Growing up, my paternal grandmother hosted Rosh Hashanah dinners, the traditional, festive and elegant menu repeated itself year after year with very little variation. There were a few items on the menu that we always looked forward to and always made their appearance on the table. Leek patties, whole fish with the head to symbolize fertility, a new fruit of the season, often pomegranates and this apple jam to symbolize a sweet year just to name a few.
My grandmother hosted the dinners and my mom made her special apple jam. The jam is quite simple; apples, sugar, lemon juice and mastic. Mastic is what makes the jam so special; it becomes fragrant as soon as it is added to the hot jam and leaves a delicate aftertaste. While I am huge fan of mastic, it is important to make sure not to add too much as when it’s used in large amounts, it has a tendency to overpower the taste of the other ingredients, and here the star ingredient is the apple, therefore to let the apple flavor shine, there should just be a hint of mastic.
- 4 medium apples (I used golden delicious)
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Small piece of mastic
Peel and grate the apples, toss with the lemon juice as you grate so the apples don’t turn brown. Place the grated apples and the sugar in a medium noncorrosive pot over medium high heat, cook the apples stirring frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated and the apples are cooked. Using a mortar and pestle, crush a small piece of mastic with a teaspoon of sugar, add to the jam, stir, turn off the heat and place the jam in a jar until ready to serve.