It seems like the Jewish world has sweets on the brain lately! I think the kosher world is continually striving for a greater variety of kosher desserts and specialty items, and it seems like we are slowly getting there which is pretty exciting.
I’ve long been saying that the moment of the cupcake has passed, and that other desserts are taking its place instead. I thought for a little while it might be replaced by the whoopie pie, or even the cake pop. But the macaron has really taken center stage over the past 2 years.
Macarons are not my personal sweet of choice – I don’t love the chewy texture. But a lot of people DO love them, and they are a great option for Passover or Shabbat, because they are often pareve and flour-free! Want to be bold and make your own? What Jew Wanna Eat’s Amy Kritzer has a recipe for (dairy) Raspberry Macarons with Cream Cheese Filling.
But for those of us less willing to put in the grunt work, Macarons and Cookies By Woops just opened a new location in the Garden State Plaza Mall in New Jersey! Check out their beautiful sweet on their website. And yes, they are kosher!
I adore a good pot of freshly brewed tea, especially made with high quality loose tea. A friend posted on Facebook this week that Davids Tea is now offering over 90 kosher certified loose-leaf teas! I am partial to chamomile and English Breakfast, but they also offer several oolang varieties, blueberry flavored black tea, chai, chocolate and sweet dreams, just to name a few of the 90 flavors! You can place an order from on their website.
And in the Lakeview area of Chicago, a small sweets shop called Windy City Sweets has allowed members of the observant Jewish community’s nearby synagogue to create Shabbat accounts so that the the community can enjoy ice cream on Shabbat afternoon. The arrangement was so successful that Rabbi Asher Lopatin (the rabbi of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation) now uses the sweet shop to regularly host ice cream happy hours and post-holiday ice cream celebrations. Now that’s a community with its priorities straight! Read more about this from The Forward’s Jew and the Carrot.
I’m always looking for the simplest route to a pareve dessert and last week I had a moment of inspiration from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook.
I’ve tasted and seen lots of recipes for pareve ice cream pie, and they are pretty tasty and easy to make. But Momofuku Milk Bar has a recipe for a sweet n salty version that I surmised could easily be made into a non-dairy version. And indeed it can! Of course if you want to make this dairy I am sure it is even more delicious.
When serving the pie let it sit out for 10 minutes before cutting into it because if the pie is too hard it will be difficult to cut.
There are lots of great tasting non-dairy ice creams to choose from these days though I chose to use Tempt Chocolate Fudge Hemp Milk Ice Cream which had a rich and smooth flavor. The chocolate fudge flavor complimented the salty-sweet pretzel crunch perfectly. I would also recommend using vanilla, chocolate or a caramel swirl ice cream.
2 cups pretzels
3 1/2 Tbsp margarine, melted
3 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 half-pint container pareve ice cream
2 Tbsp margarine, melted
Pre-heat oven to275 degrees.
Crush pretzels in plastic bag or large bowl until smaller crumbles form.
Combine crushed pretzels, sugars, flour, melted margarine and olive oil.
Spread pretzel mixture onto cookie sheet in single layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and set aside.
In a food processor fitted with a blade crumble the pretzel mixture again. Add additional 2 Tbsp melted margarine. Press the mixture into pie pan using fingers and cover with plastic wrap. Put into the freezer for 1 hour.
Allow ice cream to soften so that is it spreadable. Pour ice cream into pie crust and smooth top. Put back into freezer for at least 2-3 hours to completely set.
Bread pudding is one of my absolute favorite desserts – its easy to make and is one of those great dishes you can whip up with all that leftover bread hanging out in your freezer. I have fond memories of my mother making batches of bread pudding with the “ends” of the bread that my brother and I would never eat.
Now as an adult, I love experimenting with different kinds of breads in my bread pudding, and it should come as no surprise that my favorite kind of bread to use for bread pudding is challah. Challah already has good flavor and soaks up the milk, eggs and sugar really well, just like french toast! I’ve also had amazing croissant bread pudding that was surprisingly light while still being decadent and the most delicious bread pudding I’ve ever had is the white chocolate biscuit bread pudding at Cafe Adelaide in New Orleans.
When I saw Babka bread pudding on the menu at Kutscher’s Tribeca in NYC I knew I had to try to make my own version. Babka is already dense and sweet, so it provides the perfect backdrop for a rich, pareve Shabbat-perfect dessert.
I suggest using a chocolate babka, but of course you could use a cinnamon babka as well, even if Seinfeld might disagree.
1 store-bought chocolate babka
3 cups coconut or almond milk
1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking dish using cooking spray or vegetable oil.
