These bite-sized cakes are actually biscuits dipped in honey syrup. They take a bit of patience to make but keep for ages, so you can make them the week before Rosh Hashanah. They are perfect as a gift or to serve for afternoon tea. This recipe was published in Monday Morning Cooking Club’s second book, The Feast Goes On.
- 3 cups (15 ¾ oz/450 g) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup (250 ml) light olive oil
- 3/4 cup (5 ¾ oz or 165 g) caster sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) sweet sacramental wine or port
- finely grated zest of one orange
- strained juice of one orange (1/3 cup)
- 1/3 cup (1 ¾ oz or 50 g) pistachio nuts, toasted and finely chopped
For the honey syrup
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 cup (12 oz or 350 g ) honey
- 1/2 cup firmly packed (3 ½ oz or 100 g ) light brown sugar
- finely julienned rind and juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C). Line 2 baking trays.
- For the honey syrup, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a saucepan, add the bean and the remaining ingredients. Slowly bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil and sugar until well combined, then stir in the wine or port, orange zest and juice.
- Gradually pour the oil mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to form a rough dough. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer and using the dough hook, beat for around 5 minutes until smooth, shiny and glutinous, adding extra flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Roll mixture into small walnut-size balls and place 3 cm (1.2 inches) apart on the prepared baking trays. Lightly flatten each ball with the back of a spoon to make a slight indent and bake for 12 minutes or until firm.
- Remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick from the warm syrup, pour into a shallow dish and soak the cakes in the syrup for 30 seconds on each side.
- Using two forks, lift the cakes from the syrup and place on a wire rack positioned over a tray. Sprinkle with the pistachios and allow to stand for 1 hour.
- The cakes will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 – 3 weeks.