Polish Twelve Fruit Compote

Polish Twelve Fruit Compote

Fruit compote (kompot) is popular year-round in Poland, but it is especially popular in the fall and winter. It uses summer fruits that have been dried reconstituted with sugar, water, spices and, often liquors.

It is a traditional Christmas Eve (Wigilia) dessert and originally was made with 12 different dried fruits which, according to tradition, represent the 12 apostles.

The Wigilia meal is made from foods that come from the four corners of the earth: forest, sea, field, and orchard. This is why you will see such a rich variety of recipes based on root vegetables, dried mushrooms from the forest, fruit from the orchard, fish from the sea, and pierogi from flour from the field.  

To start the Polish Christmas Eve meal, friends, family, and neighbors will gather around the table for the unique Polish ceremony–the breaking of bread–as a symbol of love, friendship, and forgiveness.  They typically use a white, transparent communion wafer called oplatek.  

Centuries ago, feudal-estate masters would forget the feudal order by inviting the servants to join them in this emotional dinner celebration — uniting friends, enemies, the sick, poor, and lonely. To honor this Polish Christmas tradition, make sure you don’t forget to add an extra place on the table for the lonely traveler who may knock on the door or for loved ones who are far away but may want to join their families in spirit. (Source: polskafoods.com)

Polish Twelve Fruit Compote

Recipe by Lori Fogg, A Coalcracker In The KitchenCourse: Desserts, SidesCuisine: Eastern European, Coal Region, PolishDifficulty: Intermediate

Polish dried fruit compote, known as kompot, is a traditional stewed-fruit dessert for a traditional Christmas Eve dinner, known as Wigilia.


  • 3 cups water

  • 1 pound mixed dried fruit (including pears, figs, apricots and peaches)

  • 1 cup pitted prunes

  • 1/2 cup raisins or 1/2 cup currants

  • 1 cup pitted sweet cherries

  • 2 apples, peeled and sliced or 6 ounces dried apples, slices

  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 lemon, sliced

  • 6 whole cloves

  • 2 cinnamon sticks (approximately 3 inches each)

  • 1 orange

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds or 1/2 cup grapes

  • 1/2 cup fruit-flavored brandy


  • In a large pot, combine water, mixed dried fruits, prunes and raisins. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes, or until the fruits are plump and tender.
  • Add the cherries, apples and cranberries. Stir in sugar, lemon and spices. Cover, simmer 5 minutes.
  • Peel the orange and reserve the peel. Section the orange and add it to pot.
  • Stir in grapes or pomegranate seeds and brandy. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in orange peel.
  • Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
  • Serve warm or chilled.
  • Store in refrigerator up to one week.