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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rosh Hashanah Ready!

Happy Wednesday! Rosh Hashanah is right around the corner and honey cakes may already be in the oven. But if you are feeling the holiday blahs this year (feels like temps of 100 will do that to you in September), you might want to spice things up. Today's recipes are a little different than the usual honey brick; perhaps they'll change your holiday blahs into holiday yaaahs! (See what I did there?)

Honey cake...but not the typical recipe...
Honey Cake
Kemp Minifie

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pure honey
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm coffee (brewed, or instant dissolved in water)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons packed grated orange zest
Chocolate Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk (not light)
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 4 ounces bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, finely chopped
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon (optional)
  • a 10-inch Bundt pan; nonstick baking spray (shake well first; see Cooks' Notes); cake tester or wooden skewer for testing cake doneness
  1. Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously spray pan, including center tube, with baking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk eggs well in another large bowl and whisk in sugar, oil, honey, coffee, and zest until well combined.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the honey mixture, then stir with the whisk until the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter into pan (it's liquid enough to level itself in the pan), and bake in oven until springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
  6. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes.
  7. Loosen cake from the pan with a thin rubber spatula, then invert cake onto the rack (see Cooks' Notes) and cool completely.
  1. Bring coconut milk and corn syrup to a simmer in a small heavy pan, stirring until combined.
  2. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate. Let chocolate stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is melted and glaze is smooth.
  3. Let glaze stand, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, but still pourable.
  4. Transfer cake to a cake plate and slowly pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. If desired, let the cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set.
  5. Just before serving, sprinkle glaze lightly with flaky sea salt, if using.
  • Nonstick baking spray: Normally, I’'m not inclined to use nonstick baking sprays, preferring to line the bottoms of greased cake pans with parchment paper, then greasing the paper and flouring the pans to ensure that the cake releases easily from the pans, but the design of a Bundt pan makes that method impossible. While developing this recipe, I had a disaster when the top half of one cake remained in the Bundt pan when I tried to turn the cake out (and I thought I had really played it safe by using a well-oiled nonstick pan, albeit an old one). On my next attempt, I turned to the nonstick baking spray, and since then, it has worked like a charm. 
  • Measuring oil and honey: Both should be measured in a liquid measuring cup. The oil is listed first, because if you measure the honey in it afterward, without washing the cup, the honey will slide out easily, with barely any help needed from a rubber spatula. 
  • Inverting the cake onto a rack: The best way to do this is to place a rack over the top of the pan, then, holding the rack and pan together, flip the cake pan and rack over so that the cake can slide safely out of the pan onto the rack. 
  • Chopping chocolate: The easiest way to chop chocolate is with a long serrated bread knife. Or you can break the chocolate into squares (if you are using a bar) and pulse it in a food processor.

Using a classic family-friendly cake for a holiday? Sure...
Poppy Seed Cake
Joan Nathan

  • 1 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 cup milk or soy milk
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter or pareve margarine, plus more for greasing pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting pan
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the poppy seeds and milk. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to rest until cool, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a large loaf or tube pan by greasing it with margarine and lightly flouring the inside of the pan.
  3. In bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter or margarine and sugar. Add egg yolks, vanilla, and poppy seed-milk mixture, and beat until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well; remove bowl from mixer and set aside.
  4. Place a clean bowl in mixer, with a whisk attachment, and whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold into batter. Scrape into pan, and bake until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on a rack. When cool, dust cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Fancy and unusual; perfect for a sweet new year...
Fig-and-Raspberry Tart with Chestnut Honey
Peter Pastan

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 30 fresh figs (1 1/2 pounds), stemmed and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
  • 24 fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chestnut honey
  • 11 small fresh bay leaves
  • 13 small, tender rosemary sprigs
  • Sweet Red Wine Ice Cream, for serving
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar, salt and lemon zest and pulse to blend. Add the butter and cream and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and pulse until it starts to come together. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently a few times. Pat the dough into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 14-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the round to a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, gently pressing it on the bottom and up the side without stretching. Trim off any excess dough and patch any cracks with the scraps. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the tart shell is set. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake the shell until golden brown all over, about 25 minutes longer. Transfer to to a rack and let cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the figs standing up in concentric circles in the tart shell; dot with the raspberries. Sprinkle with the sugar and drizzle with the honey. Insert the bay leaves. Scatter the rosemary on top and bake for 30 minutes, until the fruits have begun to release their juices. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges and topped with Sweet Red Wine Ice Cream.
Happy baking!

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