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Cherry compote

Even though it was almost 20 years ago, my mouth still waters when I remember my first taste of great Santa Maria barbecue. I was meandering up the 5 Freeway on my way north. It was lunchtime, and for some ... Read more

Total time: 30 minutes, plus standing and cooling time | Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 1/2 pounds cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 clove
  • 1 allspice
  • 1 (1 1/2 -inch) stick cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Step 1Stir together the cherries and the sugar in a large bowl and set aside until the cherries have begun to release their juices, 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the red wine and set aside an additional 15 minutes to give the cherries time to absorb it.

Step 2Place the clove, allspice and cinnamon on a small sheet of cheesecloth, pull it into a bundle and tie it closed with twine. Place in a wide nonstick skillet and add the cherry mixture.

Step 3Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid from the cherries begins to thicken, 7 to 10 minutes. You'll know the liquid is thickening when it starts to gather on the side of a spoon, rather than running off quickly.

Step 4When the liquid has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Cool to room temperature. Remove the spice bag before serving. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

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