If anything’s gonna top sweet, ripe berries as a summertime dessert, it’s a dessert topping made from sweet, ripe summer berries. Whole fruit Berry Compote is the perfect way to use a medley of your favorites – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and more – to create a flavorful sauce that’s perfect for ice creams, custards, pancakes, waffles, and more!
I’m a pretty handy woman. And I don’t often get jealous of other people’s things (or lives, for that matter) but I saw the most impressive root cellar recently and I am now contemplating a secret DIY plan to dig a secret pit for secret canned goods that, let’s face it, I’ll never actually get around to canning, but maybe I would! Who knows?!? Don’t tell me what I can’t do!
Sigh. It won’t happen. I’m pretty sure the HOA would boot us anyway. And, as I mentioned, am I REALLY going to get into preserved foods? I mean, I’m really into eating preserved foods, but I am also busy and somewhat lazy.
I do think about them all the time though… soppressatas dangling from the ceiling, jars of pickled vegetables, jars of jams and jellies, jerkies and dried beans, baskets of beautiful beets and potatoes. See? Now you’re like “Heck yeah, I want one too!”
Here’s a secret through – we can all settle for a few small comforts to tide us over.
Like compote – not quite jam, not quite sauce. A sweet (literally and figuratively) spot in-between that’s like a dessert on top of a dessert. It doesn’t require the precision and technique of other fruit preserves (though it can be preserved as well), plus it retains that super big, bold flavor of fresh summer berries for immediate satisfaction.
And immediate satisfaction you shall have! I find after one batch I’m simply too excited to think about canning any of it. Any dreams of threatening the structural integrity of my property by digging a cellar simply melt away like creamy vanilla ice cream under a drizzle of warm berry compote… mmmmm.
What is Berry Compote?
Compote is a sweet fruit topping made by cooking whole berries in a sugar syrup. It’s traditionally made without the aid of additional thickeners, thereby keeping the consistency more sauce-like rather than spreadable.
Which Berries Should I Use?
Any and all berries work for this recipe, as long as they’re ripe (frozen berries work too, though! Scroll to the FAQ section for more details).
How to Make Berry Compote
Not quite a jam, not yet a jelly. Berry Compote is a fruit topping made from ripe summer berries that can be used on any number of sweet treats, from ice cream to waffles. Slow-simmer your favorite summer berries in a simple syrup – with just a touch of citrus – until you have a gorgeous whole fruit sauce. Serve warm.
For a condensed post, click to view the web story for this berry compote recipe.
- Rinse your berries in a colander, then shake to dry. Hull strawberries and coarsely chop.
- Combine the berries with sugar, water, vanilla, and citrus peel in large sauce pot and stir together.
- Heat on high until the liquid bubbles, then reduce to medium/medium-low to maintain a steady simmer.
- Simmer for 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally, until berries soften and break down.
- Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.
- This recipe works best with very ripe berries – those berries that will probably be too soft the next day (or are too soft already)? Use those! They’ll have the perfect amount of sweetness from natural sugars.
- The cook time will vary based on the berries you use and how ripe they are. If the compote is too watery, don’t be afraid to cook a few more minutes until it thickens.
- The compote will thicken a bit more as it cools.
- The lemon peel is optional, but recommended. (1) the pectin in the peel will act as a natural thickener; and (2) it will impart a subtle lemon flavor that gives the compote so much more depth.
How to Use Berry Compote
Compote actually originated as a standalone dessert in Medieval times (so feel free to eat it with a spoon to honor your ancestors) but over time – presumably as, you know, desserts were invented – it took hold as a topping.
- As a sauce to top ice cream or custards
- With fresh ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey
- Stirred into Greek yogurt with granola
- As a topping for pancakes or waffles
Can I Use Frozen Berries?
Yes! There’s no need to defrost the berries first, but you’ll need to add 1-2 minutes to the cook time.
Can I Freeze Leftover Compote?
Yes! Both freezing and canning are great options for long-term storage.
How to Thicken Berry Compote?
There are two ways to thicken the compote – lemon peel contains pectin, which is a natural thickener. Alternatively, you can use a cornstarch slurry if a fresh lemon isn’t available. Warning though – use just a small amount of thickener – we’re not making jam! Whisk 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp water until smooth. Pour the slurry into the compote after it has broken down and simmer 1-2 minutes, or until thickened to your desired texture.
More Recipes Using Fresh Berries
- Strawberry Bruschetta
- Gluten-Free Blueberry Cobbler
- Strawberry Cucumber Salad with Basil and Mint
- Cantaloupe Salad with Raspberries and Honey Lemon Dressing
- Plus, sweet and tart flavored Homemade Lemonades with fresh berries
Did you make this mixed berry compote? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
Simple Berry CompotePrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 lb berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), if using strawberries, hull and chop
- ¼ c sugar, or 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 lemon peel, optional, but helps with thickening
- Combine the berries, sweetener, water, vanilla extract, and lemon peel in a large sauce pot. Stir to combine.
- Heat over a high flame until the liquid begins to bubble; reduce to medium/medium-low heat to maintain a steady simmer.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12-14 minutes, or until the berries soften then fall apart and the compote thickens.
- Cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 1 cup.
- Substitute orange juice for water and omit the lemon juice for a slightly sweeter compote with fewer tart notes
- Substitute almond extract for vanilla extract