A Russian Rosh Hashanah delight

Miriam Amdur photo

There’s something different about Rosh Hashanah in Canada. It has almost become synonymous with things like the start of cooler weather, apple picking, and warm drinks. These elements have made their way into one of my favourite Russian treats, kompot, (compote).

Kompot is a thick fruit juice with deep Eastern European roots. As a way of preserving fruits for the winter, people would store kompot by the litres. In fact, during Soviet times, one of the indicators of an equipped household was how much kompot a family had managed to reserve for the cold weather.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of variations of the recipe mainly because you can use almost any fruit. The French have even put their own twist by creating a puree of cooked fruits with an apple base, and some people choose to add a kick with a bit of alcohol.

My recipe takes its hints from autumn flavours and as an ode to Rosh Hashanah, has a big splash of pomegranate juice. It’s simple and fast to make so it won’t take up too much of your precious family/big holiday dinner meal prep time. One more thing: kompot can be served hot or cold, but this drink tastes better warm. A pro-tip is to also include a spoon so that your guests can finish off by digging for the fruits at the bottom of their cups. They’ll love it – I promise!


Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes



  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 red apples
  • 3 pears
  • 3 cups of pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon



  1. Gently wash the apples and pears in a large bowl. Cut the fruits into small squares.
  2. Pour water, apples and pears into a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add in the pomegranate juice, sugar, honey, and cinnamon. (Note: You can choose to reduce the cinnamon by 50 per cent if you would like the pomegranate flavour to be more prominent.) Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes to ensure the fruits do no lose their shape.
  4. Let the kompot cool. Serve hot.