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Einat Admony’s Rosh Hashanah Table

Einat Admony’s Rosh Hashanah Table

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Shared by Einat Admony
Recipe Roots: B’nei Brak, Israel > New York City

Chef and cookbook author Einat Admony and her mother Ziona have always maintained open kitchens, not only welcoming friends and family, but influences from other kitchens and parts of the world. Growing up in a third floor apartment in the largely Ashkenazi and religious town of B’nei Brak, just inland of Tel Aviv, Einat says the doors between her family’s home and those of her Moroccan neighbor Tovah were always open. “I would go in and take something from the fridge,” Einat says, as if she were in her own home. “This is how we grew up.” Jumping back and forth between kitchens helped Einat learn the smells, spices, and flavors of dishes from other Jewish communities that found new homes in Israel. 

Ziona’s cooking started taking in unfamiliar flavors and dishes when she was very young. When her family moved from Kerman, Iran to modern-day Israel in the 1940s, they settled near the Jourdanian border in a camp for immigrants. It wasn’t ideal for children, so Ziona was moved to the interior of the country to Ramat Gan where she lived with an Iraqi family throughout her teen years. 

As an adult, when she married Einat’s father Menashe, a native Israeli whose family emigrated from Yemen she learned recipes from her mother-in-law and later more Yemenite recipes from the rabbi’s wife at the synagogue where Menashe prayed. Ziona’s cooking influences weren’t limited to the Levant and the north rim of Africa. Living in an Ashkenazi town, she started to make gefilte fish and noodle kugel, achieving a crust that Einat says no one can match. 

Einat’s parents, Ziona and Menashe Admony, at a celebration in Giva’tayim, Israel in the early 1970’s.

Einat’s parents, Ziona and Menashe Admony, at a celebration in Giva’tayim, Israel in the early 1970’s.

This approach to an open kitchen is a hallmark of Israeli home cooking and Einat’s new book, Shuk: From Market to Table the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking. As her co-author Janna Gur writes in the book, “the cuisines are in a constant state of interplay.” 

Einat learned this in the kitchen from the time she was little — and later from extensive traveling. Before Rosh Hashanah, she spent hours helping her mother prepare for dinners of 20 or 30, inspecting grains of rice for one of her mother’s many rice dishes, checking that no stones were left in the nigella seeds from the harvest, and peeling and cleaning countless pomegranates, making sure to get rid of everything but the ruby arles. At the time, Einat hated the work, but today she’s grateful for it, calling it an education. “It became the engine of everything,” she explains. 

The pomegranates, which are traditional for the holiday, were cooked down into a rich and thick confiture to be used in the Persian dish fesenjan, one of Ziona’s best known recipes in the family. Though to the family, it’s known as of shachor, or black chicken, in Hebrew. The extra confiture was carefully tucked away to last for long after the holiday. 

The fesenjan was often joined by Yemenite soup made with beef and white beans in honor of her father’s roots. And her aunt or doda (the Hebrew word for aunt) Hana’s tomato salad made with chili peppers, a small pinch of sugar, and handfuls of herbs, which she would bring with her. And there was always lamb, which Menashe would pick out at a moshav and have slaughtered — much to Einat’s horror as a child. The head was served — some families serve a sheep or fish’s head — a tradition that symbolizes the hope that the family will be the head, instead of the tail, in the year to come. 

At Ziona’s table, dishes were imbued with meaning and blessings from the holiday, much like they are at Einat’s home. To celebrate the season and holiday, she uses a first of the season fruit (or a fruit new to her) to inspire dishes and to make the shehecheyanu blessing that’s customary for the holiday, honoring the new and unusual. “I like the idea of symbols and blessings in dishes,” Einat says. 

We asked her to share a complete menu for a Rosh Hashanah feast. True to her and Ziona’s style, it brings in influences from Persian, Yemeni, and Moroccan kitchens, with touches from her New York home. 

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Apple and Honey Challah

Makes: 1 large circular loaf
Time: 1 hour, plus 2 hours proofing

This challah, which Einat developed for us, can be made into two smaller braided loaves during the year or one large wreath-shaped loaf in honor of Rosh Hashanah.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1½ packets)
1 cup lukewarm water 
2 tablespoons plus ⅓ cup sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup canola oil, plus more for greasing
2 tablespoons plus ½ cup honey 
3 large eggs 
2 large Granny Smith apples 
Juice of 1 lemon

Preparation
1. Add the yeast, water, and a pinch of the sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment and let stand until foamy, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Whisk the 2 tablespoons of sugar, the flour, and salt in a separate medium bowl and set aside.

