Every Jewish festival comes with a traditional cake. Rosh Hashanah – which is the Jewish New Year, is Honey cake. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated over two days and it’s one of the biggest festivals in the Jewish calendar. We get together and eat – a lot, gathering for big meals and lots of honey cake.
Traditionally honey cake is a really dense and heavy cake but I’ve been making lighter versions for years now. This one is made with syrup. Now I know what your thinking. If it’s made with syrup why is it called honey cake? Well, Syrup makes the cake a bit heavier than honey and that’s what my mum does and what her mum did and what her mum did. Get the picture? So I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t want my cake to be too heavy so I made it the Genoise way. Still light but with a superior moistness! Yummarge!
Line an 8″ baking tin well. This cake mix is more like batter than cake so it will run out of any cracks in a loose bottom tin. It’s also quite sticky once baked so I always bake in cake liners. It also makes it easier to give the cakes as gifts.
Heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
Make the strong tea and set aside to cool a little.
In a separate bowl measure out all the dry ingredients
Measure the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl and place over a bain-marie. You want to warm the mixture not heat it up. If it gets too warm you’ll have scrambled eggs – yuck! Whisk the ingredients to add air and make the mixture double in size. Remove from the heat and carry on whisking with a hand held whisk or in a stand mixer. Stand mixer is easier.
Measure the oil into a jug and while whisking the egg whites slowly add the oil in a slow and steady trickle. Add the egg whites and the oil and whisk further.
Add the cooled tea and whisk again.
Sieve the dry ingredients over the cake mix. Avoid pouring the dry contents into the bowl in one go as the weight of it will burst loads of air bubbles and we need them to give the cake lightness. Fold the dry ingredients into the mix until completely combined then pour the ingredients into the cake tin. The mix will resemble a very wet batter. It will rise into a deep cake so fill the case to ¾ full.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 45minutes or till the cake starts coming away from the sides. This cake is incredible light so if you press the top with your finger it will leave an indent even if the cake is baked.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a rack before removing from the tin.
This cake tastes great on the day of baking but even better the day after
Happy New Year to all my Jewish readers. Chag Sameach
I am very excited today to bring to you an extract from Hannah Miles’ Cheesecake book which I reviewed – and let’s face it, raved about yesterday. As I mentioned Tim’s favorite cheesecake is New York cheesecake and this is the recipe I used to make my cheesecake for the Jewish Festival Shavout this year. It’s sitting in my fridge chilling right now! I’m not allowed to eat it until the rest of the family get home later on otherwise you all know what will happen don’t you? They won’t get a look in!
Tim likes a cherry topping on his cheesecake so I have made a cherry compote to go along side this cake. I didn’t want to change a thing to Hannah’s recipe. Just look at that sour cream topping. Who needs cherries?
I hope you enjoy this recipe.
New York Cheesecake
For the crumb base
150 g/5½ oz. digestive biscuits/graham crackers
90 g/6 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
600 g/22⁄3 cups cream cheese
225 g/1 cup clotted cream (if unavailable, use crème fraîche)
100 ml/generous 1⁄3 cup crème fraîche
140 g/¾ cup caster/white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the topping
300 ml/1¼ cups sour cream
3 tablespoons icing/confectioners’ sugar
a 26-cm/10-inch round springform cake pan, greased and lined
How to make the New York Cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
To make the crumb base, crush the biscuits/graham crackers to fine crumbs in a food processor or place in a clean plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter. Press the buttery crumbs into the base of the prepared cake pan firmly using the back of a spoon. Wrap the outside of the pan in cling film/plastic wrap and place in a roasting pan half full with water, ensuring that the water is not so high as to spill out. Set aside.
For the filling, whisk together the cream cheese, clotted cream, crème fraîche, sugar, eggs and vanilla bean paste in a blender or with an electric whisk. Pour the mixture over the crumb base, then transfer the cheesecake, in its waterbath, to the preheated oven and bake for 45–60 minutes until the cheesecake is set but still wobbles slightly. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool slightly so that the height of the cheesecake reduces. Leave the oven on.
To make the topping, whisk together the sour cream and icing/confectioners’ sugar and pour over the top of the cheesecake. Returnto the oven and bake for a further 10–15 minutes until set.
