In January, I blogged about a traditional Shabbat dinner that I cooked with my friends Etti and Bella Hadar. Etti had a family a memoir written by her late uncle, Dov Shimon Levin, a soldier in the Jewish Infantry Brigade who fought the Nazis during World War II. In his memoir, he wrote a detailed account of his life in the Pinsk region of Poland prior to the war. Being a lover of Ashkenazi cuisine, Uncle Dov wrote some amazing descriptions of the foods he enjoyed as a child. Etti and I pieced together a menu from the memoirs and recreated a traditional Polish Shabbat dinner using their family recipes.
Reading through Uncle Dov’s memoir, we came upon a dish called Marak Perot. It was the first time I’d ever heard of the dessert. Marak Perot translates in Hebrew to “Fruit Soup,” which is a pretty accurate description. In Yiddish, it is called “Compote.” It’s a dessert made from dried and fresh fruits, water, sugar, and lemon juice. When chilled it is very refreshing, a nice light way to end a heavy meal (like the Seder!).
The Marak Perot that appears here is the family recipe of Etti and her mother Bella. Once you get the idea feel free to improvise on the dish, adding your favorite fruits and spices to change things up. It can also be pureed for a sauce-like texture. This dish is Pareve and Kosher for Passover. Enjoy!
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MARAK PEROT (COMPOTE)
3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup dried apricots
2 cups prunes
¾ cup raisins
¼ cup sugar
Juice from ½ a lemon (or more to taste)
Makes about 8 dessert portions
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover
Passover Note: If you’re making this dish for Passover, make sure your packaged products are certified Kosher for Passover.
Place all ingredients in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, add ¼ cup sugar. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer on low for 1 ½ hours, until the water becomes a thick syrup and the prunes begin to dissolve. Remove mixture from heat and let it slowly return to room temperature. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice in, adding more to taste if desired.
Put in the refrigerator until it is fully chilled, at least 2 hours. Serve by ¾ cup portions in glass compote dishes.