Fruit compotes are my go-to in many scenarios but especially for these two in particular: 1) overly ripe fruit and 2) super tart fruit.
I have this thing with currants, a sort of annual love affair. I go to the farmers market in mid July, I see them sitting there in their eye-catching aqua cardboard pint dangling from their delicate little stems, and I develop a case of the gimmies. I'm all business with the other fruits and veggies; I purchase what's on my list and stick to it. But the currants. Oh, the currants. They get me every time. I think it's a food blogger thing. I see them and delusions of grandeur erode my memory and sensibilities. I immediately start picturing cakes and custards (<--avert your eyeballs for that first photo, it's an overexposed, nearly-neon doozy from two years back) artfully strewn with currants.
This would be all well and fine, except each and every time I succumb to their charm, this pattern of events shortly follows: I get them home, I eagerly rip them out of my bag, and politely pop a
ladylike heaping handful into my mouth. And in an instant, a vivid case of mouth-puckering, face-contorting déjà vu washes over me.
If you've never tasted a handful of raw currants, give it whirl sometime. They are TART. In a loud and chaotic sort of way. And I like sour things. However, I realized last Tuesday (after my annual currant occurrence) that with a little taming, a splash of something sweet, and a bit of simmer time, their flavor can shine.
It was this Colorado breakfast that offered the inspiration to make a compote out of black currants. The resort we stayed at for our friends' seriously stunning/gorgeous/life-changing wedding had the most delicious lingonberry and huckleberry jams nestled into their whimsical breakfast spread every morning, and I fell in love with the both of them. The lingonberry jam was tart but balanced with just the right amount of sweetness, and I figured if lingonberries can find balance, so can currants.
With a generous splash of maple syrup and 10 minutes of simmer time, my pint of black currants transformed into a tart but also perfectly sweetened compote. I didn't intend to share this recipe on the blog, but I was so happy with the simplicity and flavor that I couldn't help myself. In addition to currants, I also have a soft spot for shockingly simple dishes that taste extraordinary solely because they're made with ripe, seasonal ingredients. There's something a little magical about food like that, don't you think?
To make this more of a recipe, I swirled the compote into a bowl of coconut yogurt and topped it with fresh blueberries. I also slathered it on some tiny homemade spelt rolls with a little pat of coconut oil. After I snapped the photos, I added sliced white nectarines, sliced plums, and a sprinkling of granola, and I recommend that you add all of those things too. The best of July's sweet produce all in one place. <3
Black Currant Compote Breakfast Bowl
Black Currant Compote
- 1 pint black currants, washed and destemmed
- ⅓ cup filtered water
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or to taste
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 ripe plums, pitted and sliced
- 1 ripe nectarine, pitted and sliced
- sprinkling of granola
Black Currant Compote
- In a medium saucepan, combine black currants, filtered water, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the currants have broken down into a sauce. Let cool.
- In two small bowls, divide the coconut yogurt and top with the black currant compote. If desired, use the pointy end of a chopstick or a toothpick to swirl the compote into yogurt. Add additional toppings.
lynsey | lynseylovesfood says
this is beautiful. i also get the same kind of gimmes when i see currants. totally making this. xo
Thanks, Lynsey! I'm relieved to hear that I'm not the only one with a case of the currant gimmies. I swear it's a combination between their pearly looks and those aqua cardboard pints; gets me every time. I hope you enjoy the compote! :)
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Well I'm on a mission to get my hands on some black currents now!
Haha, get 'em, Rebecca! :)
Celeste Jackson says
So pretty and tempting....I never knew there was a coconut yogurt...silly me. Where are they hiding this?
You can find it in grocery stores near the dairy-based yogurts and/or you can make it at home from coconut milk and probiotics. :)
Casey @ Casey the College Celiac says
I'll admit I've never tasted a currant before, but this recipe makes me want to! Looks absolutely stunning - both in the pictures and the flavor profile. YUM!
Nichole Kraft, Food Writing Copyeditor says
That is some seriously gorgeous compote, Ashley! Wow! I love that the sugar content is lower than a lot of other compotes and jams. (I was watching Food Network just yesterday and the cook added 3 cups of refined sugar to 3 pints of strawberries!)
Unfortunately, I don't think we can get currants where we live. But I do buy up packages of fresh cranberries in the fall and freeze them. Do you think this recipe would work for cranberries? I always make homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, but it's higher in sugar than I prefer for everyday eating, and I'd love to find a way to use the extra bags I have stowed away in the freezer before the fresh ones come back this fall.
Thanks, Nichole! That is INSANE that they added 3 cups of sugar to 6 cups of berries. Even the tartest strawberries don't deserve that kind of treatment!
Totally understand not being able to locate currants where you live. You could definitely try making this with cranberries or another tart berry. Better yet, if you're looking for a more holiday-like cranberry sauce, try the one from this power bowl. It's simple, lower on sugar than most cranberry sauces, and has warming spices to keep the flavors interesting. It's one of my favorites!
This looks gorgeous! Where do you find unsweetened coconut yogurt? I always find kinds with added sugars. Thanks!
Tried it with red currents. Awesome.
So glad you enjoyed it, Alison! Thanks for taking time out of your day to come back and share your thoughts and rating—means so much. :)
Searching for a non-refined sugar compote version, I found your recipe! I now have the answer to what to do with my 2 full black currant bushes. Thank you!
Oh wonderful. Hope you enjoy the recipe, Ciel! And how fun to have two bushes worth of currants. Happy cooking!