It’s about this time of year that I wish fall were a little longer than it is. The glorious jewel-toned reds, oranges and yellows that adorn the trees, the crisp coolness in the air, and the realization that my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is around the corner are just a few reasons this time of year makes me feel as if all is right in the world.
It’s also about this time of year that we’ve already done the typical fall activities – the pumpkin patch, the planting of spring bulbs, the pumpkin spice lattes – and I start to crave a little taste of fall in my everyday living. I’m not a big scented candle kind of gal, but you’re probably starting to get the sense that food and all things culinary arts are my passion. So what better way, thought I, to infuse a bit of fall into the day than to make a fall compote that could be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner?
According to Larousse Gastronomique, the “World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia”, a compote is defined as “a preparation of fresh or dried fruit, cooked either whole or in pieces in a sugar syrup.” I love making an apple compote in the fall because it is incredibly easy to prepare and very versatile. For breakfast, it can be served over yogurt, oatmeal or French toast. For lunch or a snack, you can spread a soft cheese like goat cheese or Boursin on a cracker and top it with a dab of this wonderful compote. Or, for dinner, I would serve it as an accompaniment to pork chops or a beautiful pork tenderloin. And for dessert, you can warm up the compote and serve it on top of a simple dish of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Makes about 4 cups.
2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 large apples (I prefer Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and cubed
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large saucepan, combine water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt and bring to a boil. Continue cooking at a gentle boil until sugar dissolves and starts to thicken into a syrup (about 5-10 minutes)
While sugar-water mixture is cooking, start chopping the apples. After the first apple is chopped, add the lemon juice to prevent apples from browning. Cut remaining apples and occasionally mix the apples in the bowl.
Add apples to the pot and bring to a boil. Add walnuts and vanilla extract and lower the heat until the apple mixture is just simmering. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender and the mixture thickens (20-30 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before serving.