Marak Perot – Compote

Marak Perot - Compote, Eastern European Jewish Recipe

This recipe is one of the first dishes that appeared on my blog. It has been updated and rephotographed for 2014!

Not long after I started this blog, I wrote 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 the term. Marak perot is Hebrew for “fruit soup,” which is a pretty accurate description. It’s more widely known as “compote,” a dessert made from dried and fresh fruits, water, sugar and lemon juice. The fruit is slowly simmered as a soup, then chilled. It makes for a very refreshing dessert, a light and lovely way to end a heavy meal.

The marak perot recipe that appears here is from the Levin family memoirs. Once you get the basic concept 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. Oh, and… by the way… the recipe includes prunes. Don’t cringe, please. When did prunes earn such a stigma? Let’s all agree to drop the collective prune disdain, shall we? Or we can just call them dried plums, if that makes you more comfortable… a little rebranding, long overdue, for an under-appreciated and tasty treat!

Are you familiar with this dessert? What do you call it– marak perot, compote, fruit soup or something different?

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Marak Perot - Compote, Eastern European Jewish Recipe

Marak Perot - Compote

Ingredients

  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups dried plums
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or use your favorite sweetener to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Total Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes
Servings: 6
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover
  • Place apples, dried plums, dried apricots and raisins in a pot and cover 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, stir in sugar till dissolved.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the water becomes a thick syrup and the prunes begin to dissolve. Remove the lid for the last 10-15 minutes of cooking so the liquid reduces.
  • Remove fruit from heat and let it slowly return to room temperature. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice in, adding more to taste if desired. The lemon juice brightens up the flavor tremendously.
  • Marak Perot - Compote, Eastern European Jewish RecipePut the fruit in the refrigerator until it is fully chilled, at least 2 hours. Serve by ¾ cup portions in glass compote dishes.

Comments (93)Post a Comment

  1. Hi Tori!

    Been following your blog for a few days now — a friend turned me onto you through facebook! Thanks for blogging so regularly — I’m still going back through your earlier posts! I’m an avid cook, and I’m definitely going to use this fruit soup recipe for dessert at this year’s seder!

    Best,
    Mia

  2. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This looks amazing! Would you serve this by itself if you pureed it, or maybe with some cookies or something like that?

  3. I love the title and the idea of your blog.I am “half” Jewish; my father was Jewish and my mother Presbyterian. So now I am agnostic; however I love Jewish cooking and identify more with the Jewish side. I can make a lot of Jewish dishes, including Challah, Latkes, etc.

  4. this is something my Polish MIL makes during the holidays. Marak Perot means fruit soup in Hebrew (soup fruit actually), I wonder where Uncle Dov picked up Hebrew?

  5. Hi Sarah, Uncle Dov immigrated to Israel after the war… that’s where he learned Hebrew. :)

    Wisconsin I usually eat it plain without cookies, it’s sweet and satisfying all on its own.

    Cara and Kathryn, welcome! Happy to have you here.

    1. Kimberly, don’t you mean “trifle”? Also has cake and liquor, as well as the custard and fruit.

  6. every Passover we have prunes and apricots for dessert at our sedar. I never thought of it as anything other than it was our special Passover dessert. I am going to try it with apples – not so sure on the raisins – but thanks for the memory since I DID NOT have it this year :)

  7. Fruit Compote and my grandma always served it with heavy cream and called it dessert. As far as I was concerned, fruit wasn’t dessert…chocolate cake was. I have since come to appreciate fruit compote but it took decades for that to occur.

  8. This food was funny to me because while I converted to Judaism after college, I had grown up eating this food and was surpised to see it served at a Seder table. My family called it Norwegian Fruit Soup commonly served at holidays in addition to Glogg ;)

  9. Love all your recipes! One question : should we put the raisins in with all of the other fruit to cook? Many thanks.

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