Add a burst of colour and sweet-tart flavour to ice cream, muesli, cheesecake, pancakes and other dishes with this easy Cherry Compote recipe.
Too many cherries? It's an amazing problem to have, but you can occasionally find yourself in this position during cherry season – which happens to coincide with Christmas in Australia.
And this recipe is the perfect way to extend the life of cherries when they're in abundance.
A recipe inspired by the past
This recipe for cherry compote is inspired by recipes shared in Australian newspapers in the early 1900's.
To make this recipe, you'll need just a few simple ingredients.
That's right, you'll need:
- fresh cherries
- caster sugar / superfine sugar
- lemon juice
- cinnamon (optional).
While the cinnamon is optional, I absolutely recommend adding it in. You can't really taste the cinnamon flavour, bit it adds a lovely depth to the flavour of the cherry compote.
The ingredient measurements can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Preparing the Cherries
Wash the cherries and then remove the stems and pits.
To remove the pits (the tiny stone inside each cherry), you can use a cherry pitter (see pictured below) or alternatively a chopstick or something similar (pushed through the centre of the cherry).
TIP: It's extremely important to make sure you remove each and every pit. You don't want anyone to be biting into a soft cherry and instead break a tooth on the stone!
I check each stone comes out, and if I'm unsure I break the cherry in half to check.
I suggest leaving half the cherries whole and breaking the other half into halves – for the best compote results.
How to make Cherry Compote
Once you've prepared the cherries, place them into a cooking tray and then pour the sugar over the cherries.
Stand for ¾ of an hour, stirring a few times throughout the resting time.
You'll see the sugar gradually start to dissolve.
Once that time has elapsed, pour the cherry and sugar mix into a saucepan. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon.
Heat gently to dissolve any remaining sugar. Increase temperature and bring mixture to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
Cool the mixture and then place into a glass jar or dish and place in the fridge.
You can mix things up with this recipe by:
- Changing the spices – adding cardamom, nutmeg or another spice instead of cinnamon.
- Adding some spirits – a dash of brandy, rum or Cointreau will give your compote a kick.
- Mixing in some other berries - substitute some of the cherries with strawberries, raspberries or other berries.
Store the compote in the fridge for up to one week. You can also freeze this dish for up to 6 months. Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bags.
- Use good quality, fresh cherries
- Be extra careful when removing the pits that you remove each and every one of them
- Don't skimp on the resting time – you need the full 45 minutes.
- Don't boil the cherries for any longer than 3 minutes.
You can, though it may not look or taste quite as great as when using fresh cherries.
Yes, it's the perfect addition to a basic cheesecake or even a chocolate cheesecake.
You can serve a slice of cake with this cherry compote. It'd be lovely, for example, with some plain, un-iced Buttercake. However, I don't recommend you fill a cake with compote as it's too runny – use a jam instead.
Besides the obvious – just eating it straight from the jar – you can enjoy it with so many things. Desserts like cheesecake, ice-cream and custard pair well with the flavours. You can top off pancakes, pikelets or muesli with it. You could even add it to a cheese board – camembert, brie, cream cheese, blue cheese and ricotta all go with that incredible cherry flavour.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:You must use the category slug, not a URL, in the category field.
- 450 grams fresh cherries
- 1 cup caster sugar / superfine sugar (220 grams)
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 small lemon)
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Wash the cherries and remove the stems and pits.
- Halve half of the cherries and leave the rest whole. Place onto a tray and pour the sugar over the cherries.
- Stand for ¾ of an hour, stirring a few times throughout the resting time. The sugar should gradually start to dissolve.
- Pour the cherries and sugar mix into a saucepan. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon.
- Heat gently to dissolve any remaining sugar. Increase temperature and bring mixture to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
- Cool the mixture and then place into a glass jar or dish and place in the fridge.