I have strayed from the original recipe several times using what we have on hand, sometimes we were short a pear, other times we didn't have Granny Smith apples. We usually have Anjou pears in the house and I've decided I actually prefer to substitute out one of the Granny Smiths for a Cameo or even a Golden Delicious. We also prefer to "cook the crunch out of it".
Whatever you have on hand, it will be amazing every time.
Apple and Pear Compote
2 cups apple cider (I've used Simply juice too)
1/4 cup cider vinegar (we use the Eden Organic)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp unsalted butter (salted works too....)
2 medium (1lb.) Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and diced)
2 medium (1 1/2lbs.) Bartlett pears (peeled, cored and diced)
1 Vanilla Bean (split)
(It's really not this complicated - I'm just long winded!)
Simmer the cider, vinegar and sugar 15-20 minutes until reduced to 2 Tbsp.
This is by far the most difficult part of the process. Obviously simmering isn't a big deal, but I've had to play with timing. Essentially this turns into a caramel sauce. It's easy to either not cook it long enough or let it go too long. Here's what I do. When I think it's getting close, I take a wee spoon and dip it in the sauce and Let It Cool!
When it's warm it will keep its viscosity. As it cools it will thicken.
If it's done, it will be sticky and cling a little when you pull your finger from the spoon. If it's not done it will still feel wet or "slimy". If you've over done it, it will harden to the spoon and sorry, but you'll have to start over! Haha!! Actually, I've let this go a while just to see what would happen, and I've never had it harden that much. It was a joke. I have had to reheat the sauce to get it to pour more easily from the pan though.
I don't cook up the fruit until the sauce is ready. That way it can cool a little while it waits.
The pickycook says you should melt 1 tsp of the butter into a saute pan. But the recipe lists 2 tsps. of butter. I never figured out where the heck you were supposed to use the other tsp. If any of you happen to find it on the page let me know. I probably just keep missing it. Personally, I've become very good friends with butter and usually just slap some in the pan, 2 Tbs. is probably my norm. Did you just cringe? I know you did...
Add your chosen amount of butter to your saute pan and let it melt. Pour in your apples and pears and the split vanilla bean and let it cook until desired tenderness.
I've experimented with this a bit, too. One of the reasons I added more butter in the first place was because I didn't like how dry the apples were as they started cooking. Also, I worried I wasn't going to get the most out of my vanilla bean (the oils as well as the inners) without more liquid. If you've cooked fruit often enough, you know that once they start to break down they release a lot of water. I had to learn to be patient! I've made the mistake of adding a little water and even some of the cider to the apples but in the end I was disappointed with too much liquid in the pan and ended up being sorry as I was pouring off some of those yummy juices. If you leave excess juices in the pan when you add the sauce it just thins out the sauce and the flavor. It's just not as good.
|Don't buy these unless you have to!|
Once you have your apples and pears to a desired texture, remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into your pan. (Either pan, it doesn't matter.) Pour in the cider sauce and stir. Voila'! The beautiful golden color doesn't appear until you've added that final touch and mixed well. Yes, beautiful and delicious!