Apple ‘Spoon’ Preserves (Mylo Tou Koutaliou) 48.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Sep 4, 2018

Preserved or candied fruits called “spoon sweets” are the first thing served in Greek Jewish homes when someone comes to visit, especially on holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. In addition to apple, which is traditionally eaten then, the sweets are made from orange or grapefruit peel, sour cherries or quince, depending on what's in season.

In some other parts of the former Ottoman Empire, including Turkey, Jews also broke the Yom Kippur fast with these sweets, which get their name from being served from a dish on a tray with individual spoons, along with glasses of water.

Using a couple of tart apples along with the lemon counterbalances the sweetness.

To read the accompanying story, see: For this Greek immigrant, Jewish New Year brings back sweet memories — and foods — of home.

Make Ahead: The preserves can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 48 servings; makes about 3 cups

  • 5 medium-to-large apples (a combination of red and green; see headnote)
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash ground cinnamon, plus more for serving (optional)
  • Chopped shelled, unsalted pistachios, walnuts or almonds, for garnish (optional)


Rinse and peel the apples, reserving the peels in a separate bowl. Cut the fruit into quarters and core the pieces, placing them in a mixing bowl as you work. Along with the peels, save the seeds and everything else that is cut out when coring the pieces. Toss the apple pieces with half the lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Place the reserved peels and seeds in a small saucepan with 1 cup of the water; bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium; cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Push down the peels into the water a few times as needed to make sure all the pieces stay submerged. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, shred the apple pieces in a food processor or on the large-holed side of a box grater. Return to their bowl and toss with the remaining lemon juice.

Combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups water and all the sugar in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves (to form a simple syrup). Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium-low. Strain the liquid of the apple peels into the simple syrup, squeezing out as much of their moisture as you can. Discard the solids. Increase the heat to medium; cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon.

Stir in the shredded apple; cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the apple is soft and the liquid has been absorbed. The consistency should be like a heavy jam with some visible shreds of apple. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and the cinnamon, if using, stirring to incorporate. Let cool in the pot.

Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled. Chopped nuts and more cinnamon can be served on the side for people to sprinkle over the preserves, if desired.

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Recipe Source

Adapted by Susan Barocas, from Paulette Nehama of Bethesda.

Tested by Susan Barocas.

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