My mother got the original recipe for this compote from a coworker, and it quickly became a family favorite. Over the years, I have tinkered with the ingredients. To dress it up, I top it with a luscious sauce made with mas- carpone. A thick, slightly tangy Italian-style cream cheese, mascarpone is my first choice, but you can substitute crème fraîche or sour cream with delicious results. Any leftover compote can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. Serve it on hot cereal, pancakes, or waffles for breakfast or on sliced pound cake for dessert. Serves 10 to 12 •3½ cups sweet wine, such as Asti Spumante or Moscato, or apple juice •½ cup sugar •1 cup halved dried apricots •1 cup dried figs •1 cup pitted prunes •1 cup muscat or golden raisins •1 cup dried cranberries •½ cup dried pitted cherries •1 cinnamon stick •1 3-inch strip orange zest •Sauce •4 ounces mascarpone (½ cup)
1–2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar •1 tablespoon dark rum •About ½ cup heavy cream In a large slow cooker, combine the wine and sugar and stir well. Add the dried fruits, cinnamon, and orange zest. If necessary, add enough water so that the fruits are just covered with liquid. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or until the fruits are tender. Let cool slightly. Discard the cin- namon stick and orange zest. Make the sauce: Whisk together the mascarpone, sugar to taste, and rum. Gradually beat in the heavy cream until smooth. Serve the fruit in goblets, drizzled with the sauce.
The Mediterranean Slow Cooker
By Alan Richardson and Michele Scicolone