Remove the cheesecake from the waterbath and slide a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cheesecake and prevent it from cracking. Leave to cool completely in the pan, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.
Cheesecake by Hannah Miles is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £16.99 and is available from www.rylandpeters.com
Last week my sister asked me if I was making donuts for Channuka. They’re the traditional cake for this festival and I’ve not got a good track record with them. But, this year is different. I’m not frying them -which means the batter isn’t getting welded onto my hob and they aren’t going to end up so hard that you need a drill to break them up! That’s all in the past.
This year I have gone to my reliable friends at Lakeland and used not only their fantastic mini donut mould but their recipe too! Just look at the results. Mouth watering aren’t they?
FOR 12 DOUGHNUTS
75g (2½oz) plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
55g (2oz) caster sugar
60ml (2¼fl oz) milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp olive oil (If preferred 10g (½oz) melted butter may be added in place of the olive oil)
½ tsp vanilla extract
Extra sugar for dusting
How to make donuts
Pre-heat the oven to 325°F/160°C/Gas 3. Lightly brush the doughnut pan with cooking oil.
Take a large roomy bowl, and sift the flour, baking powder and salt into it. Add the sugar and give it a stir round to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, beaten egg, olive oil and vanilla extract together and add this to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
Mix till it looks like a smooth batter
Using a teaspoon carefully fill each of the doughnut cups around ¾ full with the batter. I used an icing bag because I make a lot of mess!
Place in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until firm, but springy to the touch. Cool slightly.
The best thing about these silicon moulds is how easy it is to make your donuts pop out effortlessly! Just a gentle press from beneath et Voila!
Leave to cool if you are adding chocolate ganache or dip in a mix of sugar and cinnamon straight away.
I made a lot of the chocolate ones…..
Make sure you put some greaseproof paper underneath your cooling rack to catch the dribbles.
But the cinnamon ones were pretty delish too!
You don’t have to use a silicon mould. I did a trial run in a small cupcake tin and they popped up really well too. Just make sure you oil the tin really well. I’m going to attempt to put some jam in these later on today when there are no kids that I have to share with!
After reviewing the book ‘ Jerusalem‘ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi yesterday, I have very kindly been given permission by the publishers Ebury Press to run this delicious extract. I hope you enjoy it!
MA K E S 1 6 COOK I E S
During the late 19th century, as part of their Protestant beliefs, the Templers
arrived in Jerusalem from Europe and established the German colony, a
picturesque little neighbourhood south west of the old city that to this day
feels unusually Central European. This is the ‘civilized’ part of town, where
you go for a coffee and a slice of Sachertorte if you wish to escape the harsh
Germanic influences on the city’s food are evident in Christian contexts
— the famous Austrian hospice at the heart of the old city serves superb
strudels and proper schnitzels — but Czech, Austrian, Hungarian and
German Jews arriving in the city from the 1930s have also managed
to stamp their mark, opening cafes and bakeries serving many Austro-
Hungarian classics. Duvshanyot, round iced cookies,
made with honey and spices, typically for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year),
are possibly a result of this heritage; they are very similar to Pfeffernüsse.
These are very loosely inspired by duvshanyot, or pfeffernüsse. They are
actually more closely related to an Italian spice cookie and are hugely
popular on the sweet counter at Ottolenghi over Easter and Christmas. The
recipe was adapted from the excellent The International Cookie Cookbook by
2 tbsp brandy
240g plain flour
½ tbsp best-quality cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
150g good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely grated
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp grated lemon zest
½ tsp grated orange zest
½ medium free-range egg
1 tbsp diced candied citrus peel
3 tbsp lemon juice
160g icing sugar
Soak the currants in the brandy for 10 minutes. Mix together the flour,
cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, salt and dark
chocolate. Mix well with a whisk.
Put the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon and orange zest in a mixer bowl
and beat to combine but not aerate much, about a minute. Add the egg
slowly, while the machine is running, and mix for another minute. Add the
dry ingredients, followed by the currants and brandy. Mix until everything
Remove the bowl from the machine and use your hands to gently knead
until you get a uniform dough. Divide the cookie mix into 50g chunks and
shape them into perfectly round balls. Place on two baking sheets lined with
baking paper, about 2cm apart, and rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC Fan/Gas Mark 5. Bake the cookies for
15–20 minutes, or until the top firms up but the centre is still slightly soft.
