The world’s simplest recipe: apple and plum compote

Almost a month after making the failed apple cake and the much more successful apple and sage jelly and (not) bramley lemon curd, I still had seven apples left from the great tree-picking.

I’d left them really far too long sitting in the fruit bowl and they weren’t looking very perky anymore.

Sad apples

I also had a punnet of supermarket plums that are as hard as bullets and have very little flavour.

Wizened plums
Wizened, wrinkly and rock hard: could these supermarket plums be destined for greater things?

These sad fruits were past eating fresh, but I hoped that by cooking them together with a bit of the magic ingredient, sugar, they could be revived into something a bit nicer. I decided to make myself an apple and plum compote. Perfect for putting on top of yoghurt, or just snacking on straight from the fridge when I can’t find any other food in the house. That sort of thing.

I am almost embarrassed to be sharing this as a “recipe” – it’s so simple I’m not even sure that it counts as such, but this is what I did:


  • Some apples (I used seven, but however many you have to hand will be fine)
  • Some plums (I used four plums. You could substitute with any other fruit that goes well with apples: rhubarb, blackberries, raspberries would all work well, for example. Or you don’t need a second fruit, you could just stick to apples.)
  • Lemon juice, a dash
  • Sugar, a handful
  • Some nice spices (nutmeg, cloves, ginger or cinnamon would all work well, depending whether you’re feeling Christmassy or Summery…)
Apple and plum compote
All chopped up and raring to cook


  1. Peel, core and chop the apples. I quartered my apples, then cut each quarter in half, just to give you an idea of size.
  2. Core and chop the plums, or other fruit.
  3. Put all fruit into a pan and add a couple of tbsps of lemon juice (or grate the rind of a lemon over, if you want a stronger flavour) and add some of your spices. As much as you like, really. I grated half a nutmeg into mine.
  4. Add some sugar: the amount is up to you, depending on how sweet or tart you want the compote to be. I used 2tbsps.
  5. Pour a small amount of water into the saucepan so the bottom is just covered – I used around 100ml.
  6. Cook over a low heat for about 15 mins till the fruit is soft and crumbling.
  7. If you mind about things like plum peel, now is the time to fish it out. You can stick the whole thing through a sieve, or just pull out anything you don’t like the look of.
  8. Mash with a potato masher or a fork.
Apple and plum compote recipe from Wolves in London
Makes any yoghurt tastier. The finished plum and apple compote

Eat hot as it is or let it cool and store in the fridge. If you’ve more than you can eat in one go, this will also freeze well.

Perfect for using as a topping on yoghurt, rice pudding, porridge, or any other “plain” thing that needs a pep, for dolloping onto muesli, eating by the spoonful, or even as a really fresh spread on toast.

5 thoughts on “The world’s simplest recipe: apple and plum compote

  1. This is great idea- I have some apples and plums that need to be used soon and wasn’t sure what to do with them. Thanks

  2. I’ve already made plum and apple chutney + adjusting the flavour and washing the jars. I’ve got 8 jars of assorted sizes for Christmas presents.BUT I have 5 apples and the remains of a supermarket punnet of plums. Oh says he, you can make another batch of chutney.
    Read your recipe…. no thinks I. I’ll have a bash at that. He’ll think he’s died and gone to heaven if he gets that over a big blob of ice cream.

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