Apple Compote

2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half
1 tablespoon Calvados or brandy
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
8 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cubed

In a large saucepan, combine the water, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, Calvados, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and bring to a boil. Boil gently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add the apples and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender and the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla bean pods. Let cool to room temperature before serving. (The mixture will thicken as it cools.)
Serve as an accompaniment to breakfast items, such as toast, French toast, waffles, pancakes, or as a topping for ice cream or pound cakes.