I like an apple cake as much as the next girl (two favorites are Amy’s Bissel Apple Cake and this Cornmeal Apple Upside Down Cake) but there are two nights of Rosh Hashanah, and once I’ve got my apple cake craving taken care of, I need something else. Enter these blondies. Though blondies might not seem quite fancy enough for a big holiday meal, trust me that these will blow your hair back, and can be gussied up into something truly stunning to look at, and downright delectable to eat.
The only specialty item called for here is pomegranate molasses, which you can almost certainly find at your local Middle Eastern food store, or you can buy it online here. I love to drizzle some pomegranate molasses over my yogurt and granola in the morning, and it’s also good as an ice cream topping.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ cups brown sugar
¾ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup pomegranate seeds
⅓ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the pomegranate molasses and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the dates, pomegranate seeds, and pecans if including.
Pour the batter into the lined pan. It will be a very thick batter--smooth out the top with a butter knife. Bake until top is golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.
When blondies are completely cool (I let them sit, covered, overnight) remove from pan, and if you want a round dessert, use a biscuit cutter or the edge of a juice glass to cut circles out of the blondies. Serve topped with ice cream, and drizzled with a tiny bit of pomegranate molasses. Follow with a sweet and wonderful new year.
One answer might be found in Song of Songs 8:5 which begins with “Beneath the apple tree I aroused you.” Symbolically alluding to the love relationship between G-d and the Jewish people, this poem has been interpreted to suggest that the apples we eat at Rosh Hashana, which remind us of that special relationship with G-d, are what give us the strength to repent and improve ourselves.
Conversely, it could be argued that apples feature prominently at Rosh Hashana simply because the time of year coincides with the bounty of the apple harvest.
Regardless of why we eat them, apples are a delicious and nutritious addition to the holiday kitchen. With more than 7,500 varieties worldwide, their crisp exterior and juicy interior provide infinite options for apple-focused dishes.
This Rosh Hashana, I hope you’ll try my Apple & Calvados Chicken Liver Pate. A more elegant spin on the familiar Chopped Liver, this dish highlights the mystique of the apple by adding complementary layers of flavor that balance the apple’s sweetness and acidity.
Enjoy this recipe. And more importantly, remember to enjoy this time for evaluation, self-renewal and, ultimately, sweet transformation.
Food aficionado and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Joy Dawn Prevor is the creator of MyCulinaryJoy.com, an interactive learning experience focused on ingredients and techniques that empower food-lovers to make their own recipes. Joy’s culinary repertoire includes Cooking Classes, Freelance Writing, Specialty Catering, Recipe Development, Culinary Demos and National Food & Wine Events. Please visit her at My Culinary Joy.
4 Tbsp margarine
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and sliced
1 tsp sugar
3 shallots, sliced
1 lb chicken livers, cleaned and dried off with paper towel
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
½ cup Calvados apple brandy (ok to substitute with regular brandy)
½ tsp lemon juice
Melt half the margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix together the apples and sugar and place them in the skillet. Allow the apples to begin caramelizing - do not stir for the first few minutes
Once the apples are soft and brown, place them in a bowl and set aside.
Melt the other half of the margarine in the skillet and add the shallots, with a pinch of salt and pepper – cook until they are soft and translucent.
Add the chicken livers, season with salt and pepper and allow them to cook for a few minutes until the outside is firm but the interior is still red.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the Calvados (please be very careful and keep the skillet away from your face as the alcohol may flame up).
Return the skillet to the stove and scrape the bottom of the pan to lift the flavor from any brown bits. Add the cayenne and lemon juice and continue to cook the livers through until the liquid reduces and the interior of the livers is slightly pink (use a scissor or knife to cut a piece open to check).
Pour all the contents of the skillet into a blender, allow to cool.
Add the apples to the blender and puree the mixture until it is completely smooth. Taste the mixture and, if needed, adjust the seasonings (i.e. add salt and pepper, add cayenne if you like it spicier, add more Calvados if you’d like it a little sweeter and add more lemon juice to balance the acidity).
Store the mixture in your serving bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight to allow the mixture to firm up and develop its flavors.
Serve at room temperature with toasted slices of baguette or crackers. If you like spicy foods, sprinkle with cayenne for an extra kick.