Ah, the Bleak Midwinter is here. My mum has come to visit and so I’ve started bringing out some of the fruits of Summer that I wanted to share with her… the figs! My plan was/is to make a batch of fig jam (see here and here for some of the earlier posts on that), and I still might, since I’ve a fair amount left in the freezer (as I got a set off the trees I’d chop them up and bag them and freeze them). But one thing you can do with them (actually with any fruit – I experimented with apples the other day) is make a quick tasty fruit compote to go on fresh pancakes! (Or yoghurt, or other item.)
I make mine by simply chopping up the fruit into small pieces, putting into a small pan with a little water, a bit of brown sugar, and some cinnamon and nutmeg, and just cooking it down slowly for ten or fifteen minutes. Stir frequently in the later stages as it begins to thicken. Don’t overwhelm the taste of the fruit with too much sugar – it’ll add its own sugars too, which you don’t want to drown out… for me the role of the extra sugar is really just to help develop the viscosity that you want for it on your pancakes, etc. During the cooking stage, I tend to take a pair of scissors and snip away at the fruit pieces to make them even smaller so that they are sure to partially melt into the resulting syrup. That’s optional, and depends upon what texture you are looking for and what fruit you are using.
I most like using fresh fruit that I have to hand, or frozen fig treasures from my garden to remind me of Summer, but a friend of mine reminded me of an excellent additional option: You can keep a supply of frozen fruit from the freezer section of your supermarket (strawberries, blueberries, etc) in your freezer. So you can always have fruit for those spur-of-the-moment compotes to bring some magic to breakfast.