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Oct 26, 2007 05:53 AM

Prune, Pear and Saffron Compote recipe

Posting this here per another poster request. It's paraphrased from Patricia Well's Vegetable Harvest and made buying this otherwise disappointing book worthwhile. Ironically, while searching for it, I found it at the bottom of the newspaper recycling pile!

It's delicious with blue cheese - I've been serving Bleu de Gex lately. I also like to add some roasted hazelnuts on the side.

8 oz Prunes (she says 20, but mine must have been smaller - I think this would be particularly good with Prunes d'Agen, which tend to be larger - I've not had any on hand)
3 Firm Pears
Pinch of Saffron Threads
1/2 cup "best quality" Sherry Wine Vinegar
1 cup heather honey - couldn't find this, used half lavender honey, half acacia (sp?)

Steep saffron in 1 T hot tap water.
Peel and core pears, and cut into 16ths - I did lengthwise, and I think the second time I cut those in half.
I cut the prunes in half, although not called for.
Combine honey and vinegar in large sauce pan over low heat until honey has melted. Add prunes and pears and simmer for about 15 minutes - fruit will get soft.
Add saffron and steeping liquid and refrigerate. It will still be a little liquidy at this point, but sets up nicely.

Serve slightly chilled with cheese course and can be stored in fridge for up to six weeks. My husband loves it on ice cream.

[16 servings - 113 calories per, 30 g carbs]

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  1. Thank you for posting this - it sounds very good.

    1. mmruth - you are just wonderful at this. I want to try this plate, and thanks so much for the photos I am such a visual person that I need help like this.
      I am planning a cocktail party this weekend, I'd love to try this one. I'm only having light appetizers, would serve something else too?
      What drinks would serve?

      8 Replies
      1. re: chef chicklet

        Hmmm - good question - I'd post it on the Wine board if I were you - they usually have a lot of useful suggestions "over there"!

        And - if you are doing it for a cocktail party/finger food - I'd cut up the pears and prunes into smaller pieces before making it. The way I do it we eat the cheese and compote with a knife and fork.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Maybe not the best idea for cocktails for 4 then. I was thinking I could cut them up smaller and put the compote in the center..don't what I was thinking a knife and fork would be difficult. Still beautiful!

          1. re: chef chicklet

            Well - if you cut the fruits up smaller, it would be more like a jam that you could spread on something with the cheese on top.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Hmmmm. I just love what you make. I find that your food is doable either way and always turns out well. So I will think about this, perhaps I could manage we can all set our plates down we'll be around a round cocktail table with our seating. Not to formal, so I might be able to pull this off.
              I was thinking maybe different crackers for each cheese, drizzle compote and place a half of a nut on top? or chop them. I don't want to ruin your recipe but adapt it to my situation. I love cheese! My plan was to perhaps do a course by course of small plates (not really appetizers) in a casual setting...and this is my first time having them over also.

              By the way I forgot to mention I never could find the squash blossoms (or time it right) but the risotto turned out wonderfully. I went to snap the dinner after plating, looked for the camera only to find my DH took it to work that day, and left it in his desk.....ahem.
              I found it easy to make, and loved the flavors. But then I love squash in any form,but not all risottos. thanks again for that one, I will use it again and since I've done it now, thinking perhaps I'll make it for another dinner I'm having in a week for friends. (my one friend will absolutely devour it, she and I both eat meat but we really love our veggies!)

              1. re: chef chicklet

                You really don't need a knife necessarily - I'm sure a fork would work well. Or the idea of putting it on something - it's very rich - works well with the blue cheese - but I'm not sure how much I'd like it with some other cheeses. And by all means - adapt the recipe to your situation - goodness knows it's not mine ;-).

                So glad the risotto worked out well - I think we might have been nearing the end of squash blossom season - though I had some terrible ones at a restaurant Friday night.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Well I ran around to all the TJ and Wholesale and I would get, no sorry they haven't come in so I didn't know what was going on. I know I have seen them at the above locations before. A day late... still it was delicious. terrible? in what way?

                  Wait, am I reading/seeing your cheese plating wrong, the picture shows several cheeses you only served the compote and hazel nuts with the blue?

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    The fritters were greasy and the batter was far too heavy/thick.

                    Re: Cheese plate - you're right - I have a photo showing it with different cheeses, but only ate the compote with the slice of blue cheese! Sorry if that was misleading.

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      Here's one with just the blue cheese:


                      The thing that looks like a cookie is a slice of a fig fennel log that I also made from Vegetable Harvest, but that we did not particularly like!

        2. Here's a question -- how do you think that this would work with soft pears? Because I have some that need to be used up, and this sounds great to me.

          10 Replies
          1. re: JasmineG

            Hmm - you might not get quite the same texture, but perhaps you could add the pears half way through the cooking, so they don't get too mushy? I would think the flavor would be the same.

            1. re: JasmineG

              pear cobbler!

              mmruth, did the saffron come through? seems the honey might overwhelm it.

              1. re: alkapal

                It was a very subtle taste of saffron - I do think it adds something, but one could probably omit it as well and it would still be good.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  mmruth, thanks. i noticed in one photo the compote looks wetter. if you cooked it longer, would it become "jammy"?

                  chef chicklet, a jammy consistency with smaller fruit pieces could be done on cheese as horse doovers (my dad's phrase, rest his soul)..

                  1. re: alkapal

                    I think so - or one could "drain" it in a strainer.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      what sherry wine vinegar do you use?

                      1. re: alkapal

                        It just depends on what I have on hand, but it is usually one in the $15 range. I usually buy them at a local Spanish food store and have been buying different brands.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          thanks, what is that, 12 oz. or so?

                    2. re: alkapal

                      That's an excellent idea. I love this plate, I can taste it already. I'm craving that blue cheese and fruity conserve, I bet it is well accepted.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        You've both whetted my appetite for this so, if I have time, I'm going to make it for tomorrow (though I'm terribly behind!).

              2. I made this yesterday to put on the Thanksgiving table tomorrow. It tastes very good, and I think will be a terrific addition. One of my guests can't have cranberry sauce or gravy. I'm hoping this will go well as the, sort of, wet thing for her and I'm sure other people will like it, too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mirage

                  Happy Cooking, Happy Eating, and Happy Thanksgiving, fellow hounds!