A Sparkling Vintage Life

French Women for All Seasons

Make a Pear-Apple Compote (31 Days to a Sparkling Vintage Fall, Day 27)

pearsI love pears even more than apples. I remember how, as a thrifty college student studying in France, I would buy a bag of the most delicious, juicy pears at the market and practically gorge on them back in my tiny, cell-like room. To this day, the distinctive flavor of pears transports me back to that time and place.

I was thrilled to stumble upon this extremely simple compote in French Women for All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano. (Compote dates back to Europe in the Middle Ages, and can either refer to either a dessert of fruit soaked and/or cooked in syrup, or to the dish that holds such a dessert.)

Mireille Giuliano’s Pear-Apple Compote

1 lb. apples
2/3 lb. pears
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons honey

Peel, core, and dice the apples and pears. Pour lemon juice over them and toss. Into a heavy pan pour 1/2 cup water and the fruit mixture. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the fruit from sticking or burning.

With a fork, crush the fruit coarsely while continuing to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the excess water evaporates. Remove from the heat, add the honey, and mix gently. Serve lukewarm or cold (if you store it in the fridge, take it out 30 minutes before serving.)

An Apple a Day (31 Days of a Sparkling Vintage Fall, Day 5)


Nothing evokes the taste of autumn like the first bite of a fresh, crisp apple. Experts say the mellow days of October produce the sweetness, while the cool nights produce the tartness, and the combination is extraordinary. One of my very favorite ways to eat a delicious apple is the following recipe for Jarlsberg, Apple, and Mushroom Salad, from French Women for All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano.

Jarlsberg, Apple, and Mushroom Salad

1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced (Crimini recommended)
1 medium Golden Delicious apple, cored and cut into thin slices
3 Tb. lemon juice

For the dressing:

2 Tb. red wine vinegar
2 Tb. Meaux mustard
9 Tb. walnut oil
2 Tb. freshly chopped parsley
Pinch of curry
Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 oz. Jarlsberg cheese cut into strips
1 large head lettuce, rinsed and dried, leaves torn

Sprinkle the mushroom and apple slices with the lemon juice. Mix all the dressing ingredients together, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mushroom-apple mixture and cheese to the dressing. Toss gently with the lettuce. Serve immediately. (Serves 6)

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