This Simple Pear Compote is quick to make, uses only a handful of ingredients and is easily customisable. Use it to jazz up your breakfast, spoon over your ice cream or fill a cake with it. Whichever way you decide it's one super versatile sauce to have.
This sweet Simple Pear Compote with the warming addition of ginger is the perfect accompaniment to your winter baking. It's like a warm blanket wrapped around your shoulders on a chilly morning. Whilst pears are at their prime and in season, it's a great opportunity to preserve them and make a delicious compote.
Compotes, jams and sauces are a brilliant way to elevate your baked goods. My Blackberry Jam, Salted Caramel Sauce and Lemon Curd are examples of great recipes that can be added to tarts, cakes or with cream to my favourite Classic Scones.
The pears soften in the compote and the addition of the vanilla beans and maple syrup sweetens it perfectly. The lemon provides a subtle tang to balance out this sweetness and the ginger creates a warmth like no other. The result is a flavoursome, well-rounded, sugar-free pear compote that can easily be eaten straight from the jar!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy to make. It really couldn't be easier to make. All ingredients in pot and cooked slowely on the stove. That's it!
- Uses simple ingredients. With only a handful of ingredients needed to make this pear compote recipe, it's a great way to use up a bowl of pears.
- Make it to suit your taste. You can individualise this recipe for you. Prefer it smoother, then run through a blender. Don't fancy the ginger in it, then omit. Want to add cinnamon-go for it Want it hot or warm-you choose!
- Versatile. Use it in cakes, on tarts, with porridge or over ice-cream - there are many ways this compote can be enjoyed.
- Pears - Use your favourite pears for the compote. I use conference pears. Preferrably go for juicy ripe pears. They are naturally sweeter and will require far less time to soften in the saucepan.
- Maple syrup - A natural sweetner, this is an alternative to adding sugar to the compote. Honey can be used as a substitute also. If you'de prefer to use sugar then add in the same quantity as the honey.
- Water - The water allows the pears to soften but will evaporate during the cooking phase. How much it evaporates depends on the stove top heat, and how ripe the pears are (less ripe pears will need more water as they arent as juicy.) You may need to add more water during cookin.
- Lemon - Reduces the pears from browning but also balances out the sweetness of the pears and honey. It also helps to thicken the compote allowing to set once cooked.
- Vanilla - For ease go for vanilla bean paste. Alternatively, add a vanilla pod that has been cut in half and the seeds scraped in to the compote.
- Ginger - This turns summery pear compote recipe into a compote that suits oll the flavours of Autumn (Fall). It adds a warming kick that compliments other seasonal flavours like spices, cinnamon, caramel, pecans and apples.
You'll be amazed at quite how simple it is to bring this Simple Pear Compote together. I think that's why I love making compotes so much!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
1. Slice and chop pears. Peel, core and chop the pears into 1cm (½-inch) size cubes. And add them to a bowl along with the lemon juice. Toss to coat the cut pears to prevent them from browning. (Image 1)
2. Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Add the chopped pears, water (only 60ml / ¼ cup to start with), maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla bean pod and seeds and ground ginger to a saucepan set over medium heat on the stovetop. (Image 2)
3. Simmer for 20 minutes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the pears are tender (Image 3). Then spoon the compote into a couple of jars to cool. (Image 4)
The ripeness of the pears will determine whether you need to add more water.
If the pears are juicy and soft, then a 60ml / ¼cup of water will do.
If they are hard and unripe, then you'll probably need to add the remaining water for the pears to soften sufficiently.
How will you know? Keep an eye out on the pan when the pears are cooking and if they look like they are drying out, then add a touch more water. You'll only know if you have to do this my monitoring your compote.
4. (Optional) Blitz for a smoother consistency. This part is totally optional, but I prefer a slightly smoother consistency. I tend to blitz about two-thirds of the compote with an immersion blender so that some of the fruit remains a little chunkier. (Notes in FAQ's if you don't have an immersion blender.) (Image 5 & 6)
Variations / Substitutions
Where to start? Ok, let's start in general and then I'll narrow it down. Pear isn't the only fruit you can use to make an easy fruit compote. As it's fresh, juicy and can be made in under 30-minutes, you'll want to experiment with all sorts of fruits.
- Berry's: Strawberries, blueberries, Raspberries or blackberries.
- Stone fruit: Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries.
- Other fruits: Cranberries and apples.
Let's get specific now and give you some ideas of what you can add to your pear compote or any of the fruits compotes listed above.
- Spices: Add in cinnamon, star anis, cardamon pods, cloves or nutmeg to give your compote more of a spiced boost.
