Thanks to the gentle nudging of a friend and fellow goon, I'm posting my recipe for an awesome apple compote I made for Thanksgiving Day Dessert. If you don't know what a compote is, the simplest definition is this: A compote is basically a dessert made of pieces of fruit, cooked in water with sugar and various spices. This particular recipe is like making an apple pie without the crust. It turned out to be a HUGE hit with family and friends. So much so that an uncle of mine took the remaining 4 pounds away from the table to have at it on the couch with a spoon.
It's pretty easy to make, and the most time consuming part of it all is peeling and cutting the apples. You might have some kind of fancy kitchen tools to make it even faster, but all I had were the basics.
Here's what you need to start:
- 12 Fuji Apples
- 2+ Tsp. Cinnamon
- 1.5 cups water
- 1.5 cups Sugar
- 2 cups Raisins
- 1/4 cup spiced rum
- 1/2 cup REAL Maple Syrup
- 3 Tsp. ground cloves
- 1 Tsp. Allspice
- 1 Tsp. ground nutmeg
- Fresh ginger root
- Lemon Juice
As far as utensils, you should have:
- A sharp knife (for chopping and cubing the apples)
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Potato Peeler
- Fine Grater
- A 4 or 5 quart pot with lid
- A smaller sauce pot
- A medium sized tupperware or seal-able container
All right then, let's get started!
I started off this recipe with a dozen Fuji apples. I used Fuji because they retain more of their apple texture after they're cooked and because of their sweet flavor.
Before you start messing around with apples, we need to get the raisins ready. For this batch, I took 2 heaping cups of raisins and poured them into a tupperware container. Add in 1/4 cup of Rum. I prefer Captain Morgan, but you can use whatever you'd like. Just be mindful that you will be cooking all the alcohol out of it, so it's the flavor I'm after. Next, add 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Don't get cheap here and use the fake Aunt Jemima stuff. Use REAL maple syrup. It makes a big difference.
Then, add 1 to 3 tsp. of Cloves, 1 tsp. of Nutmeg, and 1 Tsp. of Allspice. You don't need to be exact here either, so feel free to modify to your own tastes. I tend to go heavier on the cloves because I enjoy the stronger flavor. The more spice you add, the more this will taste like mincemeat. If you don't like the "spicier" flavors, you can skip the cloves and just use .5 tsp. of Nutmeg.
Anyway, once everything is in the container, seal it up and give it a good shake. Mix everything together and set it off to the side. You'll need to let this sit for at least 30 minutes.
Peel the skins off of each apple.
If you're using 12 apples (as I am here), you're going to want to have a decently sized pot with a properly fitted lid. I'm using a 5-quart pot here. Pour in 1.5 cups of cold water, 1 heaping cup of granulated sugar, and add 2 Tsp. of cinnamon. I personally enjoy a stronger cinnamon flavor, so I used 3 tsp. of cinnamon.
Put the apple peels from all 12 apples in the pot with the water and cinnamon.
Take a small pot and fill it up with cold water and several Tbsp. of lemon juice. After you're finished peeling an apple, put it in this pot. The lemon juice will prevent the apple from turning brown. This way, you can peel them all and still keep them looking fresh.
Core each apple and chop them up into small-ish cubes. You want them to be small enough so you fit several in your mouth at once, but if you cut them too small, you'll end up with apple sauce or a mushy texture instead of nice little chunks.
As you're cutting up the apples, place the cubed bits back into the lemon water to make sure they stay fresh and not turn brown.
Peel and finely grate approximately 2 to 3 cubic inches of fresh ginger. If you use less ginger, the flavor will be sweeter and milder. If you use more, the ginger will add a nice "bite" and give the compote a little bit of "heat" after you swallow a bite. I must also stress that you use fresh ginger root. I made this before with ginger powder, and it just doesn't taste the same. The ginger powder is much milder than the fresh stuff.
Once you have all the peels in the big pot, just leave them until you're done chopping up all the apples. It's just easier this way. You won't have to worry about finishing chopping before the next step...
Heat it up until it begins to boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After the 10 minutes are up, scoop out the apple skins, but leave the liquid in the pot. Add the ginger you grated earlier, and then stir in the raisin mixture.
Stir in the apple chunks, but don't include any of the lemon-water.
Once you get all the apple bits in the big pot, stir it all around and mix everything up. Leave it on medium to medium-high heat, and stir every few minutes. Make sure you completely and semi-frequently turn over the entire mixture. All the spice and liquid is on the bottom, so you need to keep mixing and stirring to spread that flavor around. During this time, your kitchen is going to smell like pure AWESOME.
I saved the boiled apple skins out of curiosity. When they cool off, they taste like candy. I haven't figured out what I can use them for, but they're really tasty. If you have kids, I'm sure they'll love these.
After 30-45 minutes (depends on how high the heat is), the compote will look like this, which means it is pretty much done. I taste-test occasionally to check. The apples should be softer, but they shouldn't be mushy.
You can serve it now if you wish, but I find that the overall flavor improves if you let it cool and store it in the fridge over night. There will be quite a bit of liquid at the bottom, but you'll want to keep it. If you want to eventually eat this cold, add in a small packet or two of gelatin.
This stuff is amazing when served hot over vanilla ice cream with a dollop of whipped cream. Just reheat it in a sauce pan or microwave it. Add a handful of crunchy granola to fool yourself into thinking this is healthy for you. This is also totally friendly to vegans (provided you leave out the gelatin), lactose-intolerant, and gluten-intolerant people. I served this over coconut-milk vanilla ice cream because we have some lactose and gluten intolerant people in the family.
And there you have it. My apple compote recipe for anyone and everyone to enjoy. If you have any ideas on how to make it better or change it up with different kinds of fruits, please chime in and share. Happy cooking!