Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strawberry-Blueberry Compote in Red Wine Syrup

I'm a proponent of a glass or two of wine in the evening - not only is it delicious and relaxing at the end of the day, but red wine in small quantities has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, thanks to the antioxidant resveratrol.  For a great way to incorporate a little wine into your diet, try this easy dessert - a red wine sauce is infused with spices before becoming the base of fruit compote. 

  • 1 cup vegan dry red wine*
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 (2 and 1/2-inch) orange rind strips
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
1. Combine the wine, sugar, peppercorns, orange rind, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf in a saucepan.  (For best results, use a saucepan that is non-aluminum, or the metal will react with the wine and impart a metallic taste to your final product).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes - the liquid should be reduced to 1/2 cup.

2. Drain the wine mixture through a colander over a bowl and discard the solids.  Add the strawberries and blueberries, tossing to coat.  Serve this compote while still warm, or chill for up to 2 hours.  Chilled any longer than that, and the fruit starts to macerate, so it's not as good. The compote is delicious on its own, but is particularly great as a sauce, whether over your favorite vanilla non-dairy ice cream, atop a slice of vegan cake, or with almond biscotti.  Vegan biscotti are available online from Sweet & Sara, but I actually had fun making my own, adapting this recipe only slightly with egg replacer instead of eggs.

*You've probably noticed that whenever I call for wine in a recipe, I make sure to specify vegan wine. As you may already know, many brands of wine are filtered through animal byproducts (such as isinglass from fish bladders, or egg whites).  It used to be almost impossible to know which wines used what as a filter, but luckily there are now online (and in-store) wine shops that label wines specifically as vegan.  Another trick is to choose a wine that specifies it is unfined or unfiltered on the label (see photo below, where the label says in French "sans filtration").  I've noticed that many organic wines are also unfiltered wines, which makes me happy all around. 

Still stuck on where to get your vegan wine?  Try these links:

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1/2 cup), Calories 61 

Tasting Notes:
Really nice, warm notes of cinnamon and orange in the wine syrup.  The compote was tasty - refreshing and simple - although I think I would simmer the strawberries and blueberries next time, rather than tossing them in the red wine raw.  I'd even omit the fruit all together, and turn this into a batch of mulled wine in the winter!


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