Cherry compote


Three jars of cherry compote

When fresh cherries are available I just love to make some fresh compote. It is so much fruitier than most shop bought compotes and it goes with so many things. A lightly set compote is superb on porridge or stirred into yoghurt. Of course, a spoonful or two with some whipped cream on top of pannkakor (pancakes) or våfflor (waffles) is hard to beat. John Duxbury


Recipe summary for cherry compote


• Stone the cherries in a large bowl to avoid being squirted with cherry juice!

Cherry stoner

• Stoning cherries is much easier if you use a cherry stoner. They are available quite cheaply from good kitchen shops.
• Don’t be tempted to boil the compote for more than 6 minutes without doing a "saucer test". It is better to end up with a lightly set compote than one that is overset.
• If you are new to jam making I recommend checking out our Top Tips for homemade jam.


350 g (12 oz) cherries (stoned weight)
350 g (12 oz) jam sugar
¼ tsp   butter, if necessary


A bowl of pitted cherries

1. Rinse and stone the cherries and then quarter or halve them.

Cherries macerating in jam sugar

2. Tip the stoned cherries into a saucepan, add the sugar and stir thoroughly. (If you have time, leave the cherries to macerate for an hour or so, as it makes it easier to heat the mixture without burning.)

Cherries being heated in a saucepan

3. Heat the mixture over a moderate heat, stirring continuously, to avoid the sugar burning. When all the sugar has melted increase the heat and bring to the boil.

4. Boil steadily, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, for 3 minutes for a runny consistency or up to 6 minutes for a firmer set.

5. Remove from the heat, wait 5 minutes and then remove the scum from the surface with a slotted spoon. If there is still some scum left, add a small amount of butter (¼ teaspoon) and stir thoroughly as this helps to dissolve any remaining scum.

6. Wait another 15 minutes and then pour into a jar or a serving dish.

Larger quantities

• You can make larger quantities if you have a preserving pan. Use equal quantities of stoned cherries and jam sugar, but make sure you use a big pan otherwise the mixture will boil over. (The largest batch I can make with my preserving pan is 1.2 kg (3 lb) of cherries and 1.2 kg (3 lb) of jam sugar.)
• You will need some sterilised jars. Sterilise them by washing and drying them, then put them in an oven at 140ºC (275ºF, gas 1, fan 130ºC) for 10 minutes.

Adding vanilla

Swedes sometimes add vanilla to cherry compote, but I think this is only worth doing if you are making a 1 kg batch. If you want to add some vanilla, simply slice a vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds and add them to the cherries. Cut the sticks into short lengths and add these to the cherries as well. You can remove the sticks before pouring into jars or you can leave them in for added interest.


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