Savta’s Tu Bishvat winter compote

A quick and easy dessert of breakfast option - or any-time snack


On the inside of the door of my Savta’s fridge there were always two large glass jars that had once held instant coffee, filled continuously with her delicious compote. She would always offer this as a snack if we were hungry. Not always a child’s first choice for nosh, but my Saba always had a hidden stash of Kit-Kats.

Nonetheless, I loved the sweet and lemony combination of dried fruit and winter fruits.

She always served it for Tu Bishvat – not that she made it especially; but if we happened to be at her house on the day and someone told her what it was Tu Bishvat, out it would come!

Compote conformed to the medieval belief that fruit cooked in sugar syrup balanced the effects of humidity in the body. Because it was easy to prepare, made from inexpensive ingredients and parev, compote became a staple of Jewish households throughout Europe.

Ilana Epstein co-founded food education charity Ta’am

Instagram: judaismonaplate

  • Use a vegetable peeler
to remove 3 strips of zest from the orange, and 2 from the lemon.
  • Juice them into a bowl.Put the juice to one side.
  • Put the zest in a large pan with the water, sugar, cinnamon and star anise.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and core pears and apples, then cut each fruit into 5cm-thick slices.
  • Stir in the figs, apricots, plums, and raisins and simmer for a further 5 minutes,
  • Add the pears and apples and simmer for 10 minutes more or until the fruit is tender but not mushy, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the juice.
  • Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  • Discard the zest, cinnamon, and star anise before serving.


1 large orange

1 juicy lemon

830ml water

100g sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise

2 large ripe pears

2 Granny Smith apples

2 Pink Lady apple

150g dried figs

190g dried apricots

125 prunes

40g raisins

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive