One of my favourite ways to celebrate local seasonal fruit, other than eating it straight up naked, is to make a compote. Compote is a french for mixture and the technique for this desert is slow cooking the fruit by simmering it in water and sugar until it is soft. Slowing cooking the fruit helps to retain its shape and the sugar and water act as a preservative. Compotes can be eaten warm or cold and you can also add liqueurs or spices to your compotes for extra depth. For cherries a Kirsch would be nice. Compotes are very versatile and can be used to top cheese cakes or ice creams, stirred into oatmeal, served along side your favourite cheese, paired with savoury items or meats like foie gras,duck, pork, game meats, or eaten just as they are.
For this recipe I used sour cherries Which uncooked have a tarter taste and a brighter red color. During the cooking process these cherries hold their shape quite well and the flavour mellows and becomes more sweet.
2 cups sour cherries pitted and halved
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized pot
Over medium heat bring to just below boiling point
Turn heat down to low and simmer until thickened and reduced approximately 30-40 minutes.
You will notice that when you halve the sour cherries they are a yellowish orange inside and look quite different from a sweet cherry.
When the cooking process is finished the cherries will have turned a deeper more vibrant red.
An Amuse before dinner?