My Oma was a very special person. She was born and past away on the same day, 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. If that is what tradition holds, who am I to argue otherwise?
I often wonder, what was it about my grandmother that would merit her being considered a zadik? She was a strong personality. She said what was on her mind, and nobody or nothing stood in her way when she wanted something. Probably not your normal righteous person's personality. If I needed to understand what it was that made her so special, it was her absolute faith that there was abundance in this world and that God would always provide. During the war she would give away her food, saying "they need it, we will be fine." True faith in abundance!
I love that my Oma’s yahrzheit is on the last night of Hanukkah, a time when Jews, all over the world are lighting an absolute multitude, even an abundance of candles. I am comforted by my belief that my Oma’s neshama (soul) is drawn by the light of the candles to visit with whomever might need her. To encourage others to have the same faith in abundance, to turn to God who provides for all and to know that we shall not lack.
In her memory, I am sharing with you my favorite recipe of hers, her compote recipe. Every Sunday we would go to my grandparents house for lunch. Dessert would be my favorite part, cookies and compote. The leftovers would come home with us in a Maxwell house coffee jar, closed with piece of wax paper on top to prevent spillage. To this day an empty jar of Maxwell House coffee jar gets my mouth watering with compote cravings.
The compote recipe also ties in beautifully with her yahrzeit as applesauce is often served as a side dish to accompany the traditional Hanukkah potato latkes. And FYI serving some home made applesauce is a game changer, everybody is super impressed with home made applesauce. No idea as to why since it's really not complicated to make but people think that you outdid yourself if you make your own applesauce. So if you are trying to impress anyone, here's your ticket to fame.
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 (more 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.
10 golden apples, peeled and cored
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup orange juice (or to taste)
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 put through the food mill or blend with an immersion blender.
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.
In memory of my grandmothers Yahrzeit I am offering a FREE GIFT of a massage candle with every purchase. Offer is good through the 8 days of Chanukah.