Photo: Ronnie Fein
by Ronnie Fein, KitchenVignettes.com
I’m the kind of cook who likes modern, creative dishes, so I’m always inventing and trying new recipes. But holidays are different, especially Passover. Although I might add a new recipe or two to a holiday meal, I tend to make many of the same foods my Mom and grandma made. And so, years ago, at my first Seder I cooked the family recipes including grandma’s dried fruit compote, which she lovingly called “kumput.”
Unfortunately my kids hated it and so did my husband. I never made it again. And then, a couple of years ago we traveled to Egypt and I saw this familiar looking dish on practically every breakfast and dessert buffet table. It’s called Khoshaf, but it sure looked like grandma’s kumput. Frankly, it was better, probably because the fruit isn’t stewed, like grandma’s was. In fact Khoshaf isn’t cooked at all, so the fruit never completely softens. It isn’t mushy, the way I remember kumput. It stays firm and pleasantly chewy after soaking in hot, sweet syrup.
I tried it out on my family and they loved it too. To be quite honest, Khoshaf is actually a Muslim specialty that is often served to break the Ramadan fast. So it may seem an odd choice for a Jewish festival. But to me it will always be grandma’s kumput and belongs at my Seder.
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup apricot nectar or mango juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange flower water, rosewater or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 lemon or orange cut into quarters
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup prunes or dried plums
1 cup dried figs, halved or quartered, depending on size
1 cup raisins
Chopped pistachio nuts
Combine the water, apricot nectar and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until slightly syrupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the flavoring.
Place the apricots, plums, figs and raisins in a bowl. Pour the cooked syrup over the fruit and toss ingredients. Let rest for at least one hour, tossing the ingredients occasionally.
Sprinkle with nuts and serve.
Yield: Makes 6-8 servings
Recipes: Passover, Side Dishes, Dried Fruit, Sweet, Parve, Kosher