Who could pass up a compote recipe when perusing an Eastern European Jewish cookbook? Not us! In fact as soon as we decided to craft a Rosh Hashanah menu from The Vilna Vegetarian, we started searching for a compote recipe.
This rhubarb compote is one of Fania Lewando’s recipes that is measured and prepared today exactly as she describes. It’s a simple recipe of water, sugar and fruit, with a unique method for creating as flavorful a syrup as possible. We thought it would make a nice accompaniment to the apple cake for a Rosh Hashanah dessert.
Peel and dice 1 lb. rhubarb. Cook 1½ C sugar with 2 C water. Add half the diced rhubarb to the syrup, and cook about 12 to 15 minutes. Strain out the rhubarb, and cook the remaining rhubarb in the syrup the same way, making sure it does not overcook. Pour the syrup over all the rhubarb, add ½ vanilla bean, and set aside to chill overnight. You will get the best compote from the thickest, reddest rhubarb.
Boil 2 lbs. potatoes and roast 1 lb. beets separately, in their skins. Peel and thinly slice the vegetables. Add 1 thinly sliced Spanish onion and 2 thinly sliced lemons. Add salt and [chopped fresh] dill, and mix well. Serve dressed with [olive] oil and sprinkle with [chopped fresh] dill and green onions.