Thursday, 25 February 2010

Kissell! Tutorial: How to make compote

I love compote (kissell in estonian), it's quite a common dessert back there. Trouble is, it costs an arm and a leg to buy some here, so I make my own. It's not very hard anyway. (By the way, the word compote is a bit confusing to me, since "kompott" means kind of preservative, whole berries or fruit or slices of fruit preserved in their own juice/syrup, as opposed to jam, where all is mushed up.)

But back to our task: how to make some.

What you will need:
* A medium-sized saucepan or pot (Mine holds about 2+ litres)
* 2 glasses (about 500ml) of transparent not very overpowering juice, like apple or cranberry as opposed to for example orange
* Fresh fruit and/or berries and/or
* Dried fruit and/or berries and/or
* Tinned fruit and/or berries
* Some water
* Some sugar, app 2 tbsp (one tablespoon - tbsp = app 3 teaspoons -tsp)
* Spices, if you wish: 2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of ground cloves
* 2-3 tbsp of thickening agent, like cornflour, starch or ground arrowroot
* Some milk, whipped cream, toast, biscuits or creamy roly-poly for serving

How to make it:
* Add your juice to the pan

* Add chopped up fresh fruit (cut apples or pears in quarters, remove core, don't bother with the peeling, then cut in quarters again - to get about bite size pieces), berries, washed dried fruit/berries - about half a handful each. No need to soak. Don't forget raisins or sultanas, they're essential! :) I also love tinned plums in my compote, but I couldn't find any this week. In one sentence, add whatever you like and whatever you have. :) I had apples, dried apricots and prunes and some raisins. So, in they all went.

*Also, add your spices and sugar. Top up with water until it's 3-5 cm from the edge.

* Bring to boil (on the scale of 6 points like my hob has, I use 4) then simmer gently (on 1,5-2) under the lid until all the ingredients are soft and plump. That should take about an hour.
* Put 2-3 tbsp of corn flour/starch/ground arrowroot into a cup, add a bit cold water and mix until everything is dissolved, keep adding water until your mix looks like milk.

* Pour your mix into the pot while stirring, so that it blends well, then keep stirring slowly until you notice your compote thickening. It doesn't take long, just a few minutes.

* Take your pan off the hotplate, stir some more and let it cool down.
* Serve cold with milk, whipped cream, pieces of toast, plain soft vanilla biscuits or creamy roly-poly. Whatever you fancy, really!

Serves about 4

When I think about variations, I guess more spices would be nice around Christmas. Orange zest maybe? And eat it with gingerbread? I've never made compote with orange juice, but maybe it will be allright. Any brave experimenters? :)


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