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Dried Cherry Compote with Shortbread and Mascarpone

Sugary desserts often overwhelm dry reds like Bordeaux, but this dish is so subtly sweet it almost doubles as a cheese course. The mascarpone's creaminess smooths out the wine's tannins; the compote and shortbread echo its hints of cherry and anise.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dried sour cherries (3 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, salt and anise seeds. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Using a fork, blend in the egg yolk. Gather the dough together and transfer it to a baking sheet. Press it to form a 6-inch round that's 1 inch thick. Using the blunt edge of a knife, mark 8 wedges.
  2. Bake the shortbread for about 35 minutes, until the dough is pale brown around the edge. While the shortbread is still warm, using a serrated knife, cut it into 8 wedges. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small saucepan, simmer the wine with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the dried sour cherries, cover and simmer until they're plump, about 4 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Dollop the mascarpone into bowls. Spoon the cherry compote on top and serve with the shortbread.

Suggested Pairing

A Bordeaux from the Pessac-Léognan or Graves region.

Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published February 2008

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