Compote: Winter Fruits in Spiced Wine

An assortment of your favorite dried fruits, gently macerated overnight in a spiced wine mixture then baked in the oven until plump and flavorful, the wine reduced to a ruby syrup. This is one of my favorite side dishes on a Thanksgiving or Christmas table. When I brought it back home one year, my baby sis gleefully dubbed this “Compost!” Our family has called it so ever since…

Compote: Winter Fruits in Spiced Wine
Compote: Winter Fruits in Spiced Wine

I imagine this dish would work well at many holidays, and the fruit can be varied to any kind you like or whatever will go with the meal. I always make sure there are some dried figs in it, but this can be made with a mixture of just about anything or the flavor profile may be carefully orchestrated to just a few complementary flavors. The cost varies depending on what types of fruit is added and what kind of wine is used.

Since dried fruit is always on sale during the “trifecta” of Winter Holidays, I take the opportunity to replenish my supplies and often just put whatever fruits in this that I may have left from the previous year. The wine/sugar maceration plumps them up beautifully!

Sometimes I serve this instead of the ubiquitous cranberry sauce, sometimes in addition to it. It keeps, tightly covered, in the fridge for a week or two, at least and is also a great make ahead side. Any left over is always good, and I often chop this (a bit messy) and use it to make the old classic Thumbprint cookies. Cranberry sauce works well in those, too.

Compote: Winter Fruits in Spiced Wine

  • Servings: abt 3 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 5 cups mixed dried fruits (you may wish to slice larger fruits)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 orange peel

Mix wine and sugar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and chill overnight. Bake at 375 degrees for an hour, basting now and then until fruit is plumped and softened and wine is reduced to a syrup. (Keep in mind the syrup will thicken more if it’s chilled.) Watch carefully in the last 15 minutes.

Serve warm or chilled on a Holiday buffet table. Left overs make an interesting addition to vanilla ice-cream.

from the kitchen of


Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Strategies Applied:

  • Dried Fruit: is not always the cheapest thing to buy (if you make your own, it’s a different story) but the fall/winter holidays is a great time to buy with coupons and sales.
  • Wine:  I really shop the sales and speak to the employees – I find I can find great wines for a pittance. If you have a wine shop you like, I find you can get mailings or emails for their best sales – often in the fall and spring. You’d be surprised at the bargains you can get and how long you can use a bottle for quick little recipes.

15 thoughts on “Compote: Winter Fruits in Spiced Wine”

    1. Thanks! And it really is a gorgeous dish – I might have to see if I can try to get another photograph because the ones I took just don’t do this justice. Drunken fruit is a fun name!

      I have an aversion to most fruitcakes although I’ve noticed in the past few years they’ve gone through a renaissance – but I think you’re absolutely right and these, chopped into bite sized pieces, would be fantastic in one.

      I recently came across my Great Grandmother’s recipe for fruit cake and it is quite different from most and uses dried fruits, not the fruits so commonly used, and you’ve inspired me to play with it and try a version with some of this! 🙂

  1. I love the spices you are using, and the wine 😉
    Have you given the bake along another thought? Any particular cookies that come to mind? We could also give mulled wine a go 😉
    Ginger x

    1. Thanks! I left your reply on my other post – on blind baking, in a momentary confusion! I was thinking a date filled cookie, Spritz (which is probably the same in Germany and America) or duh! Gingerbread cookies. But mulled wine sounds good, too! Your choice! 🙂

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