Seriously good spiced fruit compote

Serve as it is, or with a dollop of mind-that-waistline mascarpone

  • Prep:25 mins
    Cook:15 mins
    Plus 2 hours chilling
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 380
  • fat 1g
  • saturates 0g
  • carbs 73g
  • sugars 25g
  • fibre 8g
  • protein 5g
  • salt 0.11g


  • 1 bottle (75cl) light, fruity red wine
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 2 vanilla pods, split lengthways
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12-16 black peppercorns
  • 3 large oranges
  • 250g organic dried apricots (or, at least unsulphured)
  • 2 x 200g pkts Merchant Gourmet mi-cuit plums or 400g/14oz Agen prunes
  • 4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 500g tub low-fat fromage frais
  • 6 tsp golden caster sugar


  1. Put all the ingredients, except the fruits, into a large saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, uncovered. Boil the syrup for 5 minutes then remove the pan from the heat.

  2. Top and tail the oranges, then slice off the skin and every scrap of pith, using a small, sharp kitchen knife. Cradle each orange in the palm of your hand, hold it over the saucepan and cut out the segments, letting them drop into the syrup. Squeeze any juice from the debris into the syrup, too, then discard.

  3. Add the apricots and plums to the syrup and return the saucepan to a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer the fruits for 10 minutes. Leave to cool, then chill for at least 2 hours.

  4. Serve the poached fruits just as they are or as a brûlée: whisk the milk into the fromage frais to loosen it a little, then divide the fruits and enough juice to cover them, among six ovenproof ramekins and spoon on the fromage frais, thickly. Dust with caster sugar and then ‘burn’ the sugar with a blow-torch. (Or put the ramekins on a heavy baking sheet, place it under a very hot grill and leave for 1-2 minutes until the sugar has caramelised.)

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