I love a good challah challenge and always welcome an excuse to create new flavors for friends and family to try. I tend to favor savory combinations such as rosemary and garlic, za’atar and “everything bagel” challah flavors, although I also make salty chocolate and cinnamon raisin versions on occasion.
For Rosh Hashanah this year I wanted to branch out and try something completely new and perfect for the holiday.
A few months ago I was chatting with my husband’s best friend’s mother, whom we lovingly call “Mama Morley.” She was explaining a technique she uses for round challah that I had not tried before – stuffing the challah dough and rolling it like a cinnamon bun. Brilliant!
This conversation stuck in my head, and so as I was mulling over potential recipes for the New Year I realized I should try this technique and stuff it with something uniquely delicious for Rosh Hashanah.
And thus my Balsamic Apple Date Challah was born. The dough itself is sweet, laced with cinnamon, vanilla and just a touch of nutmeg. And when you break into the round loaf, it is like biting into a challah cinnamon bun.
I sprinkled the top of the challah with thick sea salt, cinnamon and sanding sugar. But you can leave the salt off if you would rather go all-sweet. Either way, your guests will barely be able to control themselves around this challah. My daughter kept trying to sneak her own bites, as you can see below from her chubby little hands which somehow made it into the photos.
Wishing everyone a sweet, happy, healthy and DELICIOUS New Year.
For the challah dough:
5 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp honey
½ Tbsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ Tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
3 gala apples, peeled and diced
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
½ tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup water
¼ cup red wine
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
For top of challah:
1 tsp water
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp sanding sugar
1 Tbsp thick sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, place yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil. Mix thoroughly.
Add another cup of flour and eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.
Add another 1 1/2 cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last).
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3-4 hours.
To make the filling, place apples, dates, salt, cinnamon stick, water, red wine and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer on medium heat until the mixture is reduced. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer another 2-3 minutes. The mixture will cook around 10-15 minutes in total.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
Place mixture in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until smooth.
After the challah is done rising, cut the dough in half. To be as precise as possible, use a scale to measure the weight.
Roll the first ball out using a rolling pin into a rectangle. Spread around half, perhaps slightly less, of the apple-date mixture in an even layer, leaving 1/2 inch all around without filling. Working quickly, start rolling up the dough towards you. Try and keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the end when you finish.
Create a pinwheel shaped-challah by snaking the dough around and around in a circle around itself. When finished, tuck the end under the challah neatly and pinch lightly. This doesn't have to be perfect - remember, as long as it tastes good, almost no one (maybe except that judgmental great aunt) will care what it looks like.
Repeat with other half of dough.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Allow challahs to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the the size has grown.
Beat 1 egg with 1 tsp water and 1 tsp of honey. Brush liberally over each challah. Combine sea salt, sanding sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over challah.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until middle looks like it has just set, and the color is golden.
After reviewing dozens of brisket recipes, I still can’t believe how many variations of the same dish will grace Jewish families’ dinner tables on Sunday night to celebrate the Jewish New Year.
It was really hard to choose, but we are excited to share with you Maureen Sharon’s Brisket with Tsimmis recipe. Maureen shared that it is her family’ absolute favorite, and perhaps it will become your family’s new favorite too!
We hope you enjoy this special family recipe and enjoy whatever meals you share with loved ones next week. Happy cooking – Happy New Year!
1 6 pound brisket
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp thyme
4 large Onions, sliced into rings
6 stalks celery, sliced
1 lb carrots, sliced (or use whole baby carrots)
12 oz can of tomatoes, stewed or plain
1 cup brewed extra strong coffee
½ cup sweet kosher wine such as Manischewitz
1-2 packages of dried fruit assortment (plums, apricots, etc.)
