Cool and Delicious: Fresh fruit compote with basil

A basil plant

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical the first time I saw this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but for some reason, I gave it a try, and it is fabulous!

I’ve served it for guests several times and they’ve all enjoyed it, too.  It’s a great summer dessert because it’s light, cool, and refreshing, while still pleasantly sweet.

I’ve modified the original recipe by omitting the sugar and doubling the honey.  With both the sugar and honey, it just seemed too sweet.  It’s also possible to make the syrup a day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to put the salad together.

Even if it sounds a little strange, I’d encourage you to give this a try.  It’s a summer treat to look forward to!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 teaspoons almond extract
  • about 4 cups fresh fruit (a mixture of something like strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and nectarines, cut in bite-size pieces)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Combine the water and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce the heat and summer uncovered for about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch with just enough cold water to dissolve it and stir well.
  4. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the syrup and cook, stirring, until it has thickened a bit and turned bubbly.
  5. Cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.
  6. Let cool a bit and then stir in the vanilla and almond extract.
  7. Put the fruit and basil in a large bowl and pour the syrup over them, stirring gently to combine.
  8. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.
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