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Red Fruit Compote

Jacques Pépin's chilled compote of quick-stewed plums, Bing cherries and berries in a light wine--and--black currant syrup is a refreshing alternative to summertime pie.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8 to 10

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  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup black currant syrup or crème de cassis
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup good-quality seedless strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 pound red plums, such as Santa Rosa—halved, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 1 pound Bing cherries, pitted
  • 1 large fresh basil sprig
  • 1 pound seedless red grapes, stemmed
  • 1 pound blueberries
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish


  1. In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the white wine with the black currant syrup, orange juice, strawberry jam and orange zest. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the jam.
  2. Add the plums, cherries and basil sprig to the saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over high heat; boil for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the plums and cherries to a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add the grapes to the saucepan and boil for 30 seconds; transfer the grapes to the bowl of fruit. Finally, add the blueberries and strawberries to the saucepan and bring just to a boil. Transfer the berries to the bowl with the slotted spoon.
  3. Drain all of the accumulated juices from the fruit back into the saucepan. Bring the syrup to a boil and simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Pour the reduced syrup over the fruit and let cool. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  4. In a small bowl, blend the sour cream with the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. Remove the basil sprig from the fruit. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the black currant syrup onto each serving plate and spoon the fruit in the center. Garnish each serving with a mint sprig and a dollop of the sweetened sour cream.
Contributed By Photo © Tina Rupp Published August 1996

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