Remove from the oven. Once the cookies are out of the oven, allow to cool
for 5 minutes only, and then transfer to a wire rack. While still warm, whisk
together the glaze ingredients until a thin and smooth icing is formed. Pour
1 tablespoon of the glaze over each biscuit, leaving it to drip and coat the
biscuit with a very thin, almost transparent film. Finish each with three
pieces of candied peel placed at the centre. Leave to set and serve, or store
in an airtight container for a day or two.
Jerusalem is available now from Amazon (Just click on the book image below) and good book shops
Have you ever been to Jerusalem? It’s an amazing city full of diversity and amazing sights, scenes, sounds and smells. Being Jewish I’ve been a few times and even though it’s the original ‘old city’ it always seems different each time I go. I have really, really fond memories of Jerusalem from when I went there with my family for the first time when I was 15 to when I was traveling with Tim during our gap year. When I first picked up this book all those memories came flooding back.Flicking through the pages has made me desperate to go back…. very soon!
The authors of this book are Yotam Ottolenghi who is from Jewish West side of Jerusalem and Sami Tamimi who’s from the Muslim West. They grew up there as kids and didn’t meet until years later in London when they set up the Ottolenghi deli (and there’s also a restaurant now) The cultural influence of this great city has such an impact on their recipes that this book is literally bursting with flavor.
As well as all the great recipes here there are tons of atmospheric photos of markets and food sellers. Piles and piles of fresh fruits and vegetable. I love the shot of the hand written sign above a Falafel shop that reads in English and Arabic ‘I HAVE GOOD FALAFEL’ I mean say it like it is or what? It’s touches like this that make this book so beautiful. There’s tons of who, what, where and why for each section and mentions of both Jewish and Muslim traditions. I love that. The fact that these recipes and food combinations have been handed down over generations, carried on through families.
So what will you find inside this book?
In a word. EVERYTHING. If you’re vegetarian then it’s a must. If you’re a meat lover, then it’s a must. In fact if you like flavor then this book is a must!
Jerusalem food, The passion in the air, The recipes, A comment about ownership & history
At home Tim and I make what we call Israeli salad. It’s basically tomatoes, cucumber and onion all chopped up into very small cubes, drenched in olive oil, with a touch of salt and pepper all mixed up. It’s amazingly simple and totally delicious. If you take this kind of simplistic ‘throw it all together’ approach that’s what you get in this chapter, but so much more sophisticated. It’s all about knowing what to put together and boy do these guys do it well! Roasted sweet potato and fresh figs, Broad bean Kuku, even the simple mixed bean salad made my mouth water.
This is one big, jam packed section that I would eat from every evening. It’s also worth mentioning the Latkes. Who can resist a Latke?
PULSES & GRAINS
My family went to Israel for our first holiday abroad when my brother had his bar mitzvah. One of the big memories from the holiday (apart from my brother going down to breakfast first thing in the morning and then again for second breakfast when everyone else got up) was that every street corner had a falafel stand on it. I had falafel at practically every stand! I got completely addicted to them. Why am I telling you this? Well, guess what the first recipe in this chapter is? Yep. Falafel!
Whether it’s chicpeas, rice, pasta or couscous there’ s plenty of choice in this chapter. The thing about this book is that it has an amazing array of herbs and spices to flavor the most basic of foods. The Basmati & wild rice with chickpeas, currants & herbs looks amazing. The hummus…. don’t get me started on the hummus, and couscous with tomato and onion are so easy to make. Some I could eat as a snack (ie devour when no one is looking) but I am sure they are meant to be shared!
I love the soup chapter as it’s got so many unusual flavors. Who else could come up with burnt aubergine & mograbieh soup? (Mograbieh is a type of large couscous by the way) there’s a meatball soup, pistachio soup and a seafood and fennel soup (slightly not Kosher but Tim loved the look of this) but the best soup has to be the proper Clear Chicken soup with knaidlach (aka Jewish Penicillin) Knaidlach are like dumplings and when we were little we nick named them knaidlebums and the name has stuck ever since. This soup is very easy to make and really does make you feel better when you are ill. I swear by it!