3. Whisk the oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, and 2 eggs in a measuring cup and add to the yeast mixture, along with the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until an elastic, uniform dough forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a clean, dry work surface (the dough should be tacky but not sticky; dust lightly with flour if needed). Knead by hand until the dough is a smooth, satiny ball, 2 to 4 minutes more.

4. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5. Meanwhile, peel and core 1 apple and cut it into ¼-inch cubes (you should have 1½ cups). Transfer to a bowl, cover with a damp paper towel, and set aside. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

6. Gently punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. 

7. Working with one piece of dough at a time, and keeping the other pieces covered with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out, pat the dough into a 12-inch by 3-inch rectangle with one long side facing you. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the chopped apple down the center of the dough, leaving about 1 inch clear on each end. Fold the long side closest to you over to meet the other side. Press the edges over the apple to seal in the filling and gently roll the dough into a rope about 24 inches long. Repeat with the remaining dough and apples to create 3 filled ropes that are all the same length. 

8. Transfer 3 of the ropes to each of the prepared baking sheets, aligning them side-by-side. Starting in the middle, braid the ropes loosely—like you’re braiding hair—then pinch both ends of the braid together to create a sealed circle and flip the dough over to hide the seam underneath.

9. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let sit in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes. 

10. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel the remaining apple and slice crosswise with a knife to create thin rounds, about 1/8” thick, discarding the seeds. Transfer to a medium heat-proof bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Set aside.

11. Combine the remaining ⅓ cup of sugar with ⅓ cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking until the sugar has dissolved completely, about 5 minutes. Pour the syrup over the apple slices and let cool 10 to 15 minutes. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl and strain the apple slices, reserving the syrup. Set both apples slices and syrup aside.

12. Lightly beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush it evenly over the top of the challah. Layer the apple slices over the top of the braided segments of the challah. Brush the apple slices with the egg wash.

13. Bake the challah for 15 minutes until beginning to darken in places. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, remove the challah from the oven and brush again with the remaining egg wash. Return the loaf to the oven and bake until the loaf is a deep golden brown all over, 10 to 12 minutes more.

14. While the challah is baking, combine ½ cup of reserved syrup with the remaining ½ cup of honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to ¾ cup, about 5 to 7 minutes.

15. Brush the hot challah with all of the hot honey syrup and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

Make ahead: The dough can be made one day in advance and transferred immediately to the fridge to rise overnight. The apple slices and simple syrup can be made up to one day in advance. Let the apple slices cool completely in the syrup, then transfer to a resealable airtight container. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the syrup, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Yemenite Soup (Beef and White Bean Stew)

Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 4 hours, plus overnight soaking

Ingredients
1 pound dried navy beans 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
 2 pounds beef bones (with a little meat on them) 
 12 cups plus ½ cup water 
 One 6-ounce can tomato paste 
 ½ bunch fresh cilantro, cleaned and tied in a tight bundle with kitchen twine
 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
 1 whole garlic head, outer papery skin removed 
 2 teaspoons Hawaij 
 2½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

Preparation
1. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with 3 to 4 inches of cold water. Soak at least 8 hours or preferably overnight. Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside. 

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bones and sear until nicely browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the 12 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour, periodically skimming off any foam that rises to the top. 

3. Whisk together the tomato paste and the remaining ½ cup of water (to thin it out) and stir it into the pot. Add the soaked beans, the cilantro bundle, onion, garlic head, and hawaij. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until the beans are soft, about 1 to 1½ hours. Remove the lid and season with the salt. Continue to cook until the soup has reduced and thickened slightly, 1 to 1½ hours more. (If you’re in no hurry, let it simmer away over very low heat for up to 4 hours, and it will be even better.) 

4. Remove and discard the cilantro bundle (it’s fine if some has “escaped” into the soup). Retrieve the garlic head and transfer to a small bowl. Let cool enough to handle, then squeeze out the softened pulp from the cloves and stir into the soup. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Make ahead: The soup can be made in advance and cooled completely before being transferred to an airtight resealable container and stored in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. Like all legume soups, it will thicken during storage—add more water to thin it out if needed and reheat over low heat before serving. 

Excerpted from Shuk by Einat Admony and Janna Gur (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019.

