Thursday, November 18, 2010

Special Spicy Cranberry Pear Compote

Cranberries are a native North American fruit which the Algonquin people referred to as Sassamanash or "bitter berry". The health supportive properties of cranberries are legendary; stories about the Pilgrims claim that they were saved from vitamin C deficiency when the native population introduced them to the fruit.

In this easy recipe the combination of aromatic spices, fruit and honey sweetens and mellows the bitter berry without drowning it in too much sugar. Choose very ripe pears for optimal flavor; golden raisins add another dimension of subtle sweetness.

It takes only minutes to assemble and cook this dish which will perfume your kitchen with a delightful fragrance. Plan on preparing the compote at least a few hours before serving as its flavors and sweetness continue to develop as it cools.

3 cups whole cranberries
2 - 3 ripe pears, peeled & diced
1 apple, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, very finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch sea salt
1 cup organic apple juice or water
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon grated orange peel

Place all ingredients except honey and orange peel in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat immediately and simmer gently for 5 - 10 minutes until pears and apple are soft, adding a little more juice or water if necessary. Stir in honey and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add orange peel, and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before tasting to correct seasoning. Store in clean glass jars in fridge for several days. Best served at room temperature.