Khochaf: Middle Eastern Fruit Compote

Suzy Benghiat’s Middle Eastern Cooking (1984) has a recipe for a fruit salad made with dried fruit (Khochaf or Khoshaf). The idea is so simple: just hydrate dried fruit in water and sweeten with a little bit of apricot paste. You serve the fruit topped with nuts (pistachios, almonds and walnuts) as a dessert. I remember seeing this served as part of a breakfast buffet at a fancy hotel in Israel. Imagine this over Greek yogurt, topped with some granola.

This dessert is made with different mixtures of dried fruit. Suzy Benghiat calls for 2/3 cup raisins, 2/3 cup sultanas, 3/4 dried peaches, 1 1/2 cups dried apricots and a 4″ piece of apricot paste (optional). I used a couple of packages of mixed dried fruit which included pears, peaches, apricots, and prunes.

To make this dessert, just put the dried fruit in a container and cover with water. Cover the container and put in the fridge for a few days. The fruit will absorb the water and swell up. To my sugared-up American palate, the fruit tastes a bit bland and watered down without some sugar added. I drained off the soaking liquid after a couple of soaking in the fridge and added sugar (1/2 cup sugar for every cup of water). I boiled the syrup down a bit and poured the warm syrup back over the fruit, with some added vanilla and cinnamon (lemon rind would have been nice, too). A more traditional Middle Eastern flavoring would be orange water or rose water.

The end result tastes like fruit compote–the traditional kind that is simmered on the stove.  The plumped up fruit can also be added to tzimmes.

This could be a nice thing to serve for the holidays (it would be great on Passover, or sweetened with honey instead of sugar for Rosh Hashana).

Other ideas: instead of sweetening with sugar, use apricot nectar or orange juice. Or, you can try hydrating it with water, and then add Silan (date honey or regular honey to taste).

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One Response to “Khochaf: Middle Eastern Fruit Compote”

  1. Lauren Says:

    Oh yum yum yum–I can imagine how amazing this would be with Greek yogurt! Now that’s what I want for dinner!

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