Cranberry and pear compote

  • Makes 4 x 200ml jars
  • A little tricky

Make this fruity cranberry and pear compote - perfect with roast turkey, goose or chicken or cheese.

Compote in saucepan

Cranberries are available for  a few short weeks before Christmas; their mouth-puckering acidity perfectly complements the rich fare of the season. I’ve made this compote for a number of years now and love the balance between sweet pears and tart berries. A delightful all-rounder, this compote sits comfortably with roast turkey, goose or chicken, and is also good with soft creamy cheese on savoury cheese scones. You can combine it with Stilton and walnuts to fill filo parcels, which make excellent canapés. 

Make this fruity cranberry and pear compote – perfect with roast turkey, goose or chicken or cheese from expert preserver Pam Corbin, aka Pam the Jam.



  • Fresh cranberries 250g
  • Water 200ml
  • Cooking apples 350g, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • Conference pears 350g, slightly underripe
  • Granulated sugar 50-100g
  • Port 50ml, optional


  • Step 1

    Sterilise your jars and twist-on lids in a water bath. Leave in the pan until ready to fill.

  • Step 2

    Put the cranberries and measured water in a roomy pan and bring to the boil over a gentle heat. Cook for several minutes, until the skins split. Add the apples and continue to cook until soft, stirring occasionally.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, peel and halve the pears. Remove the cores by scooping around the centre with a teaspoon, then chop into approximately 1–2cm pieces  (the total weight should now be about 250g). Add the pears to the pan and lightly cook for 3–4 minutes until the pieces of pear are hot throughout, stirring from time to time to prevent the pears catching (pears don’t break down like apples and the pieces will remain whole to give the compote an appetising texture). Sprinkle in the sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the port, if using.

  • Step 4

    Using tongs, carefully lift the jars from the water bath and put on a folded tea towel or wooden surface. Spoon the compote into the jars, filling to the brim and lightly tapping the jars on the work surface to knock out any pockets of air. Seal immediately.

  • Step 5

    Cranberry and pear compote
    The unopened compote should keep up to six months/Credit: Suzy Bennett

    Return the sealed jars to the water bath so they’re completely immersed, and bring to a simmer for five minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the pan and leave to cool on a folded tea towel or wooden surface.

  • Step 6

    Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to six months. Keep in the fridge once opened and use within five days.