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Pascale’s Kitchen: Lots of honey for a sweet year

SC 02/09/2021 2


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“May you have a sweet New Year”: This is how we greet each other at the dinner table on the first night of Rosh Hashanah.
We dip slices of apple in honey, which signifies our hope that the new year will be sweet. It is also traditional to use honey in all of the dishes we eat at the New Year feast.

This week, I bring you three recipes that are all sweetened using honey. This has been a difficult year, due to the pandemic, and we can all use a bit of sweetness in our lives. The way we go about our day and how we celebrate the holidays are different now and full of uncertainty. The best way I’ve found to counteract these troubles is by adding lots of honey to my Rosh Hashanah menu.
Honey is made from nectar, which is the sugary juice that collects in the heart of flowers. When you go to buy honey in a store, you will find that there are so many different varieties to choose from, each with its own texture, flavor and aroma. Each honey is different as a result of the unique terroir or environmental factors in which the flowers grow, including climate and soil, in a similar way to how varieties of grapes grown in different locations are used to produce many types of wine.
When it comes to honey, its flavor depends on what region the bees live in, what types of flowers they gathered nectar from and the type of soil in which the flowers grew. Some honeys are made from nectar found in a few different types of flowers.
I didn’t want to include only pictures of jars of honey in the Magazine this week, so I asked Yarden Sharon, who is a beekeeper, if he would be so kind as to send me one of his honey challot – for which he is famous – and he did.
The honey he used on this challah came from the nectar of jujube flowers. Along with the challah, Sharon also sent me a description of the nutritional properties of jujube flower honey. Apparently, eating one teaspoon a day of jujube flower honey can keep us strong and healthy as we embark on the new year.
Below, you will find three recipes that all include honey. The first one is a fusion of baklava, which hails from Balkan cuisine, together with the Moroccan pastilla. But instead of being filled with meat or nuts, it is filled with dried fruits mixed with nuts. And instead of being covered with syrup or powdered sugar, it is brushed with honey.
The second recipe is for a traditional spiced honey cake, which calls for coffee, and can be baked in any size or shape pan you desire: loaf pan, round springform pan or even in muffin tray.
The amount of honey you add will affect the texture and color of your cake – the more honey you use, the darker and denser the cake will be.
Don’t forget to add extra ingredients, such as nuts, raisins, dates or apples, to the cake to make it extra special. Just remember that if you add fruit to the cake, it should be stored in the fridge.
The third recipe is for pull-apart buns, which are called churag in Iraqi cuisine, kazinak in Turkish, Balkan and Romanian cuisine, arani galushkeh in Hungarian and shurik in Egyptian cuisine. The differences between all of these versions are minor.
May we all enjoy a sweet new year, full of joy and happiness.
Shana Tova u’metuka!
Honey challot (NIS 180) can be ordered from Yarden Sharon, 052-583-0480.

SPICED HONEY CAKE

Use a Wonder Pot or 2 loaf pans.
¾ cup oil
¾ cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup honey
1 level tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
3 cups spelt flour, sifted
1 packet baking powder
1 level tsp. baking soda
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup raisins
1 cup prepared instant coffee

Toppings:

½ cup nuts, chopped
¼ cup sugar crystals
½ tsp. cinnamon
Add the oil, sugar, eggs and honey to a large bowl. Mix well by hand or with an electric mixer.
Add the cloves, cinnamon, ginger, flour, baking powder, baking soda and nuts. Mix well.
Add the cup of prepared coffee to the mixture and mix well.
Grease a Wonder Pot or loaf pans and pour the batter inside. Mix the toppings together and sprinkle on top. Bake for 1 hour in an oven that has been preheated to 180° or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 75 minutes.
Status: Parve.

 Filo dough with dried fruits. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Filo dough with dried fruits. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

FILO DOUGH WITH DRIED FRUITS

Makes 25-30 pastries.
6 sheets of filo dough

Filling:

2 cups dried fruits, chopped finely
1 cup pecans or pistachios, ground finely
½ cup peanuts, ground finely
1 cup almonds, ground finely
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. zest from an orange
½ tsp. cinnamon
Butter flavor oil spray

Honey mixture:

¾ cup honey
2-3 drops lukewarm water
½ tsp. citrus concentrate, optional

Topping:

½ cup pistachio, finely ground
Place the filo dough in fridge to defrost. Place the chopped dried fruits in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix all the nuts, sugar, lemon juice, zest and cinnamon together.
Spread a sheet of filo dough on your work surface and spray lightly with oil. Spread a second sheet on top of the first one, then cut the filo dough into four squares and spray them with oil. Do the same with the other filo dough sheets.
Spray a muffin pan with oil and then line each muffin cavity with one of the dough squares, with the corners hanging over the edge. Add the filling on top of dough. Use leftover dough pieces to cover the filling, and then fold over corners on top of muffins.
Spray each muffin with oil, then bake for 40 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180° or until muffins have turned golden brown.
In a bowl, mix the honey with the water and add the citrus concentrate if desired.
Take the muffin tray out of the oven and transfer the muffins to a serving platter. Brush with honey mixture (you don’t need to add water to mixture if you prefer thick honey). Sprinkle pistachios on top.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 1 hour.
Status: Parve.

 Pull-apart buns (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Pull-apart buns (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

PULL-APART BUNS

Use a 27 cm. x 35 cm. pan.
25 gr. fresh yeast
½ cup water
1 Tbsp. sugar
A bit of flour
½ kg. flour, sifted
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. oil
1 packet vanilla sugar
1-1½ cups water
100 gr. butter or margarine, softened and cut into medium pieces
½-1 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. salt
100 gr. light raisins

Butter topping:

50 gr. butter or margarine, melted

Egg wash:

1 egg, beaten with a little water or oil
¼ cup sesame seeds
Honey mixture:
¾ cup honey
2-3 drops lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, add yeast, sugar and water. Cover and let yeast dissolve and bubble for 15 minutes.
Place the flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Form a well in the center and add the sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla sugar and dissolved yeast mixture. Mix, and while mixing gradually, add the water, butter, turmeric, salt and raisins. Mix well.
Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and let the dough rise for 60-90 minutes until the dough has doubled in volume.
Grease a rectangular pan. Knead the dough again and punch out all the air. Form balls with a 3- or 4-cm. diameter from the dough. Brush each ball with melted oil and place on the baking tray. Place the balls on the tray so that they are all touching each other. Brush with egg wash, then let the buns rise again for 30 minutes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180°.
Prepare the honey mixture and brush buns with honey the moment they come out of the oven.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 2.5 hours.
Status: Parve or dairy.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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Co-Host for Coffee Mouth Scarecrow Show. Retired NAVY Chief/Flag Writer Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

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