This recipe is a really great way to use up prunes that are too old and hard to eat but still good enough that you don’t want to throw them away. Seeing as there are only six ingredients, the recipe itself isn’t very complicated and even resembles one of my great aunt’s Dalmatian recipes in it’s ease and ambiguity. Like her old, yellow tinged, tomato stained notebook would say, cook it to taste and not a moment longer. If you’d like it thicker and more jam-like, cook the compote longer with the lid uncovered. If you’d like it more like a compote, add more liquid. If you feel it needs salt, by all means, add as much as you’d like.
Dalmatia is a coastline region in the south of Croatia that had been part of the Venetian empire for hundreds of years. You can notice this heritage both in the Dalmatian dialect and in their cuisine, which is flavored richly with nuts, dried fruits, cinnamon & wine. The same history goes for Istria, the coastline at the very north of the country which borders with Slovenia and is only an hour away from Italy via boat. The photo underneath was taken this summer in Rovinj, a bilingual Italian-Croatian city in Istria where traditional dishes steeped in port are rightfully king.
Prunes & wine are an especially common combination in both regions and can be found in both meat dishes and desserts. Here, I switched the recipe up a little, adding Shiraz instead of the traditional port, dates for sweetness instead of sugar and a little vanilla for extra depth. I chilled it in the fridge, layered it with some Greek yogurt and pistachios and had it for breakfast. Wine for breakfast?? o pa naravno! – but of course!
500 g prunes (about 2 cups)
2 cups port (or any sweeter red wine, I like Shiraz)
100 grams dates (less than half a cup)
1 tbsp vanilla beans
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp orange zest
- Mix all ingredients except for orange zest in a medium sized saucepan or pot, bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to low and cook for about an hour, adding water if you feel the mixture is too thick.
- Stir in orange zest and either cook longer (for more of a jam) or add a little more wine to thin the mixture out.
- Cool and eat with gelato, crème fraîche, granola or as I like to do, with vanilla Greek yogurt