Rosh Hashanah: How Sweet It Is!

Apple raspberry cake. rlat / iStock / Getty Images Plus

There’s nothing like a crunchy apple slice dripping with the satiny nectar of honey. The combination of these two polar opposite treats is the ultimate symbol of Rosh Hashanah, inspiring optimism for a sweet New Year.

What better way to honor the spirit of the holiday than to bake pastries. Of course, relying on local bakeries to bring sweetness to your table is a perfectly acceptable alternative. But I feel pastries are all the sweeter when assembled, stirred and shaped by my own hands.

For that reason, as Rosh Hashanah approaches, I start baking seasonal cookies and cakes and at least one chocolate standby to satisfy chocolate lovers. I enjoy seeing my sideboard filled with pastries I’ve prepared. I display them on cake stands, lined up one right after the other. In the center, I place a silver honey pot surrounded by apple slices on a fluted plate.

These desserts, prepared with love, underscore my hopes for the year ahead. Not to mention that my family and friends are ecstatic and grateful as they sample various pastries. I believe the more I bake, the better our chances for a sweet New Year.

Equal Measure Apple Raspberry Cake | Dairy or Parve
Serves 6

This cake tastes better if made a day in advance.

Equipment: a food scale and an 8- or 9-inch baking pan

Nonstick vegetable spray
3 eggs
Approximately 1 cup sugar
Approximately 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, or margarine
Approximately 1 cup flour
Zest from ¼ of a lemon
¼ teaspoon vanilla
2-3 baking apples, such as Cortland, Pink Lady or Honeycrisp
12-15 raspberries

Coat the baking pan with nonstick spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Weigh 2 eggs and set all 3 eggs aside. Measure out the same weight of sugar and place it in a large mixing bowl. Measure the same weight of butter and add it to the bowl.

With an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar until well combined. Add all three eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl with a rubber or silicone spatula.

Measure out an equal weight of flour, and add it to the bowl. Beat until well combined. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and beat well. Using a spatula, move the dough into the prepared pan. Scrape again with the spatula.

Core, peel and dice 2 apples into ½-inch pieces. Place the diced apple pieces on the dough as tightly together as possible. Wedge in the raspberries every so often. Use the third apple, if needed. The dough should be covered by fruit with little or no space between pieces.

Place the cake in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

If serving the next day, cover with plastic wrap. Cut the cake into 12 pieces and place on an attractive plate.

Plum and Pear Crisp | Dairy or Parve
Serves 8

Equipment: 7-inch-by-11-inch ovenproof dish, such as Pyrex

Nonstick vegetable spray
4 ripe pears
4 ripe plums
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon sugar

Coat the baking dish with nonstick spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Core, peel and slice the pears and plums thin. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, spices and sugar. Mix together gently with a wooden or silicone spoon. Move the fruit to the prepared baking dish and arrange evenly. Cover with the topping recipe below.

½ cup unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature
1¼ cup blanched almonds, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup flour
Optional accompaniment: vanilla ice cream or coconut sorbet

Place the topping ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix with a fork until crumbly. Scatter evenly over the top of the fruit. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Cool to a warm temperature, if serving immediately. This can be made a day ahead. Serve with ice cream or sorbet, if desired.

Old-fashioned fudgy brownies. iuliia_n / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Old-Fashioned Fudgy Brownies | Parve
Serves 12

By Pam Davis

Equipment: 9-inch-by-13-inch ovenproof dish, such as Pyrex, a double boiler and a flour sifter

Nonstick vegetable spray
1 cup (2 sticks) of margarine
4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 generous cup flour
2 pinches baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate morsels
Powdered sugar for dusting

Coat the baking dish with no-stick spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 2 inches of water in the bottom pot of a double boiler. Place the top pot in position over the bottom. Place the margarine and chocolate inside. Place the lid on top. Move the double boiler to a medium flame and bring the water to a gentle boil. Stir occasionally until the ingredients melt.

Using a spatula, move the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla. Using an electric beater, mix until the ingredients are combined. Stir in the chocolate morsels.

Using a spatula, pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool to room temperature. When ready to serve, cut the brownies into 24 squares and place them on an attractive plate. Place a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar in the flour sifter and dust over the brownies. This recipe freezes well.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here