No, not a sign that you have eaten too much food from this book and need to loosen your belt buckle, this is all about stuffed foods and literally anything goes. I didn’t know you could stuff a carrot! I thought it was all about cabbage leaves! Not in this book. How does Lamb-stuffed quince with pomegranate & coriander grab you? Or how about stuffed onions, stuffed Romano peppers or stuffed potatoes?
There are lots of easy recipes here that you can pop in the oven and leave to enhance. Roasted chicken with clementines and arak is on my to do list (especially for our next dinner party!) If you like chicken then there’s definitely something here for you. The meatball and Kofta b’siniyah look mouthwateringly good as does the lamb shwarma.
We eat a lot of fish in our house and as I’m no cook (Tim’s the cook. I can bake!) so it’s really good to get some fresh flavour ideas on our regular favs. Pan fried sea bream with harissa & rose, cod cakes in tomato sauce, Marinated sweet and sour fish, I could go on and on.
I’m addicted to eggs. There I said it. I love them and could eat them every day (in fact I nearly do) so when I saw this red pepper & baked egg galette I knew it was love at first sight. I mean what’s not to love? puff pastry+ peppers +topped with a perfect egg! This chapter is all about the mouthwatering flavour of herb pies and Burekas. Nom, nom, nom!
SWEETS & DESSERTS
The first page in this chapter opens with Sweet filo cigars with all the sweet honey just oozing out, then moves swiftly onto sweet cheese. I love savory and sweet together and the Mutabbaq looks so mouthwatering. There’s also recipes for cakes, rice pudding, crumble, spice cookies (which I have the recipe for and will be sharing with you tomorrow) as well as yeasted cakes.
It’s really good to be given so many great condiment recipes. I’ve always wanted to add tahini sauce to my falafel and now I can. There are also yoghurt with cucumber recipes as well as countless picked options.
So in all, I love this book. It seems so perfect for this time of year when it’s cold and windy outside and you want a warm and full flavour dish to keep you toasty and satisfied on the inside.
It would definitely make great Christmas/Channuka present. Smiles all round I think.
You can buy it on Amazon.com by clicking on the link here- Jerusalem– or on book image below
Sometimes you have days when things go wrong. Sometimes those days turn into weeks! I have just had one of those weeks. Nothing I have baked this week seems to have worked!
On Saturday night we had friends round for dinner. In my head I had everything perfectly planned. As always I was on dessert alert and Tim was doing the main meal cooking. My timings were all set (in my head at least) and I already had all the ingredients I needed as I had dashed into Waitrose on Friday to get Tomar (a non dairy butter that tastes great in pastry and is Parve so can be used in kosher desserts for after a meat dinner). My trip for a “few essential ingredients” turned into a £75 shop and we hadn’t even decided what were making for the main meal yet! Damn those great offers/magazines/early Channuka pressents!
Epic Fail No.1- The Banoffee pie
When it came to choosing deserts Beau really wanted Banofffee pie, which she helped me make. Once it came out of the fridge and was cut into slices it was more goo than anything else and the base was as good as welded onto the pie dish. I won’t mention that I hadn’t whipped up enough cream to pipe over the bananas and it looked really, really sad. I had to serve it anyway. Banoffee goo!
Epic Fail No.2- The Tarte Tatin and Honeycomb ice cream
Tim suggested that I make this Tarte Tartin which I had made last month to take to my Mum’s for our family Rosh Hashanah meal. It went down really well then and he loves it. This time I managed to over bake the pastry but that didn’t seem to stop anyone enjoying it on the night. I also made Honeycomb ice cream to go with the tarte. I didn’t read my friends recipe instructions properly and started making it at 1pm. It was supposed to go in the freezer for at least 8 hours- preferably over night! There were kids coming for dinner and we weren’t expecting to eat that late! Oh well. I decided to go for it. In the end it came out after just 6 hours and was rock solid. Everyone had finished their desserts before it was soft enough to scoop and serve. I still managed to add a dollop to my guests now nearly empty plates. (It did taste good though).
Epic Fail No.3- Chocolate pudding
I really wanted to make Chocolate pots. You know those little individual chocolate puddings you get that when you cut into them they have delicious melted chocolate ooozing from inside? Well, I tried out the recipe from The first Great British Bake off book with my girls and my 4 year old nephew last Friday for the first time. Even with lots of little hands helping me and spilling most of the ingredients, I still had more success then, than I did this time.
Saturday nights chocolate pots were a complete last minute thing. I had to make sure that I was showered, the house clean and tidy, girls dressed and table laid before I even started to make them. Figuring that my guests would be a little late (because I always am) I started pulling ingredients out 10 minutes before they were due to arrive. That’s when I discovered that I only had self raising flour not plain flour as I needed! Oh well, what could go wrong? LOTS it would seem!
My guests arrived just as I was putting the cake mix into each of the holes of the muffin tin. I put the whole thing into the fridge ready for later. Time to pour the wine.
After our meal I put the muffin tin into the oven for 12 minutes. Once ready, I took them out and left them for a minute or two to set. I then got a chopping board and inverted the tin onto it, ready to see if they would release easily. They did. A bit too easily! Eight of the 12 cakes came splurging out all over the worktop. Hot molten chocolate everywhere! I then managed to drop the hot muffin tin into all the spilt cake goo! It was a mess. But a mess that smelt gorgeous. (Have I mentioned that we have a kitchen diner and everyone was watching me make a mess of it?) Serious EPIC FAIL! I just had to laugh. It was all going horribly wrong. I write a cake blog showing people how to make cakes! This is not supposed to happen to me!!!! Luckily I have great friends who know me well enough to know that this is just what happens with me when I do an “add on”. I could’t just leave it at two desserts and an ice cream. I had to ‘add on’ just one more! Lesson well and truly learnt….. well for now anyway.
Needless to say that the Banoffee Goo, chocolate splats , over baked Tarte Tatin and rock solid ice cream were all tasted and good sounds of “Mmmmm” were to be heard over the dinner table. Even if it was from the nine year olds!
So onto the Tarte Tatin.
This tarte recipe is for a 20cm (8″) pie dish and will serve 8 people
For the pastry
200g butter / Tomar / Cookeen- at room temperature
320g plain flour
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp cold water
3tbsp caster sugar
For the filling
450g cooking apples
400g eating apples ( I used 4 small Gala)
50g butter / Tomar
4tbsp apricot jam
25g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
How to make Tarte Tatin
To make the pastry add the butter to the flour and use your hands to mix them together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until you have a dough. Avoid over kneading as this will create a tough textured pastry. Once all the ingredients are bound together wrap it in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
When the pasty is chilled heat your oven to 180ºC/ Gas 5. Knead and roll it out so that you have enough to fill your pie dish. It should be nice and thin. When I made this one I pinched the top edge of the dish and then cut off the excess straight away, but it’s actually a better idea to leave the excess on until you have done the blind bake. That way the pastry is a little baked and won’t have shrunk down into the dish. It will sit flush with the top if you cut off the excess after the first bake with the ceramic beans.
To bake blind: Use a fork to make holes in the pastry case. Scrunch up a piece of baking paper (silicon paper is best and less prone to sticking) and place it over the pastry. Fill the dish with ceramic beans and then bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the pie dish from the oven. Carefully take out the ceramic beans and silicon paper and bake for another 5 minutes until it turns golden but not brown. Place the pie dish on a cooling rack till the apple filling is ready.
To make the filling: Peel, core and cube the cooking apples and place them in a lidded frying pan with a knob of butter. Cover and cook them over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they become soft. Then add the golden caster sugar and 2 tbsp of apricot jam and stir in well. Use a fork to mush the apples to a puree consistency. I like to leave a few bigger pieces in there. Set aside to cool down.
Prepare the eating apples by coring them. You can peel them but I think the tarte looks so pretty with the skin showing. Also it cooks down so much that it will be nice and soft to eat. Cut each apple into quarters then each quarter into three or four very thin slices.
Add the puree apple to the pastry case, covering the bottom, then arrange your apple slices on top. Finally brush the decorative apple slices with the lemon juice and pop it in the oven (again at 180ºC gas 6) for 20 minutes or until the apple slices start to brown up nicely.
To glaze the tarte tatin: Heat up the remaining 2 tbsp of apricot jam in the microwave (or in a saucepan) till it’s runny and brush over the top and serve.
Et Voila! One epic non-disaster Tarte Tatin. Let’s hope this week brings me a lot more success!!!