Photo by Maria Robledo
This method works wonderfully for a many kinds of fruits such as pears, apples, peaches, nectarines, mangoes, plums, cherries, figs, and berries such as strawberries, raspberries or blackberries.
• 3 cups fresh fruit (peeled, pitted and/or sliced ½ inch thick as appropriate, singly or in combination, such as plums, raspberries, blueberries, peaches • 2 tablespoons water
• 1 to 4 tablespoons sugar, honey or maple syrup (depending on the sweetness of the fruit) • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
• 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 to 2 teaspoons dark rum, Kirschwasser, framboise, or Poire William (optional)
In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, water, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half. Scrape out the seeds and add the seeds and pod to the pan. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the fruit releases its juices, 2 to 4 minutes.
Taste the fruit for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. Then stir in the lemon juice to heighten the flavor. Uncover and cook over high heat until the fruit is tender and the juices are syrupy, about 2 minutes longer. Discard the vanilla bean and stir in the alcohol if desired. Serve warm.