|Place of origin||France|
|Serving temperature||Warm or chilled|
|Main ingredients||Fruit, sugar syrup, spices|
Compote (French for "mixture") is a dessert originating from 17th-century France made of whole or pieces of fruit in sugar syrup. Whole fruits are cooked in water with sugar and spices. The syrup may be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon sticks or powder, cloves, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit, or raisins. The compote is served either warm or cold.
The French invented compote believing that fruit cooked in sugar syrup balanced the effects of humidity on the body. The name is derived from the French word compote, meaning mixture. Compote was originally served as an afternoon snack with sour cream and biscuits. During the Renaissance, it was served chilled at the end of dinner. Kompot – made from the juice and syrup rather than the fresh – remains a popular drink made from homegrown fruit such as rhubarb, plum, sour cherry or gooseberries in Poland.
Compote may have been a descendant of a Byzantine dessert.
Because it was easy to prepare, made from inexpensive ingredients and contained no dairy products, compote became a staple of Jewish households throughout Europe and was considered part of Jewish cuisine.
The dessert may be topped with whipped cream, cinnamon, or vanilla sugar. Other preparations consist of using dried fruits which have been soaked in water in which alcohol can be added, for example kirsch, rum, or Frontignan.
- Food and Drink in Medieval Poland. Rediscovering a Cuisine of the Past. Page 153 – Recipe for pear and fig kompot originating from Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, 960A.D-1453A.D., the predecessor of the Ottoman Empire
- Be Merry / A taste of Poland, Haaretz
- Robuchon, Joël, "Members of the Gastronomic Committee". Larousse Gastronomique. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2001, p. 322-323.