- Alcohol: You could add a little brandy, or sherry, gin or bourbon for a boozy kick. Caramelised Cranberry & Apple Compote recipe by The Spruce Eats shows how compote can be served with sweet or savoury food.
- Aromatics: Add in herbs like rosemary or thyme or citrus zest like lemon or orange for a more complex flavour hit in your compote.
Frequently asked questions
The core ingredients of a jam or a compote are the same, fruit, sugar, lemon juice, water.
With Jam, the fruit is cooked long enough for the fruit to lose its shape and soften, for the water content to evaporate and the mixture to reduce down to a spreadable consistency. Jams are then canned in order to preserve them and eaten in months to come.
Compote, on the other hand, uses a long slow method of cooking the fruit so that it maintains its shape and has a more chunky consistency than the jam. In most cases, not all, compote isn’t preserved and is eaten immediately.
It is such a versatile sauce and can be used in so many ways. Here are some ideas for you. In the mornings make warm pear ginger compote for pancakes or to top your baked porridge, french toast, waffles, yoghurt or granola. Team this Simple Pear Compote by filling pockets of flaky pastry to make your own fun pop tarts like my Raspberry Pop-Tarts. Swirl through ice cream or layer with almond cream in a frangipane tart or top a cheesecake with it. I've even smoother a layer in the filling of my Gingerbread Swiss Roll Cake which was so incredibly delicious. So many options for you to choose from!
The good news is, that you can create the texture that you love. Whilst a traditional compote has larger bits of fruit within it, you can make the consistency less chunky vary easily. There are two ways of doing this.
Mashing: Once the pear compote is ready (when the pears are soft and cooked through), then use a masher or a fork to mash the compote so that you create a textured consistency.
Blending: To go for an even smoother finish, use an immersion blender or blender and pulse the compote. Be warned to go too far and make a puree as it will end up being more watery. If this happens and you want to thicken it, then pop it back into the saucepan over low-medium heat and reduce the compote further.
Absolutely. If a fruit isn't in season and it's easier to fit the frozen aisle- then this is a good option. It will take a little longer to come to a simmer as you are working from a frozen state. (There's no need to thaw the fruit first). There may also be a little more water that adds to the compote as the fruit thaw, but that's no problem, just cook on the stovetop for a little longer for the water to evaporate and the compote to reduce down.
How to store and freeze
As there isn't any sugar in this compote, it's shelf life is shortened and isn't meant to be kept in jars and preserved for months on end. It's very quick and easy to make, so ideally you make it as and when needed.
To store: Pour the warm pear compote into jars or an airtight container and seal while hot. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To freeze: Pour compote into freezer-safe containers in batches, and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
More recipes using seasonal apples or pears
If you tried this Simple Pear Compote Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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Simple Pear Compote Recipe
- 450 g 10 pears
- 1 lemon, juice
- 60-120 ml water
- 30 ml maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 vanilla bean pod, cut in half and the beans scraped and set aside
- Slice and chop pears. Wash, peel, core and chop the pears into 1cm (½-inch) size cubes. And add them to the bowl along with the lemon juice and toss them together so that the pears are coated. You can toss the cut pears in the juice as you go to prevent them from browning.450 g 10 pears, 1 lemon
- Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Add the chopped pears, water (only 60ml / ¼ cup to start with), maple syrup, ground ginger and vanilla bean pod and seeds to a saucepan set over medium heat on the stovetop.60-120 ml water, 30 ml maple syrup, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 vanilla bean pod
- Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Bring pears to a simmer and cook for approximately 20 minutes until the pears are tender. Note: If your pears are very ripe and juicy you may need less time. If your pears are unripe then you may need more time. Add more water if the mixture looks like it is drying out. Once the pears are tender and soft, remove the vanilla pod and spoon the compote into a couple of jars to cool.
- (Optional) Blitz for a smoother consistency. This part is totally optional, but I prefer a slightly smoother consistency. I tend to blitz about two-thirds of the compote with an immersion blender so that some of the fruit remains a little chunkier.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
So delicious and I will definitely make again although I used a quarter of the amount of sugar stated in the recipe and still feel that it was too sweet
Thanks for this brilliant recipe. I saw it pop into my inbox, had a bowl full of ripe pears, and thought why not make it now. As you say, it really is a simple pear compote- came together so quickly. Having ripe pears definitely made it quicker and I only needed the 1/4 cup of water like you said. Delicious on my porridge on this cold morning. Thanks!
Brilliant Belinda- you were quick off the mark to make this recipe. Glad my tip of adding water to suit the ripeness of your pears helped. x