My Oma (grandmother) was a very special person. Her birthday and her yahrzeit (anniversary of her death) are both on the same day, the second day of Tevet, the last night of Hanukkah. Jewish tradition holds that having a birthday and a yahrzeit on the same day is the sign of someone who is a Zadik. My Oma was outspoken, she had a strong and forceful personality, she might have even offended people at times, but she also had an unlimited faith in G-d’s abundance. My Oma would give a poor person the coat off of her back, saying “They need the coat, I’ll be fine.”
I love that my Oma’s yarzheit is on the last night of Hanukkah, a time when Jews, all over the world are lighting an abundance of candles. I feel that this way my Oma’s neshama (soul) is drawn to visit with whomever might need her.
Hanukkah’s traditional food is latkes (potato pancakes). Latkes are usually accompanied by applesauce. In honor of my Oma’s birthday and yarzhiet I am sharing her very special compote (applesauce) recipe.
My Oma’s house was the Central Food Station. Every Sunday we would visit with her and within seconds of entering the front door she would have us sitting at the table and eating. My personal favorite was her dessert. Compote, made almost always with apples, but sometimes with apples and pears as well. The leftover compote she would send home with us, bottled up in a Maxwell House Coffee Jar, a piece of wax paper under the lid, to prevent the compote from leaking out on the trip home. To this day, whenever I see an empty Maxwell House coffee jar, my mouth starts watering and I start having compote cravings.
I consider myself to be a very lucky person. While my sister, as the eldest daughter, inherited my grandmothers candlesticks, I merited to inherit the object of “lesser” value, my Oma’s compote maker (commonly known as a food mill). Food mills are an almost obsolete kitchen tool, but they certainly simplify the whole compote making process. With a food mill there is no need to peel and core the apples first. Just dump the apples in a pot and when they are soft, push them through the sieve. While my compote maker does make things easier, it is still not a big deal to make compote without one, and boy, people are so impressed to be served home-made applesauce! (As if, what’s the big deal, just most people don’t even think about it. After all, applesauce comes from a jar, no?)
10 organic golden apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup orange juice (or to taste)
At this point I try to use only organic apples as apples are now one of the foods that are GMO and I strongly advise avoiding all GMO products.
Put the water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the apples and simmer for approximately one hour or until the apples are soft. Remove from the flame, add the orange juice and mash.
Refrigerate and serve cold.
The compote is of course the perfect way to accompany latkes. Here is a 75% fat free latke recipe
Note: If you like, you can add cinnamon, just don’t let Oma know, she hated cinnamon. But if you are a cinnamon lover, check out these skincare products which include cinnamon