Maybe I’m partial to red, just possibly. I suppose the fact that red candies are often the first to go (think jelly beans or lollipops) illustrates the simple truth that red things generally tend to taste better – they’re juicier, fruitier and altogether more exotic and lip smacking. I was starting a project recently that required various red fruits and wound up with a stash, some of which just wasn’t fresh/sweet/firm enough to use in that particular recipe. I decided to combine them into a quick compote, one whose brief exposure to heat would be enough to break down the fruit, release their juices, and allow their flavors to meld into one, big, blended red taste. I decided I wanted a contrast of textures, with some of the fruit retaining its freshness, and so in the compote pictured here I cooked rhubarb and strawberries, and added uncooked cherries to the warm compote after it came off the stove. There resulted a lovely mix of firm and soft fruits swimming in a syrupy red slurry. (I sweetened this batch with a bit of agave syrup – a sweetener was definitely needed as I had used rhubarb, though with sweeter fruits it may not be necessary.)
Not a recipe per se, but a quick and flexible little method:
red fruit (any combination of strawberries, cherries, raspberries, currants, rhubarb, etc)
1/4 cup liquid, such as water, fruit juice or wine (more as needed)
sweetener, such as sugar, agave syrup, honey, or maple syrup (optional)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, or more to taste (optional)
1 star anise (optional)
1) Clean the fruit and hull and pit as necessary. Slice.
2) Put all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (reserving any fruits that you want to remain uncooked) and simmer over medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid sticking. Add more liquid if mixture gets too thick. When fruit feels soft and starts to break down, remove from heat (between 10-15 minutes). Cool. Remove star anise. Add any reserved, uncooked fruits.
3) Eat at room temperature or chilled; with yoghurt, sour cream or creme fraiche as accompaniment if so desired.