Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blackberry Compote

Blackberries are still in abundance, ripening and available at the farmer’s markets (as well as on bushes by the roadside, in parking lots and along sidewalks...I’m seeing them everywhere!). These blackberries call out to me and the desire to make something with them is strong.

I recall seeing a recipe of Heidi Swanson’s (of 101 Cookbooks) for a blackberry compote sweetened with maple syrup. Anything involving maple syrup sticks in my memory. I think this must be due to my New England roots, plus its distinct sweetness adds such a depth of flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. I prefer to use Grade B syrup for its darker color and more concentrated taste. With a flat of blackberries and jug of maple syrup in hand, I head to the kitchen.

These gorgeous berries are huge! I chop them roughly in half, just enough so that they blend into more of a sauce but retain some texture. A word of caution, when cutting them they will splatter juice everywhere! I hardly went crazy chopping, but ended up wiping drips and dribbles of juice off the counter, from the sides of the cabinets and up on shelves. A worthwhile endeavor, though!

As the blackberries and maple syrup simmer together, my kitchen fills with a fabulous aroma. After stirring in some lemon zest and freshly grated ginger, I begin sampling. Is it tart? Is it sweet? Just one more taste...totally addictive.

The compote is a delightful mix of summer and fall flavors. It is perfect to eat straight from the jar, stir into oatmeal, top pancakes or add to a cheese plate. I plan to serve it for dessert this week alongside homemade honey thyme ice cream. Enjoy some blackberry bliss!

Blackberry Compote
Inspired by Heidi Swanson
Makes 1 1/2 pints

4 very full pints of blackberries, cut in half
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup (Grade B if possible)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 lemon, zested
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
3/4 teaspoons salt

In a medium size sauce pan, bring 2 cups of the berries, the maple syrup and sugar to a simmer. Let cook for 10 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the remaining fresh berries, lemon zest, ginger and salt. Let cool.

Ladle into jars or a sealed container. Spoon out as desired! It will keep in the fridge for a week.


  1. Oh, I wish these grew wild all over here like they do in Seattle--whenever we went to Seattle in August I was always on the lookout. Well, hopefully we won't (or New England winters won't) kill the raspberries we put in out back this week...

    Yay for Grade B maple syrup--my husband's uncle, from Vermont, looked at me in respect when he saw I bought Grade B...

  2. @Sara
    Blackberries are wild here, a weed really! But a delicious weed, so we'll keep them. I grabbed a handful as a snack the other day from a huge bush next to my car in the parking lot. Love it!

    Good luck with your raspberries...I know last winter was intense in New England (my parents are now moving to warmer weather). Happy to know another Grade B syrup lover! Vermont produces the best. :)

  3. I really prefer the grade B maple syrup, even though it's more difficult to find here. Grade A always seems so insipid!

    This sounds really yummy for breakfast or for dessert...

  4. We are all out of blackberries on the East Coast. They were here for a fleeting moment. Love that compote! Looks great.

  5. Oh, what a good idea to mix these flavors. Blackberries are so gone here, though. Next summer!

  6. @Lauren
    I agree with you...once I had Grade B I couldn't go back to Grade A. And Grade A is more expensive here, too! I shake my head in wonder when I see that.

    The compote is definitely versatile for breakfast or dessert. It was delicious on ice cream Friday night, and I just finished it off in my oatmeal this morning.

    Thank you, Lisa! It's a shame you had such a short blackberry season...hopefully it will be longer next summer.

  8. @Dani @ Moderate Oven
    Thanks, Dani! I hope you can try the compote next summer!

  9. Hannah - I posted a link to this recipe from my blog - hope you don't mind
    My parents in the UK still have blackberries, so they are going to try your recipe.

    I am thrilled to be part of your post, Lisa! Thank you for including me. And I'm so happy your parents will be trying the blackberry compote. I do hope they enjoy it.


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