Warm Berry Compote with Basil


This dessert is inspired by the English summer pudding I have enjoyed many times. It works to perfection only when berries are at their peak of flavour. It is a refreshing and simple dessert to make and is delicious served warm as well as cold. The touch of basil adds a piquant accent which balances the slight acidity of the berries. Any combination of berries in season will work well, and the more variety the better. I love it with cream or vanilla ice-cream. Again, if you use a wok, make sure it is a non-stick one so that the acid of the berries does not react with the carbon steel.


  • 100 g (4 oz) sugar
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) water
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half
  • 175 g (6 oz) strawberries
  • 175 g (6 oz) raspberries
  • 175 g (6 oz) blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded


Using a non-stick or coated wok, bring the sugar and water to a boil, add the vanilla pod and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod and save for future use.

Add the berries and butter and simmer for 2 minutes, just enough to warm and not to cook them. Remove from the heat, add the basil, stir gently, transfer to a warm bowl and serve at once.