Oma’s Compote Recipe

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 01:33 Written by Flax Tuesday, 9 November 2010 11:23

Oma's Compote Maker

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 golden apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 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 mash.

Refrigerate and serve cold.

Note: If you like, you can add cinnamon, just don’t let Oma know, she hated cinnamon.


  1. shira   |  Tuesday, 09 November 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Hi, Sima. Never thought to add OJ. As we have a golden apple tree -too wormy to eat whole but great for apple sauce- I always make applesauce in winter with the apples. I just cut them up with the water and without anything else. Also delicious, but yours sounds a little tangy which is nice. I will try it. thanks.

  2. mindy   |  Tuesday, 09 November 2010 at 4:41 pm

    sima, this is a beautiful post. i think i will try & make applesause this chanukah. but i still like my candlesticks 🙂

  3. Arie   |  Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I can attest from personal experience that the compote made with this recipe and compote maker is delicious! 🙂

  4. Flax   |  Sunday, 14 November 2010 at 11:19 am

    Thanks Arie,
    A good deed never goes unrewarded. 🙂

  5. esther   |  Monday, 22 November 2010 at 5:07 pm

    my attention was caught by the picture. my mom and bubby always used this kind of food mill for making applesauce, but my mom was sure you couldn’t buy them anymore. a few years back my sister-in-law’s mother found one and sent it to me. since then applesauce has become one of our favourite deserts.
    BTW – i keep any old left over apples – the few slices the kids leave on the plate or in the lunchbox – in the freezer till i have enough for a big potfull. I mix sweet red, yellow and tart green, mix with some cinnamon and oj and away we go.

    of course, in the summer you can use the same method with other fruits, and plums with apples make a beautiful purple sauce! my sister in law mashes up whatever is plentiful (she lives on a moshav and they get crates of whatever doesn’t sell) and then freezes it and they eat it like sorbet.

    all thanks to the good old food mill

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