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Spicy Tomato and Garlic Salad with Tahini Dressing

Inspired by Einat’s aunt and the Tel Aviv restaurant M25, this salad is spicy and given a lift by techina. 

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
For the garlic condiment:
2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated or minced 
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 
Pinch of sugar 
Pinch of kosher salt 

For the tahini dressing:
½ cup best-quality raw tahini 
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
½ garlic clove, finely grated or minced 
6 tablespoons ice water 
¾ teaspoon kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper 

For the salad:
16 ounces (3 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved 
1 small jalapeño, cored, seeded and sliced into very thin rings 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preperation
1. Make the garlic condiment: Combine the garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir to blend, then stir in the oil, sugar, and salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. (This will mellow the strong flavor of the raw garlic.) 

2. Make the tahini dressing: Pour the tahini into a medium bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice and garlic, followed by the ice water a couple of tablespoons at a time. Keep whisking until the mixture is creamy with a consistency similar to a smooth hummus; you may not use all of the water. Whisk in the salt and several twists of pepper and set aside. 

3. Assemble the salad: Toss the cherry tomatoes and jalapeño in a medium bowl with the lemon juice, oil, and salt. Spread the tahini dressing around the rim of a serving dish as you would hummus, leaving a well in the center for the tomatoes. Pile the tomatoes and jalapeño into the well, then spoon the garlic condiment over them. Season with pepper and serve immediately, before the tomatoes become soupy. 

Make ahead: The garlic condiment and the tahini dressing can be made up to a day in advance and stored separately in airtight resealable containers in the refrigerator.

Excerpted from Shuk by Einat Admony and Janna Gur (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019.

Fresh Herb Salad

Ziona, like many Persian cooks, serves platters of raw and loose herbs to pair with many meals. In this recipe, Einat borrows from that idea and creates a fresh herb salad that pairs perfectly with any rich meal.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
4 cups picked flat-leaf parsley leaves (1 bunch) 
4 cups picked cilantro leaves (1 bunch)
1 cup tender herbs or baby greens, such as tarragon, chervil, or baby lettuces
½ cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large 
½ cup fresh dill sprigs 
1 medium Fresno or other hot red chile, cored, seeded and sliced into very thin rings 
1 lemon, rind removed with a peeler
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation
Wash and thoroughly dry the herbs and greens. Combine them in a large serving bowl with the chile. Finely dice the lemon peel and add it to the greens. Halve the lemon and squeeze one half over the salad. Drizzle the greens with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad ingredients together and adjust the seasoning until the salad is bright and refreshing. 

Excerpted from Shuk by Einat Admony and Janna Gur (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019.

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Fesenjan (Persian Chicken with Walnuts and Pomegranate Preserves)

This recipe contains two parts: the chicken preparation and the pomegranate preserve. If you plan to make the entire recipe from scratch (more on a shortcut below), start with the confiture. 

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 1½ hours

Ingredients
2 cups shelled walnut halves and pieces
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric 
2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 8 pieces)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1¼ cups Pomegranate confiture (recipe below)
Pinch of saffron threads (optional)

Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

2. Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the pot is heating, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric in a small bowl. Pat the chicken pieces dry and season with the spice mixture, coating evenly.

3. Add the oil to the pot and swirl to coat. Working in 2 or 3 batches, brown the chicken on all sides, being careful not to overcrowd the pot and steam the chicken instead of searing it, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer the seared chicken to a bowl and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. 

4. Remove the pot from the heat and let the oil cool slightly before discarding it. Wipe out any remaining burnt spices and return the pot to the stove.

5. Place the chicken on the pan along with the toasted walnuts and stir in the pomegranate confiture and saffron threads, if using. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 45 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the walnuts are caramelized.

6. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is evenly glazed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Cooks’ Notes: If you don’t have the time or access to fresh pomegranates to make the pomegranate confiture, you can substitute ½ cup of pomegranate molasses, ½ cup of pomegranate juice, and ¼ cup of honey.

Adapted from Balaboosta by Einat Admony (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013.

Pomegranate Confiture 

Makes: 2 cups
Time: about 1 hour  

Ingredients
6 cups pomegranate seeds (from about 10 pomegranates)
3 cups sugar 
¼ cup water 

Preparation
Place the pomegranate seeds, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture is thick and syrupy, about 35 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning. Remove from the heat and cool completely. 

