If you love apple pie you'll love this too. Cinnamon apple compote is an easy, delicious fall recipe, and a good multitasker. Make it in 20 minutes. It's so good you might want to make a double batch.
A fruit compote recipe can be made with almost any fruit, but for fall and apple season, use beautiful seasonal apples to make this apple compote. To the apples I've added cinnamon and other warm spices such as nutmeg, allspice and clove for that fall flavor. And while it's cooking, the house smell like you're making apple pie.
❓What is a Compote Made of?
It's a chunky fruit spread cooked with sugar and other flavorings. Is compote just jam?No. Jams are more spreadable and the cooked fruit is more broken down. Compotes are sometimes called stewed fruit.
Fruit compotes, usually have a little spice involved, some recipes add sugar syrup or thickeners, even a splash of a fruit liqueur (optional).
Dietary Tip: I've added chopped walnuts as a twist to this recipe for more flavor and texture, but you can leave them out if nut-allergic. Your yield will be a little less.
- Coconut oil: You need a little fat to cook the apples. Use coconut oil for dairy-free and vegan, or unsalted butter or ghee if allergic to coconut.
- Apple: Many apples will work well. I like Honeycrisp, but there are other terrific options. See the apple notes below.
- Maple syrup: Use the real stuff, dark has the most robust flavor. Don't use the artificially colored and flavored corn syrup.
- Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon is perfect. There are several kinds of cinnamon at the market; Ceylon and Cassia (and blends with no type listed). They both come from the same family of tree, from the bark of the same tree but they taste a little different. I prefer the Ceylon (true cinnamon, softer), while the Cassia (not true cinnamon, bolder) is more common and less expensive. Use what you prefer. Read more about cinnamon here.
- Nutmeg: For the best flavor, use a whole nutmeg and a microplane zester to grate it fine. Whole spices stay fresh longer that ground, so the flavors can be a bit more bold. Alternatively use ground nutmeg or mace (which is part of a nutmeg when it grows. It's more mild. Both work.
- Clove: Here, ground is the easiest to use, and it's potent so a little goes a long way. If you don't have any, buy a small container if you can.
- Allspice: Common in Caribbean cooking, allspice works well in warm spice blends and warmly spiced recipes, and is great with apples.
- Walnuts: Buy the pieces to save money. Whole nuts are more expensive and you're going to chop them up anyway.
- Vanilla: Use either vanilla extract or vanilla paste. As a vanilla lover, I have both vanilla extract and paste in my pantry. For another vanilla paste option try this one, as it comes in smaller sizes.
- Unsweetened coconut: Buy the finely shredded, and if you don't like coconut or are allergic, just skip it.
Vanilla Extract vs. Vanilla Paste
Vanilla paste has a thicker, almost syrupy consistency, with lovely flecks of vanilla bean. It's also a more concentrated vanilla flavor. Paste is 3x the strength of extract so a little goes a long way. Paste is also more heat resistant than extracts in cooking or baking. I use both.
I buy Honeycrisp Apples when I can find them. They have a wonderful sweet-tart flavor and are exceptionally aromatic. If Honeycrisps are not available at your market, choose another sweet or sweet-tart apple variety.
Check out this chart from the Washington Apple Commission for more information on apple varieties.
Choose crisp versus soft apples, as softer apples tend to fall apart with cooking (like for applesauce). Granny Smith, Fuji and Gala apples are other good options. And be sure to choose organic, as apples are always on the Dirty Dozen list.
Many compote apple compote recipes use big chunks of apples. I cut my apples a little smaller, but if you like it chunkier, by all means cut them bigger. Think of it like fancy chunky applesauce.
Start by peeling and chopping a large apple into small pieces. It's easiest to core the apple using an apple corer, then cut the apple in half, lay the halves flat, then slice into wedges about a ¼-inch to a ½-inch wide.
Next, chop each slice into small pieces. One large apple should give you about 2 cups of diced apple and enough to serve 4 people ⅓ of a cup each of the apple compote or a ¼ cup for 6 people.
Cook the diced apple in a little coconut oil (or melted unsalted butter, or neutral oil) until softened, then add the spices, maple syrup, walnuts and a little water. Simmer until the spices are fragrant and the compote is saucy. At the end, stir in your vanilla and the coconut shreds.
Chef's Tip: I started with only 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to keep the sugar down, but added a second one for a sweeter compote. To add sweetness without the sugar, use monk fruit or try this sugar-free syrup keto maple syrup replacement.
🍽How to Enjoy
What goes well with apple compote? Here are ways to use it:
- Serve it over breakfast oats
- To top yogurt or vanilla ice cream for dessert
- Use it with yogurt, a little granola or fresh fruit, and make a layered breakfast parfait for the holidays. Make them ahead.
- Try this apple compote with a roast pork or pork tenderloin. Pork and fruit is a classic combination.
- Serve it with pancakes, waffles, or French toast for a nice upgrade, or a Dutch Baby oven pancake. They are easy, fun, and festive.
Many recipes state up two weeks in the refrigerator. But note, sugar is a preservative and this recipe is lower sugar, unless you prefer it sweeter and add more. For food safety, 5-7 days is safer kept tightly capped and refrigerated.
Enjoy fruit compote hot out of the pan, warm, or cool completely and refrigerate. They all work. The flavors are more pronounced when it's warm.
It's meant to be chunky, not pureed as is a couli or smooth fruit sauce.
❣️More Recipes to Enjoy
Easy Apple Compote
- Small pot or pan
- Apple corer tool is handy
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil or unsalted melted butter
- 1 large Honeycrisp (or other) apple peeled and chopped small
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup see sweetening notes below.
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg or mace
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla paste
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded, unsweetened coconut optional
- In a small (1-2 quart) pan, melt oil over medium low heat. Add apple and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, walnuts and water. Cook, stirring occasionally until compote is thickened. Stir in the vanilla and coconut. Serve warm or cool completely. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks.