It might seem odd to use oregano in a sweet recipe as it really isn't that common, but trust me, this works so well. We have all become more and more accustomed to herbs traditionally used in savoury cooking appearing in desserts, think of a lemon and rosemary cake, a pear and thyme cake. How about a herbaceous basil ice cream, all much more commonplace these days but this isn't the case with oregano. It still seems a little unusual in a sweet dish and to be honest I wasn't 100% sure it would be a success, but when Schwartz asked me to try it I accepted the challenge and this is the result. When thinking about how herbs blend with sweet flavours there a few common themes but the main one is lemon, it really helps bridge the gap between the sweet and the savoury, it gives balance. The key to making any herb pairing like this work is balance and think of the lemon and the stuff that holds the whole recipe together. Use too much of any herb and the balance will be thrown off and use too little and well you just cant taste it. When playing around with this recipe I found the compote could stand up to a fair amount of the oregano, because the berries aren't the most assertive flavour for a fruit but more mellow and gently sweet the oregano didn't fight too much and just blends together really well. It gives the blueberries a wonderful depth and the herbaceous flavour adds really interest and actually intensifies the flavour in the compote.
You could serve this compote on waffles or pancakes with maple syrup, which would be a divine combination, or you can use it as I have as the topping for a simple summertime cake. The cake is made with the same combination of lemon and oregano but in a gentler way, it’s less upfront a flavour but the inclusion of these flavours helps it pair wonderfully with the compote. In the compote, the lemon is the bridge that connects the two ingredients but in the full recipe with the cake and the compote, the bridge is a white chocolate cream. The three elements together create a wonderful dessert that may seem unusual at first but which are a great way to play with different flavours and try something new. The compote recipe is below but if you would like the full recipe visit the Schwartz blog here.
This recipe and post was sponsored by Schwartz.
Blueberry Oregano Compote
juice of 1 lemon
60g caster sugar
2 tsp Schwartz Oregano
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaped tsp cornflour
To make the compote place half of the blueberries and all the lemon juice, sugar, vanilla and oregano into a small saucepan and cook over medium/low heat for 10-15 minutes until the berries have started to break down and they have released a lot of juice. Add the remaining berries and stir to combine. Place the cornflour into a small bowl and add a few spoonfuls of the blueberry juice and mix until smooth. Scrape the cornflour slurry into the pan and cook for a few minutes until the compote has thickened. This compote is pretty low on sugar, you could cook it longer to reduce and thicken the liquid but the berries will break down further and the compote will taste sweeter and the joy of this is that is bright and just sweet enough, the cornflour therefore helps to thicken the compote in place of the sugar. Pour the compote into bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed.
To use the compote I have paired it with a simple lemon and oregano cake with a white chocolate cream, for that recipe head over here.