Summer berries are whiz-bang beautiful right up until they aren’t. At overripe, they can still taste as good or even better, though, which is why industrious cooks get out pie plates and jam pots and simmer for hours.
Here’s a quick alternative: Make a compote. Three other ingredients and low heat will help most of the fruit keep its shape while its juices form a rich-looking, barely sweet sauce you can spoon over just about anything.
Who knew warming spices could make such a cool dish?
Berry and Spice Compote
Servings: 4 to 8 (makes 1½ cups)
MAKE AHEAD: The compote can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Serve with a whipped cream-Greek yogurt mixture and/or granola.Ingredients:1 pound mixed fresh berries3 tablespoons dark brown sugarOne 3-inch cinnamon stick2 whole star aniseMethod:Combine the berries, dark brown sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise in a heavy pot over low heat. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the fruit has started to break down but still retains some shape. (You don’t want something that looks like jam.) Discard the cinnamon stick and star anise.
Nutrition: Per serving, based on 8: 40 calories, 0 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugar
Source: Recipe adapted from The Ginger & White Cookbook, by Tonia George, Emma Scott and Nicholas Scott (Mitchell Beazley, 2014).