Michelle’s Italian Plum Compote


Photography by Angie Norwood Browne

Large batch for canning:

4-6 quarts Italian plums (or other variety)

12 whole star anise-they’re gorgeous!

2 whole vanilla beans, split

6 cinnamon sticks

Wash, halve and pit enough plums to fill a large/deep roasting pan or Dutch oven/heavy duty pot.

Put plums, and your choice of spices (experiment with cardamom, clove, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper…) in the the pan on low to start, until the plums release a little liquid. Once they’ve gotten a bit juicy, raise the heat to medium low and simmer for about 45 minutes, covered. Stir gently now and then, trying to keep plums in distinct halves. If it seems too runny, uncover and reduce liquid until desired consistency.

Pour into prepared jars and boil in water bath for 20-25 minutes. Voila!

Smaller batch for eating pronto:

4 cups of prepared plums

1 cinnamon stick

4 star anise

1/2 vanilla bean, split

Follow directions above. This will cook faster, so you can start right before making pancakes and it will be ready as you flip the final flapjack on your plate!

Italian plum compote is delicious (and the most sublime magenta color) on your morning Scottish oats, pancakes, waffles, Ebelskivers, Dutch babies, crepes… also yummy cold with yogurt.


About anbphoto

I never thought I'd start a blog because I'm not a writer. I am a Southern Catholic girl, a commercial food Photographer and an avid gardener. I have always wanted to journal my garden; growing food (fruit, herbs and vegetables), photographing ingredients from earth to plate and sharing the recipes I love. Someone suggested that I forget about all the writing and simply share my photographs and recipes. Perfect! My blog is an exploration of home gardening and cooking, so here is a little history of me and how "Stray Cats and Blackberries" came about. Born and raised in Alabama, my love for food lies in Southern cuisine. I learned early on that life is a party revolving around friends and family sharing food and wine. Backyard Summer bbqs, black eyed peas and collard greens on New Year's Day or ham and chocolate on Easter are just a few favorite Southern traditions I love sharing. I became fascinated with gardening when my husband and I bought our first house. I am a mother, a wife and someone who appreciates the little treasures and traditions in life. My garden started as an empty parking lot behind a Mom & Pop grocery store that my husband and I bought and renovated into a photography studio. While my husband put on his carpenter pants I put on my gardening gloves. Thirteen dumpsters at three tons each and nearly three years later I had a plantable space to sew seeds. I have been a food photographer and gardener for over 20 years and love the idea of merging my passions by growing food, photographing my harvest and sharing recipes with you. Enjoy


  1. Michael Stearns

    Great photos Angie! I love that compote. Reminds me of the plum tree I climbed in our back yard as a kid. I’ll try that recipe some time soon. BTW – Your model—she’s a real looker! The bees knees!

  2. Michelle Perkins

    Thank you, Angie! A great way to spend an afternoon… hanging out with my friend, cooking, canning, drinking wine and getting a jumpstart on my holiday prep! Nice photos, too.

  3. What a wonderful looking compote – the plums are beautiful!

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