Celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut With Yummy Dishes


Only time will tell whether certain customs, foods, prayers and melodies will be linked in the Jewish mind when it comes to celebrating Israel's independence. For now, why not try out these recipes for borekas and fruit-filled cake. 

Israel’s Independence Day is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Iyar, which is the Hebrew date of the formal establishment of the State of Israel.

For American Jews, cele­brating Yom Ha’atzmaut has been a way to express solidarity with the state of Israel and to strengthen their alliance with it. In many communities, Jewish organizations and synagogues of different ideologies and denominations cooperate in creating a common celebration. 

There is not yet an accepted “tradition” of how to celebrate this holiday, and only time will tell whether certain customs, foods, prayers and melodies will be linked in the Jewish mind with this holiday, as with holidays that emerged many centuries before Yom Ha’atzmaut. 

For Jews around the world, joining with Israelis celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut has become a concrete link to the land of Israel.

Here are some recipes to add to your celebration.

Courtesy of Leah Koenig
Filling Ingredients:
1 package (10 oz. ) frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed of excess water
1 egg, lightly beaten 
1 cup ricotta cheese 
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1⁄8 tsp. ground nutmeg 
salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Dough Ingredients:
1 package (16 oz.) phyllo dough, thawed 
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, melted 
1 large egg, beaten 
toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling 

Combine spinach, egg, ricotta, mozzarella, garlic and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and lightly grease the bottom of a baking sheet with butter or cooking spray.

Place the thawed phyllo dough on a flat surface and cover it with a lightly damp dish towel to keep it from drying out when not in use.

Remove one sheet of dough and place it on a flat surface. Cut it lengthwise into 4 and 1⁄2-inch wide strips (you’ll end up with 2 or 3 strips per sheet of dough). Working quickly, brush the dough strips with melted butter. Fold one side of the strip over lengthwise to meet the other (like closing a book) and brush again with more butter.

Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling at the bottom end of each buttered strip. Fold the bottom right corner of the strip upwards, towards the left edge to make a triangle. Then fold the triangle over to the opposite side. Continue folding upwards in this manner until you are left with a fat triangle with the filling tucked safely inside.

Brush the outside of the triangle with a little more butter and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with additional pieces

of phyllo until all of the filling is used up. Just before baking, brush the filled borekas with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Eretz Yisrael Cake With Orange, Dates and Marzipan
Courtesy of Joan Nathan
Cake Ingredients:
3⁄4 cup sugar 
1⁄2 cup marzipan
grated zest of 2 oranges 
4 eggs 
1 and 3⁄4 cups flour 
1⁄2 cup pitted dates, chopped 
1⁄3 cup candied citrus peel, chopped 
1 tsp. baking powder 
1⁄4 tsp. salt 
3⁄4 cup orange juice 
3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted 

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper cut into a circle.

Place the sugar, marzipan and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle; beat to break up the marzipan until it is the texture of sand.

Replace the paddle with the whisk and add the eggs to the marzipan mixture. Whisk until light, fluffy and pale yellow in color.

Take 2 tablespoons of the flour and sprinkle over the dates and candied citrus peel in a small bowl. This flour coating prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the batter.

Sift the remaining flour, the baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.

Replace the whisk with the paddle and add the sifted dry ingredients, orange juice and melted butter to the marzipan-egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Don’t overmix — the batter should be soft and creamy. Fold in the dates and citrus peel.

Pour the batter into the springform mold, tap the mold

a couple of times against the counter to remove the air bubbles, and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes.

Article is courtesy of myjewishlearning.com.


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