Plums and star anise form a brilliant and novel pairing. Although you don't eat it, we like to leave the star anise in the syrup because it looks so beautiful; you can remove it if you prefer. Serve the compote with pound cake or butter cookies. Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
Variations You can use red wine instead of white. Add several strips of orange zest to the saucepan along with the star anise.
To help keep the plums submerged, create a "lid" from parchment paper. Just cut out a round that's the size of the saucepan with a hole in the middle to allow steam to escape. Put the parchment on top of the liquid, so it keeps the plums submerged as much as possible. To be certain that the plums poach evenly, turn them halfway through the cooking.