Like apple pie, that's what this tastes like. Cinnamon apple compote is an easy, delicious fall recipe and a good multitasker. Serve it to top overnight oats, cooked oatmeal, steel cut oats, or add to plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream for dessert. Make it in under 20 minutes and enjoy it warm or cool. It's so good you might want to make a double batch.
Cinnamon Apple Compote
First, what is a compote? It's a chunky fruit spread cooked with sugar and other flavorings. In comparison, jams are more spreadable and broken down. Usually there is a little spice involved, some recipes add sugar syrup or thickeners, even a splash of a liqueur.
A fruit compote recipe can be made with almost any fruit, but for fall I wanted an 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.
Apple options for Apple Compote
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.
How to Make Cinnamon Apple Compote
Start by 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 quarter inch wide. Next, chop each slice into medium to small pieces. One large apple should give you about 2 cups of diced apple and enough to serve 6 people.
Cook the diced apple in a little coconut oil (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.
How to Enjoy Cinnamon Apple Compote
Enjoy this compote warm, or cool completely and refrigerate tightly covered for about 5 days. Serve it over breakfast oats, yogurt or vanilla ice cream. As pork and fruit is a natural combination, try this with a roast pork or pork tenderloin.
I started with only 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to keep the sugar down, but added a second one for a sweeter compote. To additional sweetness without the sugar use monk fruit or try this sugar-free syrup keto maple syrup replacement.
A Lesson on Vanilla: Vanilla Paste vs. Vanilla Extract
Can I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla paste in this recipe? Yes, they are interchangeable in equal amounts in cinnamon apple compote. If you love vanilla (like I do), get yourself some vanilla paste to work with. I have extract, paste and ground vanilla bean in my pantry and I use them all.
What is the difference between vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract? Vanilla paste has a thicker, almost syrupy consistency, with lovely flecks of vanilla bean and more concentrated vanilla flavor. Paste is also more heat resistant than extracts in cooking or baking. A little paste goes a long way and it's easy to use.
- 1 ½ teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 large Honeycrisp (or other) apple finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup start with 1, add second if desired
- 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 vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon extract
- 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 and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks.