Throughout Turkey, luxurious Ottoman-inspired fruit compôtes – ranging from a simple sultana-based version to a complex mix of apricots, figs, prunes and nuts often subtly highlighted with a delightful floral note of rose or orange blossom water – are an integral part of the ritual of eating. No matter what the season, there is always a jar of it chilling in our fridge ready for stirring into creamy Turkish yoghurt, for spooning over a steaming bowl of porridge or to serve alongside a slice of a simple citrusy cake. At this time of year, forced rhubarb takes centre stage – try this version paired with orange blossom water, shelled pistachios and lime – or pick up some fresh Turkish figs and marry them to a box of juicy berries and a splash of vanilla extract. Yesterday, I created a vibrant start to an absolutely baltic day by swirling a spoonful of it into a warming bowl of organic porridge oats cooked with almond milk and topped with a blizzard of juicy golden sultanas, chopped pistachios and fragrant rose petals.
600g of fresh figs and raspberries (you can use any soft fruit here, frozen berries work well too)
1 tsp vanilla extract
I lemon, juiced
30g unrefined golden caster sugar
How I make it
Chop the figs into eight pieces roughly the same size as the berries. Tumble into a medium heavy-bottomed pan with all the other ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is just cooked, usually around 10 minutes (don’t be tempted to cook it for longer as it will turn into jam).
Set aside to cool slightly before pouring into a sterilised Kilner jar and sealing. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week but it probably won’t last that long because everyone will want a spoonful. In the summer, use any seasonal fruits such as cherries, plums and peaches.