, whilst creating something tasty and warming for breakfast as the colder days started to set in.
Everybody loved it – so apple compote, became a bit of a thing!
My compote has evolved (even though it is still super easy). Now I have a garden full of raspberries. I add in couple of other ingredients (like a dash of vanilla, pinch of ginger and coconut sugar) to make the whole thing de-e-e-lectably delicious.
Traditionally, in medieval times stewed fruit would have been served at dinner (by posh people I assume as part of their multiple coursed meals). Compote would also contain sugar or sugar syrup and spices.
Personally, I think the fruit is sweet enough, so maxing it out with even more sugar isn’t really necessary (and not my style). That said, I know lots of people tend to have a sweet tooth, so these days, I do often add a little coconut sugar, just to bring it up to that perfect kind of sweetness (although coconut sugar is entirely optional).
I’ve done many variations of this type of breakfast compote over the years, depending on what is available at the time. I’ll often add blackberries (which grow in the hedgerows here in the autumn), strawberries (of which I have lots in my garden) or rhubarb (which I often get given). The limit is your imagination.
I enjoy this for breakfast. It serves well hot or cold (although part of the joy is having something warm when the chilly weather starts to kick in, so I rarely eat it cold).
To peel or not peel your apples?
I am definitely a ‘not peel your apples’ sort of person. This part is however, completely up to you. There is so much goodness in the peel (and just underneath it) that it seems a bit of a waste to me to peel. The exception might be if you use super thick skinned, cooking apples, which can be a bit tough and waxy, even after cooking.
Not peeling (apart from retaining more of the nutrients) means that the apples will actually hold together better during the cooking process. If you’d like it completely stewed and mushed together, then I would actually recommend peeling.
I’ll leave that one to you 🙂
- 3 (medium sized) organic sweet apples
- 2 tablespoons water
- Handful of raspberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 heaped teaspoon coconut sugar
- Pinch of ground ginger (optional)
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