A few years ago I learned how to make khoshaf, a Muslim (primarily Egyptian) version of compote -- what my grandma called "kumput," (which she made by cooking dried prunes and apricots with sugar, lemon and cinnamon). Kumput was delicious, but sometimes a bit mushy.
Khoshaf isn't cooked -- you pour simmering, seasoned, sweet syrup over the dried fruit and let it macerate for a while. The fruit becomes tender but never gets soggy.
The khoshaf was such a success that I never went back to "kumput."
So, I figured that the soaking/macerating method would work on fresh fruit too.
I was right.
This simple dish -- cut up fruit steeped in a seasoned, sweetened syrup -- is the perfect ending to a meal on a hot summer day, especially when you want a dairy-free dessert. Of course you could always top the fruit with ice cream or whipped cream. But sorbet would be fine too.
I like it plain, as-is, with a small amount of boiled-down, thickened syrup.
SOAKED SUMMER FRUIT
- 2 pounds stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots), approximately
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 vanilla bean, broken
- 2 orange slices, about 1/4-inch thick
- 4-5 slices crystallized ginger
Cut the fruit in half and remove the pits. Cut the fruit into bite-size chunks and place in a dish deep enough to hold the pieces plus liquid. In a saucepan, combine the water, honey, vanilla bean, orange slices and crystallized ginger and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Pour the contents of the saucepan through a strainer over the fruit. Let soak for at least 2 hours. Serve as-is or strain the fluids, boil the fluids for 6-8 minutes or until thickened, and pour over the fruit (or let cool first).
Makes 8 servings