1-2 lbs small whole yukon gold or red potatoes
2 large yams, cut into chunks
½ cup balsamic vinegar (optional)
½ cup honey (optional)
Rinse and dry the meat and trim fat to your liking. Rub with crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Cover the bottom of your roasting pan (I often use a large disposable aluminum baking pan) with about 2/3 of the sliced onions, celery, and some of the carrots. Arrange the brisket on top, and scatter remaining onions, celery, carrots and spices/herbs on top. Add half of the dried fruit and all the tomatoes. Pour in the coffee and wine. Cover pan with lid or with heavy duty foil and make sure you have a tight seal.
After 2 ½ hours check for doneness with a fork. If the fork goes in fairly easily, you can remove the meat, let rest for 20 minutes, then slice the brisket against the grain. This is a good dish to make ahead of time. You can either refrigerate overnight or freeze. Store the brisket and sauce/vegetables and fruit (tsimmis) separately. Defrost thoroughly before completing the dish.
Return the sliced brisket to the pan. Add potatoes, yams, the other half of the dried fruit, and more sliced celery and carrots. Recover the pan and cook for at least another hour or two until potatoes are tender.
The vegetables and fruit can be served separately as a tsimmis side dish. You can keep the brisket in a low oven (200° F) for several hours to keep warm.
If you like sweet/sour flavors, add ½ cup Balsamic vinegar before cooking and ½ cup honey during the final reheating stage. Be sure to taste and adjust seasoning, adding more honey or vinegar to taste.
Doesn’t it seem like you were just planning your Labor Day grilling menu, and now here we are planning for the High Holidays!? If you’re finding yourself scrambling to put together your meals, or maybe you just want some new recipes ideas, we’ve made the planning for this year easy with two different mix-and-match Rosh Hashanah dinner menus.
Happy cooking and l’shanah tovah!
MENU 1 – TRADITION!
MENU 2 – JEWISH WITH A TWIST
1 cup arborio rice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ large Spanish onion peeled and minced
The white bottoms of 2 cleaned leeks, minced
1 medium red beet, skin off and diced
½ cup dry white wine
2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup beet juice
1 tsp herbs de provence
¼ cup pareve tofu cream cheese (optional)
1 Tbsp margarine (optional)
In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil. Sautee the onions and leeks until soft and translucent. Add the beets and continue to stir.
Add your rice and coat evenly with the oil.
Over low heat, slowly toast the rice in the oil and vegetable mixture. Deglaze with the white stirring constantly. While stirring allow the wine to fully absorb into the rice mixture.
Continue to repeat with the stock, adding the liquid in at least 3 parts constantly stirring. Add the beet juice stirring vigorously.
Take off the heat and stir in the tofutti cream cheese and margarine, add the herbs de province.
Olga Massov is The Sassy Radish, a food writer and a home cook. Her first cookbook, The Kimchi Cookbook, will be published November 27, 2012 and is available for pre-order. She is at work on her second cookbook, which will be out in 2013.
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces (8 cups) challah cubes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of allspice
4 large egg yolks
1 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
2 large egg whites
1 Tbsp granulated sugar, plus additional for dusting the dish
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Heat oven to 375 degrees and position the rack in the middle. In a small saucepan set over low heat, bring the milk and the cream to a simmer. Place challah cubes in a bowl. Remove milk-cream mixture from heat and pour half of the liquid over the challah. Let sit.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment set on high speed, cream the butter and the brown sugar until light and fluffy (start the mixer on low and gradually increase to high speed). Add the egg yolks, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, beating well, on medium high, until emulsified. Add apple sauce and the remaining dairy mixture, and mix until thoroughly combined.
Fold the soaked challah into the apple sauce mixture. Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and add the sugar and the salt. Starting with the mixer on low and gradually increasing the speed to high, beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
Gently fold the whites into the batter. Butter and sugar a 3-quart soufflé dish or 8 3 1/2-inch ramekins, then place or evenly divide the batter. If baking in a soufflé dish bake the pudding about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a knife, inserted into the pudding, comes out clean.
Check on your bread pudding after 1 hour. If the top of your bread pudding starts to get too brown, cover it with tin foil and continue to cook.) If using the ramekins, bake the pudding for about 25 minutes, or until a knife, inserted into the pudding, comes out clean. Baked puddings can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, then heated in the oven wrapped in foil or microwaved until warm.
