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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Change Your Rosh Hashanah Menu

Happy Tuesday! It's been awhile since we last spoke; between summer vacation and a baby on the move, things have been crazy! I'm hoping to stay back in action now. Like any holiday, the menu for the Jewish new year can get tired and blah. If you're looking to step outside the box, it's not too late to start.

Honey cake isn't boring.
I know, I know, I said these would be new and updated but for me, this is a new and updated honey cake recipe. I use the same one year after year because it's FABULOUS, but this year I'm going to try this one. Apple cider makes this one a winner.

Apple Cider Honey Cake
Alex Levin via NYT

Apple Cider Butter:
  • 2 pounds/910 grams Granny Smith apples (about 5 or 6 apples), peeled, cored and cut into medium chunks
  • ¾ cup/150 grams light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons/56 grams unsalted butter, or use 1/4 cup/60 milliliters grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • ½ to 1 ½ cups/118 to 355 milliliters apple cider
  • ¾ cup/170 grams melted unsalted butter or 3/4 cup/177 milliliters olive oil, more for the pan
  • 2 ½ cups/310 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup/177 milliliters honey
  • ¼ cup/60 milliliters whiskey
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Prepare the apple cider butter: Combine apples, light brown sugar and butter or oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced and appears soft and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Let mixture cool slightly, then transfer to a large measuring cup and add enough apple cider to make 3 cups/710 milliliters. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. (This can be made up to 1 day ahead.)
  3. Prepare the cake: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325 degrees. Generously grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. 
  5. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, prepared apple cider butter, honey, melted butter or oil and whiskey. Whisk in the dry ingredients until smooth.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until firm to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes, then carefully unmold cake and let cool completely on a wire rack. Before serving, transfer cake to a platter and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

A Hungarian option...
Apple, Walnut, and Poppy Seed Pastry (Flodni)
Eszter Bodrogi via Saveur

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2" pieces and softened
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3⁄4 cup white wine
  • 4 oz. dried apricots, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 cups poppy seeds
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup plus 1⁄4 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
  • 6 oz. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 oz. pitted prunes, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
  1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and mix until incorporated. Add the egg yolks and wine and mix until a dough forms. Replace the paddle with a dough hook and knead dough on medium speed until smooth, 5-6 minutes. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic; set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Make the fillings: Heat the apricots, poppy seeds, 1⁄2 cup wine, 1⁄2 cup sugar, and 1⁄3 cup jam over medium heat and cook, stirring, until hot, 4 minutes. Transfer the poppy seed filling to a small bowl; set aside. Heat the remaining jam, cinnamon, cloves, and apples in a small saucepan over medium high heat and cook, stirring, until apples soften, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the apple filling to a small bowl; set aside. Heat the remaining wine, 6 tbsp. sugar, walnuts, and chocolate over medium heat and cook, stirring, until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the walnut filling to a small bowl; set aside. Heat the prunes and 1 1⁄2 cups water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the prunes are soft and water is almost evaporated, 16-18 minutes. Add the remaining sugar and mash with a wooden spoon until smooth. Transfer the prune butter to a small bowl; set aside. Stir the lemon juice into the poppy seed filling; divide the lemon zest between all 4 fillings, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Heat oven to 350°. Line an 8" square baking pan with 2 overlapping sheets of parchment paper cut to 10" x 8". Divide the dough into thirds; set 1 third aside. Cut 2 dough pieces in half and set aside. Transfer the third dough piece to a floured work surface and roll to 1⁄8" thickness. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with dough and let excess dough hang over the edges; trim dough to within 1" of pan and brush with butter. Transfer the poppy seed filling to the bottom layer of dough and smooth the top with spatula. Roll 1 piece of the remaining dough to 1⁄8" thickness and trim to make an 8″ square; top the poppy seed filling with dough and brush with butter. Transfer the apple mixture to top of dough and smooth with spatula. Roll another piece of the remaining dough to 1⁄8" thickness and trim to make an 8" square; top the apple filling with dough and brush with butter. Transfer the walnut mixture to top of dough and smooth with spatula. Roll another piece of the remaining dough to 1⁄8" thickness and trim to make an 8" square; transfer the dough to top of walnut filling and brush with remaining butter. Transfer the prune mixture to top of dough and smooth with spatula; fold the overhanging dough onto the prune filling. Roll the remaining dough piece to 1⁄8" thickness and trim to make an 8" square; top the prune filling with dough, prick with a fork, and brush with the egg wash. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and let cool 6 hours.
  4. Using edges of parchment paper as handles, lift the pastry from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut flodni into 1 1⁄2" squares and serve.

When dessert won't cut it because you have family in town and there's a lot of...loud...
Pomegranate Mojito
Katherine Martinelli via Today

  • 1 to 1.5 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce sugar or simple syrup (add more as you like)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 ounce pomegranate juice
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Club soda
  • Ice
  1. Select a big glass with room for plenty of ice.
  2. Put rum, lime juice, simple syrup and pomegranate juice in glass. Mix well. Taste, and add more sugar or limejuice if needed. Add some crushed lime peel if you like.
  3. Crush mint leaves from one sprig, add to drink and mix.
  4. Add a handful of pomegranate seeds.
  5. Add a one-second to second-and-a-half pour of club soda.
  6. Top glass with ice.
  7. Garnish with remaining mint leaves.

Happy baking!