If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re probably a fan of the fruit compote. A delicious mixture of fruits or berries and sugar, the compote brings a punch of flavor to greek yogurt, a fruitful ending to a full course meal, or a sweet addition to your morning cereal. And on March 1st, if you ever needed an excuse to start your day with a mixture of sugar and fruits, then here it is!
History of Fruit Compotes
A fruit compote is a simple treat. It is technically a fruit sauce, made with fresh or frozen fruit chunks and sugar. The sugar is cooked on the stove to make a syrup, and the fruit is added in and warmed until the two mix together to create a syrupy sweet sauce. The sauce has a variety of uses, such as toast spread, in smoothies, on top of cakes or waffles, or into granola.
Food historians credit the dish’s original origin to France. The dish was originally served by itself in 17th century France as a dessert item. Interestingly enough, the dessert was originally created for its supposed health benefits.
The idea was that this dessert, or fruits cooked in any syrup, balanced out the effects of humidity in the body. The dessert was treated as a health remedy originally but eventually was served for pleasure as a dessert.
As the dish entered the medieval era, it was served at the beginning of the final course at a feast, usually with a potage, or a creamy vegetable and grain soup. Compote then became a staple dish in all feasts! In the Renaissance period, the compote was served cold in a dish to signal the end of a feast.
Since the meal was easy to prepare, did not cost much, and could be greatly varied based on the type of fruit, it became a staple throughout Jewish homes in Europe. The item was served at Jewish meals on toast, in yogurts, and creams.
Today, many countries serve compote instead of whole fruits and vegetables. Vegetable compotes are often served as soups, dips, or spreads. Fruit compotes are often used as toppings or desserts. Today, some of the most prolific compote recipes come from Germany, Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia, and France.
History of National Fruit Compote Day
Exactly when National Fruit Compote Day started being observed isn’t clear, but the food item is celebrated has been around for donkey’s years. The word ‘compote’ is from the French language, meaning a mixture.
With no dairy ingredients, fruit compote became a popular staple cuisine in Europe – but you will often find it served with yogurt or whipped cream. Many people who observe a dairy-free diet will also freeze fruit compotes in containers and eat this as a dairy-free ice cream substitute!
Fruit compote also goes well with cakes and biscuits, often serving as the fruity part of homemade cheesecakes. Pouring it over granola and cream also makes it the perfect end to a full course meal.
How to celebrate National Fruit Compote Day
If you’re feeling a bit handy in the kitchen, cooking up some fruit compote of your own isn’t too hard to do at all. Just choose your favorite berries and fruits, and boil them in water with plenty of sugar and spices. To give it some extra flavor you can add vanilla to the syrup, or drop in some orange peel or cinnamon sticks while it’s boiling. Dropping in some grated coconut will give your creation a little something extra.
Consider also trying a compote-based recipe, such as using compote to make frozen fruit popsicles, or mixing compote into ice cream to make a thickened frozen fruit treat! Make a simple compote to put into other treats.
Try topping your toast, cereal, granola, yogurt, or ice creams with this sweet spread, and you may just find your new favorite treat! If you want to eat it hot, try baking a cake or cupcake, and then filling or topping it with warm fruit compote!
If you’re in the mood for something a little boozy, one traditional recipe sees the syrup made with wine, but you could just use dried fruits soaked in alcohol if you wish. Some recipe variations call for wine, rum, or tequila to create a tangy flavor mixed with sweetened sugary fruit. You can either soak the fruit in alcohol for a few days to soak up the flavor, or you can mix the alcohol in at the cooking stage for a sharper flavor!
Looking for a creative way to get your daily serving of fruits? Don’t like eating fruits whole? There’s no better way to get your “five a day” than with a tasty treat like this, so give fruit compote a try today and join many others across the world observing National Fruit Compote Day.