This cake falls into the “bissel” category for a few reasons: first, it is one of those recipes that is more about look and feel than it is about exactness; and secondly, expanding on the first point, it’s also one of those recipes that allows for a lot of tweaking– a pinch of that, a variation of that, a bissel of orange this time, let’s say– and it always just works.
It also keeps nicely, is a perfectly hospitable option for gluten-free guests (see the flour options part), and it doesn’t take a ton of effort to make it look “wow.”
Let’s do this:
I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Granny Smiths are so tart! I like such-and-such.” Yes. I know. but, for baking, Granny Smiths are sturdy so they don’t turn to a lump of mush and they sweeten up as you cook ‘em.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus a little extra to grease the pan
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
water (maybe a ¼ c or less-- it’ll depend on weather, altitude, blah blah blah. So just add a little at a time until you have it like you like)
pinch of kosher salt
For the batter there are options, depending on the type of flours with which you prefer baking.
1/4 cup chestnut flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup flax meal
½ cup almond flour (If you can’t find chestnut flour, make up for it with an extra ¼ cup of almond flour--again, this is a really flexible cake-- but finding chestnut flour is worth the effort, simply because it adds a nice buttery flavor to the cake)
OR 3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda (a bissel a more if you went the non-flour route)
1 teaspoon salt (not quite a full teaspoon)
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon fresh lemon zest (orange is ok in a pinch)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
½ cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil, in a pinch)
1 almost-over-ripe banana
⅓ c. orange juice (the fresher the better)
½ c. water, added slowly, if needed (Your batter should be like oatmeal or thick-ish pancake batter. Add this water slowly as you need it. On humid days and/or low altitude, you might not need it at all. No biggie.)
Grease deep 9-inch cake pan (I use a Springform for less drama later). Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Start your caramel. Okay, listen: Caramel goes haywire fast, but just be conservative with the heat and it’s nothing to be afraid of. Cook up your sugar and the water over medium-high heat, stirring minimally and occasionally, until your sugar dissolves and the mixture darkens a bit. (It’ll probably take you about 7 to 9 minutes.) Then, reduce your heat to medium, add your butter and salt. Stir until it’s all combined and smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Set aside.
Drizzle a little of your caramel in the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside, at least a half hour or so at room temperature.
Chop apples: core the apples and slice (aim for about 10-12 snack size segments-- not too thick but not too thin, either.). Arrange about half of the apples on top of caramel in prepared pan, overlapping them slightly, to desired presentation style (they’ll be visible once the cake is ready and inverted, so take a minute and fan them around nicely). Set remaining apple slices aside.
Create batter: Combine dry ingredients in a mixer at low-medium speed. When incorporated, add lemon zest, followed by coconut oil, banana, then remaining wet ingredients.
Pour half the batter over the apple arrangement. Arrange remaining half of sliced apples (for whatever reason, I like to reverse the direction of them, but that may be more of my own weird little quirk than it is a strengthening measure. Then again... maybe not.) drizzle with a small amount of your caramel, and top with remaining batter. Bake on center rack for one hour to one hour and 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean from center. (Note: the top is going to darken a little. Don’t panic. If it is really a big issue, lightly drape a piece of foil across the top towards the end of the baking time, taking care not to seal edges.) Also: you might want to put a tray or foil below to catch oozing caramel.
Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack at least 15 minutes. Run small knife around edge of cake pan to loosen cake, then invert onto a flat plate. (If any apple slices stick to pan, gently replace on top of cake. No biggie; very easily fixed.)
For variations, you can switch the lemon zest or orange zest, and if you are feeling adventurous, add a pinch of chili powder to the batter. Again, this is the kind of cake to take and make into your very own.
Before serving, soften the reserved caramel in a microwave by zapping for 15 seconds, stirring thoroughly, zapping another 15 seconds, and so on. Drizzle over the finished cake and/or over individual slices before serving.