Richly flavored with warm spices, vanilla, and a bit of orange, this apple compote is absolutely dreamy on top of everything from pancakes and french toast to ice cream.
Fancy-sounding dishes that are secretly super easy to make are totally my jam.
Whipped cherry butter looks so beautiful on your table but comes together in just minutes. Cranberry brie bites always impress guests but are made with just 3 ingredients. And this apple compote sounds fancy but takes almost no effort to make.
WHAT IS APPLE COMPOTE?
The name “apple compote” sure sounds fancy, doesn’t it? It always sounds like something that would be served with a dessert at a fancy restaurant.
But the truth is that fruit compotes are actually really simple!
A compote is simply fruit that has been stewed in sugar or syrup. Compotes can be made with all kinds of fruit – berries, stone fruits, and even dried fruits can be turned into a compote.
Besides being made from all kinds of fruits, they’re super versatile when it comes to how to serve them. They’re not just for breakfast or dessert; you can serve them alongside savory dishes, too.
This apple compote is made with diced apples, a little bit of brown sugar, warm spices, and a bit of orange for some additional depth of flavor. It is so easy to make and you’ll love the way the spices and citrus complement the tartness of the apples.
Apple compote vs. applesauce
Wondering what the difference is between apple compote and applesauce?
Although they seem similar, they actually are two different dishes.
In applesauce, water is often added when cooking down the apples, which are later pureed for a smooth texture. It is also common to make unsweetened applesauce, although you can definitely add sugar to it based on your personal preference.
In apple compote, however, water is not added to the apples. The apples are also note pureed, so the compote has a “chunky” texture. And unlike applesauce, sugar is pretty much a requirement for it to be a compote based on the definition of the word.
HOW TO MAKE APPLE COMPOTE
Like I said before – even though the name “apple compote” sounds fancy, this recipe is super simple to make. In fact, I bet you’ll find yourself looking for reasons to make it on a regular basis!
Ingredients you’ll need
Apple compote is made with just a handful of ingredients.
Apples: I recommend using tart apples. Granny smith, golden delicious, and pink lady apples are all good choices. You’ll need 2 pounds of apples and will need to peel and core them, then dice them into ½-inch pieces.
Light brown sugar: Brown sugar adds some depth of flavor to the compote. We’ll just just ½ cup; we don’t want the compote to be so sweet that we lose the tart flavor of the apples. If you are out of brown sugar, learn how to make a brown sugar substitute.
Apple pie spice: A lot of apple compote recipes just use ground cinnamon, but I like to use my apple pie spice instead. The ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice all pair well with the flavor of the apples and give the compote that “special something.”
Citrus: A little bit of lemon juice adds some much-needed acidity to the recipe, and orange juice gives the compote some added depth of flavor. I also like to add orange zest, but that is optional.
Vanilla: You know how I feel about vanilla. It is a must in nearly every sweet recipe for me! You can use your favorite store-bought vanilla or homemade vanilla extract.
Making this recipe
Add all of the ingredients except for the vanilla to a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat.
Cook, stirring frequently, for about 30-40 minutes. The compote is done cooking when the apples have softened but still retain most of their shape and the juices have thickened and become syrupy.
Remove the apple compote from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
And that’s it! See, I told you it was easy.
The best thing about apple compote is how versatile it is. You can serve it warm or cold, so it’s great for making ahead of time.
You can also serve it with so many different dishes.
For an afternoon snack, serve it over your favorite vanilla yogurt. Add a sprinkle of granola for some crunch!
Don’t forget how well apples pair with pork, so you can even serve it on top of pork chops or a roasted pork tenderloin.
STORAGE & MAKE-AHEAD TIPS
Store apple compote in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Since it can be stored for a few days and served cold, you can absolutely make it a day or two ahead of when you plan to serve it.
If you wish to reheat your compote, you can do so for 30-60 seconds in the microwave or over low heat on the stove.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Just keep in mind that the freezing and thawing process may cause the apples to break down a bit more, so they may not retain as much of their shape after thawing.
No matter how you serve it, apple compote is one delicious kitchen staple that you’ll find yourself making again and again!
- Add the diced apples, brown sugar, apple pie spice, orange juice, orange zest, and lemon juice to a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 30-40 minutes or until the apples have softened but still retain most of their shape and the juices have thickened into a syrupy consistency.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Serve warm or chilled over pancakes, waffles, french toast, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.