Thursday, January 08, 2009

January 5, 2009: Strawberry and basil compote

I've made a dessert pesto before but this one's much truer to the traditional version, actually containing basil and pine nuts! The recipe belongs to Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once, and she posted this intriguing strawberry and basil compote about a year ago. I could well have let the perfect strawberry-and-basil season pass again, except that she noted it in her blog highlights of 2008.

The basil and pine nuts are teamed with icing sugar for the sweet pesto underlying this dessert. As I taste-tested it I was a little unsure - the basil I'd used was not great and it all seemed a bit bitter - but once topped with the macerated strawberries it won me over completely! I started with just a smidge of green on my strawberry-laden spoon, but rapidly ramped up the ratio as I continued eating. It won't be to everyone's taste, but a pesto with more sugar and nuts and less basil just might charm the less adventurous eater.

Strawberry and basil compote

Wash and dice some strawberries, place them in a bowl and sprinkle them with icing sugar. Stir the sugar through and allow the mixture to macerate for at least 15 minutes.

In a food processor, blend together fresh basil, pine nuts and icing sugar - choose the proportions to your taste, remembering that the strawberries will be quite sweet. Keep a bit of texture to the pesto - you don't want a completely smooth paste.

Spoon the pesto into the bottom of your serving cups, then the strawberries (and some of their juice) over the top. Garnish with more basil, if you like.


  1. Oooh, sounds intriguingly good! If I have really nice strawberries I sometimes have them with balsamic vinegar and black pepper...

  2. I'm always a bit wary of basil (and mint) in fruit things, but it does sound interesting!

  3. Wow, sounds interesting! Basil & lemon sorbet has been a summery favourite of mine for awhile, but this sounds crazy! Maybe I will try with almonds instead of pinenuts... hmm.

  4. Claire, though I've read about it I haven't yet tried strawberries with pepper - but I will, before this season's bounty disappears. :-)

    AVAT, it's interesting all right, but might not be your thing if you already don't like mint with fruit... I guess there's only one way to find out. :-)

    Penny, basil and lemon sorbet sounds lovely - perhaps I should experiment with more basil desserts this summer!

  5. Haalo blew my mind, and the sugared basil did something similar to my taste buds. :-)

  6. How cool is that? I would have never thought to do that. Yum!

  7. Hiya Squishy! I'd never have imagined it either. :-)