When the chill weather comes, old-fashioned dried fruit compotes are the classic finish to simple Sabbath dinners. Light and wholesome, they taste of deep flavors and contain no milk products to compromise the dietary laws.
But there’s the rub. Without the tart dairy tang of sour cream, crème fraîche, or yogurt as complement, the meltingly silky fruit turns cloyingly sweet after just a few bites. Compote needs a bright acidic sparkle to pull its flavors into balance.
Fresh, ripe pineapple is the answer. Its brash tart-sweetness is not overwhelmed by the dark-winy dried fruit. Simmered in tea that’s been infused with orange and spices, the dried fruit matures in the refrigerator for a day or two—three or four is even better (the compote will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator). Just before serving, I stir in chunks of sassy-sweet, beautifully perfumed pineapple, a crunch of pistachios or almonds, and chopped fresh mint.
If avoiding dairy is not a concern, serve the compote—with or without the pineapple—with sour cream, crème fraîche, yogurt cream, or labneh, for dessert or a delightful breakfast. The compote also makes a wonderful companion to cheese blintzes.
© 2000 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.