Orange, Grapefruit & Green Grape Compote

grapefruit, orange, and green grape compote

This is the post I meant to write back on January 7th, when I was eating croque monsieur and thought you should, too. I still feel bad about that one.

Is it too late to make things right? I hope not. Because this little mixture of orange, grapefruit and slivered grapes tossed together with citrus sugar and freshly squeezed juice couldn’t taste more right than right now. My aunt, the one who makes pies and Vermont Cheddar Cheese soup and baked fontina, discovered it 10 years ago, and we’ve been making it every winter since.

It’s fresh and light and makes an elegant dessert or a nice addition to any breakfast or brunch. And while it’s simple in theory to throw together — fruit and sugar are tossed with fresh juice — somehow it takes more time to assemble than you might anticipate. But don’t let that deter you. All of the zesting and supreming and slivering are worth every effort. One bite of this compote* will send those winter blues packin’!

Have a great weekend, Everyone.

*Probably not technically a compote since it’s not cooked, but that was the title Gourmet gave to it back in 2003, so I’m sticking with it.


citrus sugar

peeled oranges and grapefruits

citrus segments

mixing the fruit

grapefruit, orange, and green grape compote

Orange, Grapefruit & Green Grape Compote

Source: Gourmet 2003


  • 6 navel oranges
  • 2 large grapefruit
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 lb. seedless green grapes (1 1/3 cups), quartered lengthwise


  1. Finely grate zest from 2 oranges and 1 grapefruit into a small bowl and stir in sugar. Massage with fingers to incorporate the zest and sugar together. Set aside.
  2. Cut peel, including all white pith, from oranges and grapefruit with a sharp knife, then, working over a large bowl, cut segments free from membranes, letting segments fall into bowl. Squeeze enough juice from membranes to measure 1/2 cup, then add to citrus segments with grapes and 3 tablespoons of the citrus sugar. Very gently toss the fruit — some of the pieces inevitably will fall apart, which is OK — with a large spoon, and serve with remaining sugar on the side.


  1. Molly says

    Those colors are stunning! Do you think serving it with some kind of custard or pudding would ruin it? Looks lovely.

    • says

      What are you thinking? Like a creme patissiere? If so, I think it would be delicious! It is really good on its own, too, however. ‘Light light’ as my grandmother would say!

  2. Kate says

    How many would this serve (say small servings) 6-8?
    I want to make it for a brunch I’m having next week, but there will be 10 people. I’m thinking of doubling it. (Or will I be up all night the night before elbow-deep in citrus juice?!)

    • says

      Kate, hi, you just might be up all night elbow-deep in citrus juice :) No really, maybe do 1.5 times the fruit? And, I don’t think you need to increase the zest-sugar amount because you’re supposed to pass half of the citrus sugar on the side anyway — I actually often just toss the fruit together with all of the zest-sugar. I hope you make this! It is so good. We usually eat half in one night and half the following morning. It is so light and refreshing.

  3. says

    I encourage children to bake every single day with your recipe for peasant bread at my work at Cartoon- Cuts. I introduce them to your site and tell them of all the wonderful things you make. I have made the peasant bread, and the pizza the No- Stock French onion soup. I know a lot of vegetarians who have loved your recipes. They might only be children but it speaks volumes when a child will eat their vegetables. love all of the lovely recipes Alexandra. So many are like what my Grandma would make when I was a little girl, back when she cooked. She is 95 and doesn’t cook anymore. Nice to tastes again those memories. thank yo so much.

    • says

      Oh, Maurina, thank you so much for your nice comment. It means so much to hear all of these things. I am so impressed that you have gotten so many children to make bread. What a gift to share! I bet these children will always remember the time in the kitchen with you. Happy to hear about the vegetables, too. Nothing makes me happier than to see my kids eat their steamed broccoli and green beans. Thanks so much for writing in :)

    • says

      David, hi! So fun to see you here! It makes a serious mess, right? But it’s so good. I hope you and the family liked it. Go Choate! I’m reading Prep right now. Brings back so many funny memories. Hope all is well!

    • says

      I think you could use honey. The thing with the sugar is that you kind of make a citrus-zest sugar, and you just wont be able to do that with the honey, but it’s totally fine. Still use the zest — it adds a nice flavor — and just whisk some of the honey with the juice so help it dissolve. Make sense?

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