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Blackberry apple compote

Mark can't seem to make enough of this really delicious, slightly addictive compote. Once a jar has been opened in his house, it tends to appear on the table every breakfast time until it's gone. The mix can become very thick if you overcook it - something he does frequently - but he's starting to prefer it that way. Even when thick, it doesn't seem like a jam, as the low sugar content ensures it doesn't become cloying, though that means it won't keep as long as most jams.


Put the sugar into a large pan with 550ml water and stir over a moderate heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon and star anise, then turn up the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce to a simmer.

Add the apples to the pan and cook gently for 5 minutes. Now add the blackberries and simmer until you have a smooth, thick compote. Spoon into several sterilised jars, fishing out the star anise, cinnamon and lemon zest as you go.

Seal the jars and store in a cool, dry place. The compote will keep for a few months but will need to be refrigerated once opened. Serve with yoghurt, with pancakes or drop scones, or in any other way you fancy.


Most fruit will make a fine compote but the berries, blackcurrants, pears, plums and apricots are perhaps the best.

Apple and quince compote is particularly good: use 600g apple and 150g quince.

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  • 250g caster sugar
  • 6 finely pared strips of lemon zest
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 500g cooking or dessert apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 250g blackberries (fresh or frozen)

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Fruit Handbook