Total Cooking Time: 10 minutes
When watching the Great British Bake Off, I often see them referencing compotes. Compotes are put inside cakes, on top of cakes, underneath cakes, besides cake okay, floating above cakes. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but you get the point. I grew curious about compotes. And given the cake I decided to make for the Week One Showstopper, I thought a blueberry compote would be the perfect complement to a banana-based cake.
I was surprised to find out that a compote only has three ingredients. THREE!! And one of the ingredients is water so it kind of feels like there are only two ingredients. The base of a compute is a sugar syrup and the fruit you want to make the star of the dish. So, for today, I’m using blueberries.
Bursting the Berries
The process for making a compote is very simple and only takes a few minutes. The first step is to throw the water, sugar, and half of the blueberries into a pot. Then, everything is heated over a low to medium heat. The water is there to help dissolve the sugar. The heat will slowly increase the temperature of the mixture causing the blueberries to burst. This step will happen after the liquid around it becomes clear (i.e. the sugar has fully dissolved).
Finishing the Syrup
Then, the rest of the blueberries should be added to the pot. The compote will continue to cook until it coats the back of a spoon. The heat causes the water to evaporate which condenses the sugar/water mixture to make a syrup consistency. Enjoy hot or cold!
Why do Berries Burst?
When cooking blueberries, they will eventually burst causing their insides to explode into the surrounding mixture. Why does this happen? Blueberries are made up of 85% water. As they cook the water inside the blueberry will turn to steam and causes pressure to build up inside the blueberry. This pressure will eventually become so high that the outer shell of the blueberry can no longer contain it. The air will then force its way out, causing the blueberries to burst. It’s kind of funny to think that the same principle for runaway reactions from chemical engineering applies to cooking blueberries
- 1 8-ounce container Blueberries
- ⅔ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ⅔ Cup Water
- Put half of the blueberries, sugar, and water into a sauce pot
- Place pot on low to medium heat and let simmer, stirring often.
- After blueberries burst, add in remaining berries.
- Cook until compote coats the spoon