You know by now that I love to cook. Finding recipes, organizing and writing my shopping list, assembling the ingredients on the counter and following the directions appeal to my inner nature that really, really wants a predictable outcome in these unpredictable times that we are living in.
On the other hand, I’ve spent far too much time in the kitchen these past 18 months. So when planning my holiday meals, I looked for delicious outcomes with minimum effort.
I could not resist sharing with you one last set of holiday recipes. They all use apples, but you could easily substitute pears. Did you know that Shomrei has a pear tree loaded (at least as I am writing this) with almost ripe pears?
Melt about 2 Tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Add a mixture of 1 apple cut into small chunks ( dates, figs ,raisins can also be added), a little cinnamon and a good pinch of ginger to the melted butter. Cook over medium for about 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4-1/2 cup honey and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Don’t overcook as the apples will continue to cook inside the dough. Cool and set aside while you roll the dough. Granny Smith apples work well.
Roll the dough into a rectangle. You will be curling this like a snail to make a round loaf so make the rectangle long enough to fit the pan. Put a line of filling an inch or so in from the long edge of the dough rectangle. Cover the filling with the edge and seal. Lightly oil your hands and continue rolling the dough from the other side.
When the dough rectangle is totally rolled, making sure that no apple pieces are poking through, roll the dough log into a snail shape from the inside out. Tuck the ends under and let rise about an hour depending on the temperature of the room.
Brush with egg wash (mixed with a little honey) and bake at 350 degrees about 20-30 minutes. (To prevent spread, bake in a round pan) The loaf should sound hollow when the bottom is tapped.
Even easier is to grate some apples (the finer cut raw apple will cook in the dough). Mix with a little honey or sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Add a handful or so of raisins, if desired. Proceed with the recipe.
I often make what is called Jewish apple cake ( or Polish or Hanukkah) since there is no dairy in it. That was my plan for this year. But this recipe for Russian apple cake takes it one step further. It’s made in one bowl and has no oil at all. It may replace the old standard.
Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or vegan ice cream or a shower of powdered sugar depending on your menu.
Here’s the link to the cake recipe.
Or maybe I’ll try these apple pie cookies which combine the best of a cookie and apple pie. Frankly I hate rolling out pie crust. I almost never make pies and when I do, I almost always eliminate the crust and use a streusel topping. Anyway, who needs the extra calories or the crust to distract from the yummy filling ? These cookies use refrigerated (or frozen) pie crust or even a puff pastry or crescent roll base. It’s gets easier and easier. Make ahead, too, as they will keep for several days.
Click here to link to the cookie recipe.
On the other hand, do I want to abrogate my dessert responsibilities almost totally but still stay in the fall holiday mode? Perhaps! I’ll have to think more about that but here’s a dessert that will fit the least possible effort mood perfectly. This apple and honey mug cake has all the fall holiday flavors: apples, honey and a touch of cinnamon. It’s crazy simple using a secret shortcut ingredient.You could even use Montclair honey as an ingredient. For fun how about making it in a Ball jar or other see-through, microwave safe container? Want it pareve-? Use almond milk.
Here’s the the link for the mug cake recipe.
For other holiday inspired recipes, this link for recipe articles in Nosher.
This time of the year is certainly not only about our physical needs. It is foremost a time to feed our hearts and souls. To help guide you through the days before the holidays and between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, don’t forget to check the library.
To all a sweet, healthy, meaningful New year!
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