There’s nothing in the world that makes me feel like the classiest of hostesses than putting together some sort of cheese plate. Sometimes it’s a cheese or two and some pantry items. Sometimes there’s a whole spread with fresh fruit, a variety of olives (praise olive bars!), honey, nuts, bread, crackers, cured meats–the works. It’s always pretty easy to put together, is a crowd pleaser, and really just invites you to linger around for some snacks, drinks, and conversation.
I’m a big fan of sweet and savory, especially when it comes to a cheese plate. There’s just something about a sharp or creamy, salty cheese with the brightness of fruit. This compote brings it with both sweet and savory components, thanks to juicy sour cherries (I used frozen and dried) and lots of fragrant onion. The cherries stay whole in the cooking process and the onions get sweet and caramely from the fruits juices and sugar. I added a few warm spices and herbal sage for some depth. I served this over some soft goat cheese with seeded crackers, a sprinkle of toasty walnuts, and crisp leaves of fried sage. It literally disappeared within minutes.
Side Note: I feel like this has a bit of festive, Halloween flair becuase it looks a little spooky all crimson and syrupy and splattered on the plate–maybe it’s just me and the fact that I’ve been hooked on the Black Tapes and Limetown podcasts. Both of which have me all jumpy and running up the stairs and jumping onto my bed when I turn out the lights at night…I’m an adult, I swear.
- 1½ cups frozen, tart cherries
- ½ cup dried tart cherries
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped sage
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 strips of lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup whiskey
- fried sage leaves and walnuts for garnish*
- Place both cherries, onion, chopped sage, sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, bay leaf, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the compote begins to thicken. Stir in the whiskey, simmer another 10 minutes.
- You can serve this still warm over some soft goat cheese or cold in a dish with any cheese you liked, or even spoon some into the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich!