The practice of preserving apples by cooking them down in some sugared water with a little lemon juice or vinegar to make sweet and savory chunky compote or smooth sauces with apples dates back to medieval times in Europe.
Various apples sweet to tart can be used and additional fresh and dried fruits can be added. The flavor profile can be altered even more depending on the you prefer and how you plan to serve the compote or applesauce… whether as a side dish to compliment pork as a snack for kid or adults or even as a dessert or topping. Chunky compote can be used as a pie tart filling to a pie or drizzled over some vanilla ice cream as a topping.
Making apple Pear Compote
Apple compote be made with ease while at home or while camping. If you have fruits on hand that need to be consumed or tossed, why not perk the fruit up into a compote or chunky sauce, creating a side dish, snack or dessert that will hold up well for about 5 days when covered and refrigerated.
Which apples should you use for your apple compote?
There are a variety of apples sweet to tart that make a good tasting compote. A good rule of thumb is to choose a mix of two or three varieties.
Very Sweet to Mildly Sweet
- Golden Delicious
- Crispin (aka Mutsu)
Sweet and Tangy
- McIntosh (cooks down very easily so will be slightly more watery)
- Cripps Pink (aka Pink Lady)
Tart and Tangy
- Granny Smith
Apple type to avoid
* Red Delicious (save those for slicing or eating whole rather than cooking or baking)
- If you’d like your applesauce to have a pretty pink color, pick a red variety as one of your choices, and don’t peel ahead of time — strain out the peels once cooked.
In the recipe that follows I used ingredients I had on hand: Fuji apples, a few pears, dried cranberries and an orange along with a little acidity of the vinegar, some cinnamon and sugar. The beauty of making this compote is that you can easily substitute or combine the fruit and varietal of fruit: apples, pears and dried fruits: figs, cranberries, cherries, raisins, apricots etc.
Other substitutes that can be made are: using a few squeezes of lemon juice rather than vinegar and experiment with different spices added to the dish like roasted garlic, red chili pepper etc.
I prepared the compote on the stovetop of the RV Galley but you could prepare the dish using a heavy pot on an outdoor grill, use a slow cooker if you are going to be out and about on a hike or make this in an Instant Pot if you have that onboard.
Apple Pear Compote
Makes 4 – 5 servings
2 Fuji apples, rinsed, peeled and cored
3 pears, rinsed, peeled and cored
1/4 cup dried cranberries
zest of an orange
sugar to taste ( 1/8 – 1/2 cup)
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon (or a few pinches of red chili peppers)
juice of a lemon or 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 – 1 cup water (or substitute apple juice or apple cider)
1 tsp vanilla
Diced apples and pears ready to cook down
Apple pear mixture cooking down on stove
- Rinse fruit, peel, core and dice in 1″ pieces.
- Place prepared fruit, water, sugar and vinegar or lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir fruit intermittently and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue stirring for a few minutes then lower the heat to simmer.
- Add spices.
- Stir as needed for 20 – 25 minutes until fruit has softened and water is mostly absorbed.
- Add dried fruit and zest of an orange. Cook for another 5 minutes. Stir as needed.
- Off heat, stir in vanilla.
- Serve warm or cold.
- Cover and refrigerate leftovers and enjoy over the next few days.
Spray interior of ceramic pot with baking spray. Cook the ingredients in a Crock Pot as above. Place the crockpot on low for 6 hours.
Place the ingredients as listed above in the stainless steel liner of the Instant pot. Close lid and steam vent. Cook an manual 2 minutes then Natural release for 5 minutes then intermittent Quick release bursts. To break the compote down further if needed. Turn the IP on saute’ and stir until desired consistency is reached.