Over the last few weeks I’ve become increasingly annoyed by the number of people talking about summer drawing to a close, the fall catalogs piling up at my door, and Halloween candy appearing in the grocery store. I wanted to scream, “No, summer is not over! There’s tons of summer left!” But now that August is almost over and Harvard Square is suddenly getting a lot more crowded with students returning, I’m starting to begin to come to terms with the fact that summer is coming to a close. Yes, I am almost ready to bring myself out of denial. But not yet, because it’s still summer, dang it. And as much as I love fall, it’s followed by another season that in Boston involves a lot of a certain four letter word that I refuse to think about now.
Cherries are one of my favorite things about summer and I usually just eat them straight up. And as much as I really, really love fresh, unadulterated cherries, I suddenly feel like an expiration date is drawing near on my supply and it’s been inspiring me to do more than just pop them in my mouth. I started off with the cherry almond muffins, and with Jessica and Adam visiting us last weekend, I knew I wanted to try something else with cherries. Adam loves cherries almost as much as I do and we have a family tradition of Belgian waffle brunches, so cherry compote seemed like the perfect, well, cherry on top.
Settling on the idea of cherry compote was easy, but finding the perfect recipe proved harder. I finally narrowed it down between one that was more almond-laced and one that was accented with lime. I was intrigued by both, but was still riding the high from the cherry-almond combo from the muffins that I just decided to continue in that vein. I really wanted to use sour cherries, but wasn’t able to find them, so sweet cherries it was.
I still want to try the lime cherry compote, but let me tell you, the almond cherry compote is frickin’ amazing. It’s rich and it’s lush and it’s hard not to just stick a spoon in there and eat it straight up. But since I had made it for company, well, I kind of had to save some for them. We actually had it for brunch twice. First with popovers and then with the Belgian waffles two days later. It was fantastic on both. It would also be great on ice cream, on a baguette with some goat cheese, on a simple pound cake, and um, straight out of the bowl. Basically, this cherry compote would be great on a great number of things and you need to make it before cherries are gone!
Cherry Compote #
Adapted from Cooking Light
4 cups pitted sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Combine the cherries, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cornstarch and stir for another minute. Mash the mixture lightly with a potato masher or fork to break some of the cherries up a little bit. Remove from heat and stir in the extract. Cool. Compote will keep in the fridge for about a week.