I always advise people never to try new things when you are bringing something or hosting a meal. And what did I decide to do? Try a new cake recipe to bring to someone’s house who I had never met. This past Thursday night, I opened my trusty copy of Kosher By Design Entertains and decided to make a simple vanilla and chocolate swirl cake recipe for Shabbat dessert. Easy enough, right? Wrong!
The recipe itself was great – the cake batter was awesome! I mean, obviously I licked the spoon. And then disaster struck: I let the cake cool 15 minutes and removed the cake. And it broke. Broken Bundt. #fail. So now what!?
Well, at 11:00 pm I decided to make another dessert. This time I would make my tried-and-true, always-a-hit salty doubly chocolate chip cookies. Except that somehow I under-baked them too much, and they were more like slightly baked cookie dough rather than perfectly chewy cookies. Yet another fail!
What was going on with me!?
Whenever I am whipping something up in the kitchen, I always post the photos to Instagram (are you following me yet? well why the heck not! Follow me here!). And on Thursday night I posted the photo of my poor, poor broken bundt. And lo and behold, a fellow pareve baker suggested I turn the cake into a trifle. Genius!
And that’s just what I did.
Now, the cake recipe is really the least important part. So to make this trifle you can use the same recipe from Kosher By Design Entertains, or you can use a store bought angel food cake or you can even use brownies if you want to be really indulgent.
For you dieters out there….you can actually leave out the cake entirely and simply layer different kinds of fruit together with chocolate mousse and some slivered almonds for crunch. Like a dessert parfait, but with chocolate mousse. Ok, ok, not exactly diet food. But slightly less carb-heavy.
For the trifle I made I used this recipe for the chocolate mousse. But truth be told, usually I live and die by this recipe for Olive oil and chocolate mousse from The New York Times. You can use any mousse recipe that suits you.
Don’t have a trifle dish? You can use just a big glass bowl! I bought mine from Target! But you can also order one from Amazon like this one.
Well, happy broken bundt baking everyone!
1 cake, such as chocolate cake or angel food cake.
1 batch chocolate mousse
2 cups fresh berries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
fresh berries for garnish
In a medium saucepan, add berries, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until you have a syrup-like consistency. Mash berries or put through food processor for a smoother consistency. Allow to cool slightly.
In a large glass bowl or trifle dish, break up around 2 cups of cake or brownie into bottom of bowl. Add layer of chocolate mousse and a drizzle of berry syrup.
Repeat until you have 3 layers and have used up most of the cake and mousse.
Garnish with fresh berries.
When the summer months arrive there is nothing more that I love than baking with fresh berries. There is a constant debate in my house of berry pie vs. berry crumble. See I love berry crumbles – the lightness of the berries with the crunchy sweet toppings while my husband tends to prefer the classic berry pie.
I finally decided I had to merge the two if I was going to be happy and keep my husband happy at the same. The result was nothing short of amazing. I mean, what is not to love about pie crust on the bottom filled with fresh berries, and topped with melt-in-your-mouth crumble? When served at a dairy meal or a late night snack, top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This recipe makes two pies – and trust me, it is so good you will want to bring one to work, share with friends, or keep it for yourself. This pie also freezes well, so you can put one away for a rainy day.
I know it seems like a lot of steps, but they are all simple and do not take very long. Reuse the bowls along the way for fewer dishes to be washed at the end.
For the Crust:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
For the Filling:
4 cups mixed berries
2 cups peeled apples cut into small pieces or peaches
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the Crumble Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter or margarine, at room temperature
For the pie crust mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Cut in the shortening. In a second bowl, mix together the water, vinegar and egg. Mix wet ingredients into flour mixture. Divide into two equal pieces. Roll out pie crust in (two) pie tins.
For the filling, mix all together in a bowl split between two pies crusts.
For the crumble topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oats, and butter in a bowl.
Combine until the mixture resembles large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Bake pies for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.
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?