250 g (½ lb) cherries (2 cups)
150 g (11/3 lb) strawberries (1 cup)
2 – 3 tbsp agave syrup or honey, preferably acacia or other mild-flavoured honey
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed Cinnamon, ground
125 ml (½ cup) Greek yoghurt, low-fat plain or vanilla
10 g (1/3 oz) almonds (10 -12 whole almonds)
1 tbsp dark chocolate (70%) flakes
Rinse the fruit, remove the cherry pits with a pitter*, hull the strawberries and halve or quarter them to make them a slightly larger size than the cherries. Small berries can be left whole. In a small saucepan bring 100 ml (2/5 cup) of water to a boil together with 2 tablespoons of agave syrup or honey, the lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon. Add the cherries and once bubbling simmer for 2 minutes before stirring in the strawberries. Let simmer uncovered until the strawberries become tender, but not mushy, for around 5 minutes. Taste and add more syrup or honey and cinnamon if required. Place the saucepan in cold water in the kitchen sink or in a large bowl to halt the cooking process. Leave the fruit compote to cool, and serve cold or at room temperature. Spoon the fruit in dessert bowls, add as much of the liquid as required, and top with the yogurt, almonds and chocolate, if using.
This is the brief period when both cherries and strawberries are in season: fragrant and full of flavour you can find them at the Farmer’s Market nearby, so very different from the greenhouse varieties found at the supermarket even during the coldest months of the year. Strawberries and cherries are two of the 20 foods in the Italian Smart Food Diet for their capacity to activate longevity genes and block the genes that cause aging, thanks to their high levels of protective anthocyanins, particularly abundant in the dark coloured cherries, which among many health-promoting properties are anti-inflammatory and anticancer. * If you don’t have a cherry pitter you can easily pit the cherries placing one at a time on an open sturdy bottle and poking a chopstick through it.
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