Make ahead: The pomegranate confiture can be made ahead and stored in a resealable airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Jeweled Rice Tahdig (Golden Crusted Rice with Caramelized Fruit and Nuts)

This jeweled rice gets an added flourish with the help of tahdig, a crispy and much sought after crust in Persian tradition. 

Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 3 hours, plus 2 to 24 hours soaking time

Ingredients
3 cups long-grain white basmati rice
¼ cup kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup (3 ounces) dried barberries
3 large oranges, rind removed with a peeler and julienned
½ teaspoon saffron threads
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon orange blossom water 
1 cup canola oil, butter, or ghee
½ cup sliced raw almonds
¼ cup unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
¼ cup seedless golden raisins
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 
1 jumbo carrot, cut into 3-inch segments and julienned (2 cups)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cardamom 

Preparation
1. Wash the rice to remove its excess starch by placing it in a large bowl and covering it with cool water. Agitate the rice gently with your hand, then pour out the milky water. Repeat until the water runs clear, about 5 times. Cover the rice with cold water, add 2 tablespoons of salt, and allow it to soak for 2 to 24 hours (soaking results in longer grains of rice). Drain the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and set aside. 

2. Clean the barberries by removing their stems and any grit. Place the barberries in a fine-mesh strainer, and place the strainer in a large bowl of cool water. Agitate the barberries gently and soak for 15 to 20 minutes (any sand will settle to the bottom). Remove the strainer from the bowl and rinse the barberries. Drain and set aside. 

3. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the julienned orange peel and blanch for 1 minute to remove any bitterness from the peel. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

4. Mix the saffron with ¼ cup of the orange blossom water in a small bowl and set aside to steep.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and pistachios, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the raisins, transfer the nut-raisin mixture to a small bowl, and set aside. 

6. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet and stir in the barberries, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid evaporates and the barberries begin to caramelize, 4 to 5 minutes. (Beware, barberries burn easily!) Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. 

7. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the skillet along with the blanched orange peel and julienned carrots. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar, ½ teaspoon of the saffron-infused orange blossom water, the cinnamon stick and the cardamom, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the carrot-orange mixture is lightly caramelized and the liquid is syrupy, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the syrup (about ¾ cup), and set aside. 

8. Bring 10 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in a large nonstick pot or deep skillet over high heat. Add the drained rice to the pot along with the remaining tablespoon of orange blossom water. Boil briskly for 6 to 10 minutes until the rice softens slightly and has risen to the surface. Drain the rice in a large, fine-mesh strainer and rinse with 2 cups of cold water. 

9. To make the tahdig: Whisk together ½ cup of the oil, 2 tablespoons of water, ½ teaspoon of the saffron-orange blossom water, and 2 cups of the cooked rice in a medium bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a shake to even out the base. 

10. Gently spoon the remaining rice on top of the saffron-rice mixture, gradually shaping the rice into a pyramid-shaped mound. (This shape leaves room for the rice grains to expand and enlarge.) Cover the rice and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat. 

11. Combine the remaining oil and orange-saffron blossom water with the reserved carrot-orange syrup in a measuring cup and drizzle it evenly over the rice. Wrap the lid of the pot with a clean dish towel and cover the pot firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook over medium-low heat until the bottom layer of rice is crisp and golden brown, about 1 hour. 

12. Remove the pot from heat. Allow it to cool on a damp dish towel on a heat-proof surface for 2 to 3 minutes without uncovering it. (This helps to free the crust from the bottom of the pot.) Uncover and loosen the edges of the rice with an off-set spatula. 

13. Place a large serving plate over the top of the rice and, firmly gripping the plate to the pot or skillet with oven mitts, carefully invert the rice onto the plate so that the browned crust is on top. Top the tah-dig with the caramelized carrot mixture, caramelized barberries, and the nut-raisin mixture. Serve immediately.

Make ahead: The rice can be soaked, blanched, and drained a day in advance. Cool completely before transferring it to a resealable airtight container and store in the fridge until you are ready to make the tahdig. The caramelized barberries and carrot-orange mixtures can be prepared 1 to 2 days in advance and cooled completely before being stored separately in airtight resealable containers in the fridge. Let each come to room temperature while the tahdig cooks. The nut-raisin mixture can be prepared a day in advance and stored in an airtight resealable container at room temperature.

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Veggie Tanzia (Roasted Root Vegetables with Caramelized Onions, Dried Fruit, and Nuts)

Einat grew up on stories of tanzia, a festive dish with dried fruit and nuts, but never had it. In place of a lamb version, she shared a vegetarian one, perfect for a vegetarian or dairy holiday table. 

Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients
8 tablespoons olive oil  
2 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced 
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ cup pitted prunes, halved 
½ cup dried apricots, halved 
½ cup dried figs, stemmed and halved 
½ cup shelled walnut halves and pieces 
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Freshly ground black pepper 
2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 large turnips (1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium butternut squash (2 to 2½ pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon ground turmeric 
½ cup blanched slivered almonds, for garnish


Preparation
1. Heat 6 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until caramelized and deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the onions to a large bowl. Add the prunes, apricots, figs, walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir until fully combined and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the potatoes, turnips, and butternut squash with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then toss the vegetables with the turmeric. Season well with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables evenly in a large roasting pan. Spoon the fruit-nut mixture over and around the vegetables. 

3. Add 1½ cups of water to the pan. Roast the vegetable mixture until well browned and cooked through, stirring them once halfway through cooking for even browning and adding more water if needed, about 1 hour. 

4. While the vegetables are roasting, toast the almonds in a dry medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside. 

5. Transfer the vegetables and fruit-nut mixture to a large serving platter and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

Make ahead: The onions can be caramelized and tossed with the dried fruit, nuts, sugar, and seasonings 1 to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight resealable container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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Baked Apples with Meringue

Makes: 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients
For the Apples:
6 Granny Smith apples
½ lemon
¾ cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
¾ cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped 
¼ red raisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoon silan (natural date syrup) or honey
⅓ teaspoon white hawaij (Yemenite spice mixture), can be found at a market like Kalustyans.com

For the Meringue:
¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 egg whites
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon

Preperation
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking tray with a neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed oil.

2. Using an apple corer or a sharp knife, remove the core of the apples by cutting a cone from the top of each apple. With a teaspoon or a melon baller, scoop out the seeds down to the bottom. 

3. Peel a horizontal stripe around the circumference of the apple, 1 inch from the rim. This prevents the apple flesh from splitting. Rub the apple’s peeled surface with the lemon to prevent oxidation. 

4. Mix pecans, walnuts, dates, raisins, cinnamon, silan, and white hawaij in a large bowl until combined well. 

5. Place 3 generous tablespoons of the mixture into the cavity of each apple, creating a small mound on top.

6. Place apples onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Return the tray to the oven and bake covered for another 30 minutes until the apples are cooked through and still hold their shape. 

7. Using a standing mixer, beat the egg whites and apple cider vinegar on low. Gently increase the speed, as the egg whites begin to foam, slowly add the sugar to the mixture increasing the speed to high as you go. Add the lemon zest to the mixture. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy, forming stiff peaks.

8. Remove the apples from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.

9. Place the meringue into a pastry bag and cut the tip of the pastry bag to form a 1/4 inch diameter. Pipe the meringue on top of each apple in a swirl shape. Transfer the baking tray with the meringue topped apples to the oven. Bake until meringue is a deep golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Photos by Penny De Los Santos

Photos by Penny De Los Santos

Apple and Date Challah Bread Pudding

This holiday bread pudding contains dairy, making it perfect for Rosh Hashanah lunch or for a vegetarian dinner.

Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients
Two 1-pound loaves of challah, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 20 cups)
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon apple liqueur, such as calvados
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 medium apple, cut into ¼-inch pieces 
½ cup pitted dates, cut into ¼-inch pieces 
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing

Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the challah cubes evenly on the sheet. Bake until lightly toasted and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Whisk the sugar, eggs, and liqueur in a large bowl. Whisk in the milk and cream to combine. Add the toasted challah and gently toss the mixture to evenly coat the cubes. Fold in the apple and dates and allow to soak for 15 minutes.

3. Lightly grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with butter and spread the bread mixture evenly in the dish. Drizzle with the melted butter and cover the surface of the bread pudding with foil (grease the foil lightly to keep the underside from sticking to the pudding). Bake for 40 minutes until bubbling and cooked through.

4. Increase the oven to 425°F. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top of the pudding is a deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve warm.

Make ahead: The pudding can be assembled and transferred to the prepared baking dish, then covered with foil and refrigerated overnight until ready to bake. Remove the pudding from the fridge and let come to room temperature while the oven preheats.

A California Persimmon Cake Finds New Life in Tel Aviv

A California Persimmon Cake Finds New Life in Tel Aviv

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