It always amazes me how a few ingredients can come together to make something so flavorful. When using just a handful of ingredients I find it a good rule of thumb to make sure that you find the highest quality options. There’s no place to hide so you want them all to shine.
In this topping honey is used to bind the walnuts and dates together. I recommend a bold honey – not something mild. My friend, Julie P, gave me a robust buckwheat honey from Wild Creek Bee Farm in Lehighton, PA for Christmas that was a perfect match with the nuts and fruits. Look for plump and soft dates for the best flavor.
This compote (or “compost” as on my Gourmet Dinner Club friends mistakenly said!) is very versatile. I like to serve it with a few different types of cheese ranging from blue to brie (or brie-like) to a hard cheese such as a Manchego. Varying both the flavor and the texture makes it more interesting. Be sure to follow the cheese rule and take it out of the refrigerator an hour before serving (it really does make a difference). Throw in a tart apple (which cuts the sweetness) and crackers and you’re set. It would also make a great topping for a baked brie.
|Walnut and Date Compote|| |
- ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 18 dates, pitted and chopped
- 3 tablespoons honey (preferably bold in flavor)
- 6 tablespoons water
- Cheese (such as a mild-blue, brie and/or Manchego), at room temperature
- Tart apples (such as Granny Smith), thinly sliced
- Preheat an oven to 325°F. Spread walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until they have darkened slightly and are fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine walnuts, dates, honey and water. Heat until the mixture just starts to bubble about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Transfer to a small bowl and let cool slightly.
- Take your cheese out of the refrigerator an hour before serving. Serve compote with cheese, freshly sliced apples and crackers.
* Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
Source: Variation of a recipe from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen (website)