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Honey Cake

18 Sep

Tipsy Honey Cake

Rosh Hashana means honey cake.  To start the new year off with a sweet bite, traditionally we serve and eat honey itself or items made with honey. In my family, we’ve always made a version of this boozy honey cake.  The finished cake doesn’t taste overly alcoholic, but it does add to the overall flavour of the cake.

What a list of ingredients! It’s long, but easy to put together and produces a moist and flavorful honey cake.  My favorite honey to use for baking is buckwheat. It has a stronger flavour that holds up to the other flavours in the recipe.  Having said that, over the last few years I’ve found it impossible to find buckwheat honey and have made it with several other types (most typically, clover honey) and it’s still delicious.

The cake recipes also calls for what we call ‘rye’ up here, but I’ve been told in the US is often known as “Canadian whiskey” or “rye whisky”.  You can use rye, whisky or rum.

honey cake 3

2 ¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup tea, brewed — strong and hot
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Canadian rye (whiskey)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup canola oil (or other light flavoured oil)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and ginger. I like to use a whisk to combine all of these ingredients.

In another bowl, combine the hot tea, honey, rye and orange juice.

Using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream together the oil and white and brown sugars. Add the eggs, mixing them in one at a time. Add the vanilla and orange zest.

Add one third of the liquid and mix on low speed. Add one third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat until all of the wet and dry ingredients have been incorporated.

Pour into a bundt pan that has been sprayed with vegetable oil and lightly floured. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. If the cake starts to brown too quickly, loosely tent a piece of aluminum foil over the cake for the rest of the baking time.  Let cool completely and then turn the pan over and carefully unmold the cake onto a serving plate. Typically, the bottom of a bundt becomes the top when you take it out of the pan, but I really like the way the ‘bottom’ of this cake comes out and always keep it on the top when plating.

Wrapped well, the cake can stay on the counter for a couple of days.  Freezes beautifully.

Honey Cake 2

 

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Quick and Delicious (and easy!) Apple Strudel

9 Sep

Quick and Delicious Apple Strudel

I like a crisp, slightly tart apple for baking — a Pink Lady or Granny Smith would be my choice.  I love the addition of pecans for the flavour and the texture they add, but they are completely optional.  For Rosh Hashana, many people have the minhag (custom) of not eating nuts and the pecans can be left out and the strudel will still be delicious!

I use oil to keep the strudel parve, but if you want to replace it with melted butter, that would work beautifully.

Serves: 12

  •   2       lbs. Fuji apples — peeled, cored and grated (about 6 apples)
  •   1/3    cup raisins, seedless
  •  1/3    cup chopped pecans — *optional
  •  5       Tbsp. sugar, divided
  •  3       tsp. cinnamon, divided
  •   3       Tbsp. flour
  •   10     sheets of filo dough
  •   3       Tbsp. canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare the filling by shredding the apples into a mixing bowl.  If they are very juicy, squeeze out any excess liquid.  Add the raisins, pecans if using, 3 Tbsp. sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, flour and nutmeg and mix well.  Set aside.

Lay out one sheet of filo dough and lightly brush with oil.  Mix together 2 Tbsp. of sugar and 1 tsp. of cinnamon and lightly sprinkle the filo with some of this cinnamon/sugar mix.  Repeat with another 4 sheets of filo, oiling and sugaring all but the last sheet.

Arrange half of the apple filling in a row along the longer side of the filo – keeping it about 1″ from each edge.  Roll the strudel up, keeping the filling against the edge as tightly as possible.  Give the excess dough on each end of the roll a twist and tuck the dough under the roll. Place the strudel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush it with oil.  Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar and use a sharp knife to cut diagonal slits every inch or so – just cut through the dough on the top of the roll, allowing steam to escape while it bakes.

Repeat with the rest of the filo and apple filling.

Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes – until the strudel is golden brown.  Allow to cool, slice all the way through and serve.

apple strudel

 

Buttermilk Cheese Kugel

4 Sep

The High Holidays are fast approaching and it seems everybody I know is in menu-planning mode.  A good cheese kugel is great for lunch during Rosh Hashana or for breaking the fast on Yom Kippur.

I know a lot of recipes call for some sugar, but I prefer to leave it out of cheese kugels — leave it for the apple or other fruit versions.  I like my cheese kugel to have a little tang and will either add sour cream, or in this case, buttermilk to the recipe.  The topping is optional, and it is delicious without it, but perhaps just a little more delicious with it.

Serve with extra sour cream on the side or if you must have a little sweetness, some sliced strawberries in syrup.

buttermilk kugel 2

 

Buttermilk Cheese Kugel

375 grams egg noodles — wide

5 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup melted butter
375 grams dry curd cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt

Optional Topping
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
pinch salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Cook the noodles following the instructions on the package. Drain well and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, salt and cottage cheese. Pour this mixture onto the noodles and stir to thoroughly mix.

Lightly butter a 2 quart (liter)  casserole and pour the noodle mixture into the pan.

If you choose to add the optional topping, mix all of the topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture on top of the noodles.

Bake the kugel in a preheated 375º oven for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the kugel has set.

 

 

Rosh Hashana Recipes (step-by-step demos)

14 Aug

It’s that time of year again — if you have some time, here’s a link to my step-by-step demo (on eGullet.org) for making meat kreplach:http://forums.egullet.org/topic/89669-egci-demo-meat-kreplach/

And here’s my demo on knishes (with stretch-dough):
http://forums.egullet.org/topic/81940-egci-demo-knishes/

And, finally, here’s a demo for chicken soup:
http://forums.egullet.org/topic/89668-egci-demo-chicken-soup/

All of these freeze well, so they can be made now and tucked away for the holidays. (Freeze the kreplach once cooked, but the knishes should be frozen raw, then baked from frozen, not thawed.)

Shana tova! This year is off to a great start.

3 Oct

Shana tova! Happy new year!

It’s funny how things work out.  11 months ago (oy!) I posted  about my plans to move (soon!) and start working on my next cookbook.  I’m still not officially in my new home, but I have basically moved in and will be able to start work on the new book after this month of holidays.  But I don’t want you to think I haven’t done anything over the last year.

Instead of starting a new book, I was lucky enough to have to do some new work on my old book.  Confusing, right?  What happened was the Canadian publisher was out of Soup – A Kosher Collection and it was getting hard to get copies from the American publisher, so thankfully, Whitecap decided it was time to publish the 2nd edition of Soup.  With the decision to publish a new edition I was given the opportunity to include more recipes and the talented people at Whitecap produced some beautiful new photos as well.

In Canada you can start looking for copies in local bookstores, or click here to pre-order from Amazon.ca or here to check the status at Chapters/Indigo.

In the US, you can pre-order from Amazon.com here.

And the first review is in — click here to read it.

We’re only in the first week of 5772  and we’re off to a good start. May the rest of the year be a healthy, happy, sweet and prosperous one for everybody!

Starting to think about Rosh Hashana (and meat kreplach)

12 Aug

It’s been a hectic summer and though it feels like summer just started, we’re less than a month away from Rosh Hashana.  It’s hard to believe and I’m sorry if I’m making you think about something you’re not ready for.  The good news is that there’s still plenty of time to prepare goodies for the holidays.  

 
One of the things I love for Rosh Hashana (or erev Yom Kippur) is a steaming bowl of chicken soup with home made meat kreplach.  The silky dough surrounding the oniony meat filling is my favourite soup accompaniment. 

 
When I was growing up, my grandmother always made kreplach for the holidays and when my parents started our catering company, meat kreplach were always offered for Rosh Hashana. It’s true that some time and work is involved in making them, but they really are quite easy to make and wonderful to have in the freezer.
 
A few years ago I put together a step-by-step kreplach demo (with pictures) for eGullet.org.  You can find the demo here. I  hope you try making them and enjoy them during the holidays (or anytime!).