What: Winter Fruit Compote
Where: The Art of Simple Food
Who: Alice Waters
This was surprisingly wonderful. A host of dried fruits (golden raisins, cherries, apricots, apples, and currants) are reconstituted in fresh-squeezed orange juice, vanilla bean seeds, star anise, and orange zest strips until plump. And it only takes 5 minutes. This is by no means time or labor intensive, but the flavor tastes like it is! We ate this by itself with a dollop of creme fraiche, as Waters suggests. But it would also be excellent over an almond cake, a pound cake, a scone, a corn cake, swedish pancakes, or even as a fabulous filling for a “memorable” rustic tart or mini winter pies.
Waters calls for adding sugar; I added none. It is plenty sweet without it. In omitting the sugar, the cooking liquid (orange juice) can be reduced to 1 1/4 cups, or enough to barely come to the top of the fruit.