Breakfast

Plum Compote with Vanilla-Whipped Ricotta and Toasted Hazelnuts

3/20/2019 08:51:00 PM

Plum Compote with Vanilla-Whipped Ricotta and Toasted Hazelnuts. Ripe plums are poached with citrus and spices until soft and fragrant, partnered with a creamy, vanilla-scented whipped ricotta and crunchy toasted hazelnuts. Make this for a breakfast with a difference, a smart dessert, or to add to a brunch party!

Plum compote with vanilla-whipped ricotta and toasted hazelnuts

Slipping in with just one more plum recipe before the end of the season! I made this plum compote on a whim, and was surprised by just how delicious it was! As you may remember, I had been given that big sample of Queen Garnet plums, and I really wanted to use them up! I'd made the Pflaumen Streuselkuchen, I'd made plum ice-cream, Sandra had made some plum liquor (it take some weeks; I'll show you once it's ready), and we'd been eating the plums fresh as well. After all that, I still had some plums left, and I was too lazy to make jam, so compote it was!

I'd never made a compote before, but lots of online research taught me that basically what you need to do is poach pieces of fruit in a water and sugar syrup, adding spices and citrus to your liking. 

I sliced up the plums, some in quarters and some in halves. This was mainly because it's tricky to get the stone out of a plum half, but also so have a bit of texture contrast in the finished compote.

Sliced plums

I then made a poaching liquid of water, orange juice, sugar, a cinnamon stick and some cloves. Once it came to the boil, I turned it down to a simmer, added the plum pieces and let them simmer gently until softened.

Poaching liquid

As they were cooking, and the plums were staining the liquid a deep red, I realised that I was making something that smelled just like Gl├╝hwein, transporting me back to the Christmas markets of Germany! The citrus, the spices - it smelled so warming and inviting! I guess those German flavours are really part of my soul now, I'm drawn to them even subconsciously.

Once cooked, I fished the plum pieces out with a slotted spoon, and then boiled the liquid until thickened and syrupy. (I don't think that this step is strictly necessary, but it intensifies the colour and makes it look so much prettier!)

Plum Compote with Vanilla-Whipped Ricotta and Toasted Hazelnuts

So I guess you could eat the compote however you like - with Greek yogurt, on top of bircher muesli, with ice-cream or whatever - but I loved the idea of pairing it with whipped ricotta. It worked really well, the sharp and sweet spicy plums melding into the creamy milky ricotta. I based the whipped ricotta recipe on one from Joy the Baker, whipping a little cream cheese and milk with the ricotta to give it a smooth texture, and added a little vanilla to make it more desserty. The last component was a scattering of toasted hazelnuts, for a wonderful crunch and nutty aroma. The whole combination was heavenly.

Plum Compote with Vanilla-Whipped Ricotta and Toasted Hazelnuts

I chose not to sweeten the ricotta at all, as I thought the syrup from the plums would provide enough sweetness. However, if you were making the vanilla-whipped ricotta by itself, I'd suggest adding a couple of tablespoons of of sugar. (Ooh, or drizzling it with honey and toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts - fabulous).

Plum Compote with Vanilla-Whipped Ricotta and Toasted Hazelnuts

I ate this for breakfasts, but I like the idea of serving this as a late-summer / autumn dessert, or as part of a big brunch spread where you've got lots of different items on the table for people to pick at. This is why say it serves four to eight people. I'd say it serves four if you're eating it by itself for breakfast (i.e. one plum per person), but of course this would stretch out to feed more if you're eating it as a small snack or dessert, or if you're serving it as part of a brunch spread.

Enjoy!

Plum Compote with Vanilla-Whipped Ricotta and Toasted Hazelnuts
A recipe by Sarah Cooks, Vanilla-Whipped Ricotta adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients
For the Plum Compote
1 large orange
30-40 grams caster sugar
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 large red plums
For the Vanilla-Whipped Ricotta
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
500 grams full fat ricotta
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the Toasted Hazelnuts
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts

Method
To make the plum compote, squeeze the juice of the orange into a measuring jug. Add water to bring the liquid up to 300 millilitres. Pour the liquid into a saucepan. Add the sugar, star anise and cinnamon stick. Stir and bring to the boil over a medium heat and turn down to a simmer. Cut the plums in half, twist the two halves to separate them. Remove the stones. Cut some of the plum halves into half again (i.e. into quarters). Place the plum pieces in the simmering liquid. Simmer gently for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Use a slotted spoon to remove the plum pieces to a serving bowl. Turn the heat up and boil the liquid until reduced and thickened. Pour the liquid over the plums and allow to cool.
To make the vanilla-whipped ricotta, place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Turn the beater off, and add the ricotta, milk and vanilla bean paste. Beat on medium speed for for 3-5 minutes or until smooth. Spread the whipped ricotta onto a serving plate or platter.
To make the toasted hazelnuts, toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent them burning. Keep cooking until they are fragrant and golden brown. Tip the hazelnuts onto a clean tea towel and wrap them up. Rub the nuts in the towel to remove the loose skins (it might not all come off, this isn't a problem).
Set out the vanilla whipped ricotta with the poached plums and toasted hazelnuts and allow people to serve themselves.
Serves 4-8, depending on what you serve with it

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

Sarah received complimentary Queen Garnet plums from Nutrafruit but was not obligated to post or compensated in any way. All opinions are my own.

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