I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!
So ... how is Christmas creeping up on YOU ? For the folks here in the grey cottage, Christmas is coming on slowly. We have begun to contemplate the whole Advent Season by quietly bringing in some greens from the forest out back of the cottage, cleaning the candlesticks so that they gleam, bringing a wreath home from some friends who run a wreath and garland-making business up North (who had snow!), and tying a pretty bow and bulb clusters to it, putting some lights on a tree that we hauled out of the woods and propped up in the whiskey barrel planter that's out front of the cottage, and inviting friends in for a Sunday brunch after our church's first Advent service.
When SB mentioned having a brunch, I was tempted to have a coffee and sweets buffet instead of a brunch, but the need to keep nutrition front and center in our lives won out over the holiday rush to sugar and sweetness. We opted for a vegetable strata, sausage and peppers, strips of bacon, cinnamon and sugar buttermilk muffins, and fruit compote with softly whipped cream, mulled cider, and coffee. It was easy,delish, and it hit all the food groups.
The hit of the brunch was the fruit compote, though. This spicy bowl of fruit was not as sugary as other compotes that I've had. It relied on the natural sugars in the pears and apples, two tablespoons of brown sugar and two teaspoons of honey. The fruit juices blended with these sweet additions and a half cup of white wine and voila ...
After a short time simmering over very low heat, the compote became a softly sweet bowl of fruit with a smooth spicy sauce. With a dollop of whipped cream over top, it was the perfect way to begin celebrating the Christmas season of treats ... to boot, it is not terrifically high in calories. Calories saved for the Christmas cookies that will be coming along soon enough!
Thank-you, Millie and Hamp, EH and Cindy and Skip for such beautiful wreaths!
Spicy Fruit Compote
4 -5 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces
¾ c. dried cranberries
1 c. semi-dry white wine
2 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange zest
2 tsp. honey
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
- Place the wine, brown sugar, honey, and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Add the Granny Smith apple and let the apple simmer for about five minutes.
- Add the rest of the fruit and stir in the spices. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the Cortlands and pears are just tender.
- Turn the heat off under the pan, cover and let the compote sit for an hour to allow the spices and orange zest to strengthen in flavour and the dried cranberries to soften completely.
- Whip some heavy cream and add a very small amount of sugar- just enough to give a hint of sweetness.
- Serve the compote warm with a dollop of whipped cream at the side of the dish.
Note: This compote is fantastic over top buttermilk pancakes in lieu of maple syrup.
Have fun hanging your stockings, everyone! Thanks for your friendship this year!