Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Hosaf" (Dried Fruit Compote)



I've made reference to our trip last Summer to different European countries.

My prized souvenirs are cookbooks from each country.

I'm not sure, of the 4 cookbooks, which is my favorite, but I surely enjoy the one I purchased while in Greece.

I'll tell the quick story:

We were in an open air market in Greece, searching through antiques and junk.

Along the perimeter of where we were shopping were business.

In typical European fashion, outside one of the restaurants was a young man leaning against the doorframe, as if to summon customers into his restaurant.

When he heard our English, he asked where we were from, as he had studied in the States when he was in school.

That question led to a great conversation and he invited us into the restaurant which he and his mother owned. 

We sampled all sorts of incredible foods that afternoon and when I told him that I would love to have a cookbook because of the great experience we had just had, he showed me the cookbook that his mother had completed; both in Greek and English!

If you're ever in Athens, try Café Avissinia where Ketty and Nikolas are serving incredible Mediterranean food!

This dish, Nikolas served to us with Greek yogurt. 

I also like it with pork or chicken, or even stirred into oatmeal.

Hosaf

1 teacup*dried prunes
1 teacup unsalted, roasted almonds or walnuts**
1 teacup dried apricots, chopped
1 teacup raisins
1 teacup dried figs, chopped
1 teacup dried pineapple, chopped
6 whole star anise or 2 sticks cinnamon
2-3 teacups sugar

Place all of the ingredients, except for the sugar and spices, in a large bowl and cover with water and leave to soak 3-4 hours or overnight.

Pour the fruit and water into a large pan and add the star anise or the cinnamon sticks.  Bring the water to a bowl.  Add the sugar and continue to boil over high heat until the syrup thickens.  This does take awhile.  Stirring often so that the sugar does not burn.

Place the compote into a container and refrigerate.  Serve with yogurt, over pork, or in oatmeal.

*This is how Ketty has the recipe written.  I did use a teacup, because I have several.  However, I think what is important is that you keep the measurements equal.  So if you want to use a 1 cup measuring cup, great!  Or if you want a smaller amount, use a 1/2 cup measuring cup. 

**I used walnuts, as it's what I had on hand.  Whichever nut you use, I would suggest chopping them slightly.

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