Cut the babka into half inch cubes and place into baking dish.
Combine coconut or almond milk, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat eggs together. Add eggs to milk mixture.
Pour liquid over babka cubes and let soak in for an hour. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
Serve with pareve ice cream and fresh berries.
Another (secular) year is almost up, and it’s been a pretty good year for Jewish and kosher cuisine. We’ve had a kosher pastry chef appear on a national TV Food competition, kosher food trucks gain followings across the country, and a gastronomic renaissance for traditional, Eastern European Jewish fare.
Read on to see some of the best Jewish and Kosher food trends of 2011, and make sure to send us any we missed.
Upscale Deli and Haute Jewish Cuisine
It was truly the year for re-invented Jewish deli, and traditional Jewish-American fare. Montreal-style deli and bagels made their way to Brooklyn with the opening of the Mile End Delicatessen. A “speciality bagelry” also appeared as Vic’s Bagel Bar and new restaurants such as Kutschers Tribeca all brought back the Jew food in a major way.
My own take: as Americans focus on artisanal meats and charcuterie, as well as experience a general foodie re-focus towards comfort food, its no wonder that deli sandwiches, bagels and matzah balls are being given a makeover (and popularity boost). And I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Kosher Restaurant Trends: Asian Fusion
I don’t eat solely in kosher restaurants, so I turned to kosher dining expert and blogger Dani Klein to get the latest trends in kosher dining. Dani, who is the founder of YeahThatsKosher, shares that restaurants are going Asian in the U.S. from LA to Miami to New York:
“Numerous restaurants have been opening and focusing solely on the various flavors from the East, which include a full sushi menu (a staple in nearly all kosher restaurants today), as well as other Japanese cuisine, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Malaysian, and others. Relatively new kosher Asian Fusion restaurants including Prime KO & Sushein in NYC; Estihana in Teaneck, NJ; Lotus in Surfside (Miami), FL; Saba Sushi in Los Angeles, as well as scores in Brooklyn and Israel, have opened up in the past year, or so. They’re riding the wave of sushi’s popularity and meshing it with other cuisine and meat dishes from the region.
Dessert: Bye-bye Cupcakes, Welcome Cake Pops and Macarons
Move over cupcakes, there’s a new dessert in town: cake pops and whoopie pies says DC blogger, foodie and photographer Emily P. Goodstein, of Wild and Crazy Pearl. Want to try out the latest trend? Blogger Overtime Cook has some great tips.
Other dessert trends? Chef Paula Shoyer, kosher dessert expert, cookbook author and Sweet Genius contestant shares that french macarons are becoming more popular even with kosher bakeries and caterers (good news for anyone hosting an affair in the near future).
Chef Paula also shared that special diet baking, particularly gluten free options, “is getting more attention as kosher companies see the large market for gluten free desserts….the more creative kosher restaurant chefs are trying to bake with more natural ingredients and stay away from the more processed products.” Well, who doesn’t love that – natural is back!
She also shared her kosher dessert predictions for the coming year:
“Coming up: Aerated chocolate bars and candies; hand pies and retro desserts in flavors such as malt and butterscotch; more whole grain desserts; whoopie pies; and more and more macarons!”
Food Trucks Go Kosher
Unless you’ve been under a rock, it would be hard not to notice the food truck craze that has taken over the nation. Personally, I have made it a mission to try as many NYC food trucks as possible, and the size of my tuchus is a testament to my successful foodie mission over the last two years.
Kosher food trucks have been seen gracing the streets of NYC and LA for at least two years, but perhaps the most exciting food truck that came onto the scene was the Sixth and Rye Truck. A popular DC food truck and project of the innovative Sixth and I Synagogue, and Top Chef contestant Chef Spike Mendelsohn, the truck is now closed for the winter, but we remain hopeful this is not the end for “DC’s First Kosher Deli on Wheels.”
Jewish goes treyf
The trend of Jewish-treyf fusion is perhaps my favorite trend of the year, and indeed, the most controversial. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn there is literally a restaurant called Treif, featuring a pork and seafood focused menu.
Then there is Top Chef Ilan Hall’s creation of a bacon wrapped matzo ball. And I have also heard reports here in NYC of bagel shops featuring bacon cream cheese.
I know, I know – some of you are deeply offended by the fusion of traditional Jewish food, and blatantly non-kosher products. But I always find it interesting when cultures merge, collide and spark creativity. Is a matzo ball wrapped in bacon still a Jewish food? And what is a Jewish food anyways?
Well, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2012 – what do you think is on the culinary horizon for Jewish and kosher food?