A rhubarb and apple compote (right)
Alternative namescompost (Middle English)
Serving temperatureWarm or chilled
Main ingredientsFruit, sugar syrup, spices

Compote or compôte[1] (French for stewed fruit[2]) is a dessert originating from medieval Europe,[citation needed] made of whole or pieces of fruit in sugar syrup. Whole fruits are cooked in water with sugar and spices. The syrup may be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon sticks or powder, cloves, other spices, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit or raisins. The compote is served either warm or cold.


Compote conformed to the medieval belief that fruit cooked in sugar syrup balanced the effects of humidity on the body. The name is derived from the Latin word compositus, meaning mixture. In late medieval England it was served at the beginning of the last course of a feast (or sometimes the second out of three courses), often accompanied by a creamy potage.[3][4][5] During the Renaissance, it was served chilled at the end of dinner. Because it was easy to prepare, made from inexpensive ingredients and contained no dairy products, compote became a staple of Jewish households throughout Europe.[6] In modern French, the term refers to usually unsweetened fruit purée without fruit chunks, such as applesauce.


Dried fruit is often used for compote by cultures from Eastern Europe, and its syrup is also drunk as a beverage. Both are called kompot. In Mennonite culture, dried-fruit compote is known by the Plautdietch name pluma moos.

The dessert may be topped with whipped cream, cinnamon, or vanilla sugar. The syrup may be made with wine, as in one early 15th-century recipe for pear compote.[4] Other variations include using dried fruit that have been soaked in water in which alcohol can be added, for example kirsch, rum or Frontignan.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Compôte recipes - BBC Food". Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  2. ^ "compote | Etymology, origin and meaning of compote by etymonline". Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  3. ^ Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler, ed. Curye on Inglysch. The Early English Text Society, New York, 1985.
  4. ^ a b Thomas Austin, ed. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. The Early English Text Society, New York, 1888 (reprinted 1964).
  5. ^ Information on the Coronation feast of Richard III, taken from Sutton, Anne F. and PW Hammond, The Coronation of Richard III: the Extant Documents, New York; St. Martin's Press, 1983.
  6. ^ Be Merry / A taste of Poland, Haaretz
  7. ^ Robuchon, Joël, "Members of the Gastronomic Committee". Larousse Gastronomique. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2001, p. 322-323.