David Lebovitz said I should put gin in my blueberry compote. So I did.
In the headnote of his recipe, Lebovitz writes, “…Gin’s herbaceous flavor does indeed marry nicely with blueberries–it can hardly be tasted once cooked, but somehow it just rounds out the blueberry notes…”
I was immediately sold. I took out a saucepan, set it on the stove, and proceeded to make what is now my favorite fruit-based “condiment” of the summer (I imagine another similar summer berry, such as a blackberry, could be substituted for the blueberry).
Cooking the blueberries helped bring out that intense deep blue color and concentrated the flavor, giving off a quintessential blueberry smell. The texture of the berries changed, too, leaving the sometimes-mushy consistency of a fresh blueberry behind and highlighting a blueberry that bursts and oozes a juicy filling instead. Nature’s gushing candy!
Toss blueberries in a pot with a little sugar and a little gin and cook the mix for just a few minutes until the blueberries soften and begin to release their juices.
That’s the shorthand version of the recipe. 3 ingredients. 1 pot. 5 minutes.
Serve chilled, room temperature, or slightly warm. I have been enjoying the compote with a generous scoop of plain yogurt, and spooned atop pancakes. It would also pair well with: oatmeal, ice cream, cake, nut-butter toast.
Blueberry Compote (with gin!)
from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert; makes about 2 cups
*When I made the compote, I had slightly under 2 cups of blueberries. I ended up eyeballing the sugar and gin to about 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 heaping spoon of gin. If you feel comfortable eyeballing to taste, go for it. The proportions listed below are the original ones used in Lebovitz’s book.
- 2 1/2 cups (12 ounces/340g) fresh blueberries (or frozen)
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) gin (I used Hendrick’s Gin)
Combine the blueberries, sugar, and gin in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries just begin to soften and release their juices. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, and let cool to room temperature. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar, if desired.
Storage: This compote can be stored in a jar or tupperware the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This compote is actually better when prepared a day in advance, which gives it time to thicken nicely.
Variation: If you do not want to use gin, you can substitute water and a good squeeze of lemon juice.