While tarts and crumbles are among my favorite desserts, there’s something to be said for not having to turn on the oven in the height of summer.
It’s easy enough to make a compote with fruit and a little sugar, but the addition of red wine makes this one more elegant, more adult. I’ve used berries, but the basic recipe is versatile. Figs and peaches pair well with red wine, as do cherries.
Vanilla ice cream is a natural accompaniment to the berries, but a matching or contrasting sorbet could be very nice if you want to make this dessert lighter. The compote would go well with many cakes, too. You can vary the mix of berries, but it’s best with mostly raspberries and strawberries.
Berries in Red Wine
2 cups (about 480 ml) fruity red wine, such as Chinon
3 red or black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip of lemon zest
¼ cup (50 grams) sugar, plus more to taste
about 3 cups of mixed berries, such as raspberries, strawberries and blackberries
1. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring the wine, spices, lemon zest and sugar to a boil. Simmer the mixture until it has reduced by a little more than half. Carefully taste it and add more sugar if needed.
2. Cool the syrup completely, then remove the spices and zest. Pour the syrup over the fruit, tossing very carefully so as not to crush the berries.
3. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so before serving, but not more than a couple of hours, as the fruit will start to break down after too long.