Plums and star anise form a brilliant and novel pairing. Although you don't eat it, we like to leave the star anise in the syrup because it looks so beautiful; you can remove it if you prefer. Serve the compote with pound cake or butter cookies.
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar, more if the plums are tart
8 whole star anise
2 pounds red and/or black plums (about 9), halved and pitted
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
How to Make It
In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, water, sugar, and star anise and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat.
Add the plums. Bring the poaching liquid back to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the plums are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the plums and their liquid into a glass or stainless-steel bowl and let cool. Stir in the lemon juice.
Variations : You can use red wine instead of white.: Add several strips of orange zest to the saucepan along with the star anise.