Ginger or Curry and Fruit ~~ Great Brunch Recipes
Peaches, Pears, and Pineapple
A Baker - Ast Family Favorite
My mother, Betty Joe Baker, was a southern girl, born and raised in Georgia. Her parents had been raised on farms and knew, as they were fond of telling us children, "the meaning of hard work." Betty Joe grew up a city girl, but there were lots of visits to aunts and uncles who still farmed and extolled the virtues of fruits and vegetables.
Naturally enough, when my mother set up her own household, one of her chief priorities was making sure that her children ate fruit every day, sometimes several times a day. There were baked apples for breakfast (cinnamon and honey poured into the cored out centers), oranges and bananas, wedges of cantaloupe and honeydew, and lots of other in-season fruits.
This was 40 years ago and grocery stores only carried the fruits and vegetables that were in season. So during the long winter months we had lots of applesauce and other canned and jarred fruits. Then one Christmas Season, while planning a fancy brunch for family and friends, my mother decided she wanted to have a "Curried Fruit Compote."
I had never heard her use the word "compote" before and had no idea what one was. But it was almost Christmas and company was coming and we had just put the good tablecloth on the table, so surely, a "compote" was a rare, exotic, and highly desirable dish. The ingredients didn't turn out to be all that rare or exotic, but I did decide that a curried fruit compote was a desirable thing.
A Simple Curried Fruit Compote
You will need: 16 ounce can of sliced peaches, 16 ounce can of sliced pears, 16 ounce can of chunk pineapple, 1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup melted butter or margarine, ¼ cup slivered almonds
Drain the three cans of fruit (save the juice for something else, it is wonderful mixed half and half with Sprite or tea) and layer in an oven proof glass casserole dish. Add the sugar, salt, and spices to the melted butter, stirring until well dissolved. Pour mixture over fruit and stir gently. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Remove foil, stir gently, sprinkle slivered almonds over the fruit and return to the oven for a final 15 minutes.
Serving Suggestion - Brunch
This can be served right out of the oven or allowed to cool a bit first. It could be served as a dessert with simple cookies or pound cake, but my mother always served it as an accompaniment to the meal. For breakfast or brunch, she might serve it alongside bacon and eggs, Denver Omelets, Quiche Lorraine (actually, any quiche will do, especially your family favorite), or Cheese Grits.
Now Wait - Cheese Grits are not Grits
If you are not a grits person, don’t wrinkle up your nose and judge them until you have had them, and not that inedible instant stuff which is for small children who don’t know any better. For example, in spite of my maternal grandmother’s concerted efforts, I never became a grits person. But Cheese Grits, made with butter, a mild cheese, not a sharp cheddar, black pepper, and maybe just a touch of garlic, well quite simply, they are to die for. If garlic is not your thing, leave it out and whether you go very light or rather heavy on the black pepper is also up to you.
Serving Suggestion - Sunday Dinner
Back to my mother and her cooking. She frequently served curried fruit alongside any meal which featured pork chops, ham, or roasted chicken; these were usually Sunday dinners or company meals. With four children and a tight budget, Monday through Saturday nights were for spaghetti, tuna casserole, macaroni and cheese, vegetable soup, baked beans, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
How Curried Fruit Compote Became Hot Gingered Fruit (and other tales)
After I was married, I discovered my husband did not care for (well, he absolutely despised) anything with curry powder in it. So, after twenty years, my mother’s Curried Fruit Compote became my Hot Gingered Fruit.
If you want to try the gingered version, all you need to do is replace the curry powder with I teaspoon of ground ginger and increase the cinnamon from ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.
Oh, and the slivered almonds can be chopped pecans. I have also served this without any nuts at all and nobody complained. :) Gently warmed up leftovers are delicious. You might want to try this before the weather warms up. :)