Friday, September 18, 2020

Sunny Honey Bunny Cake and Honey Cake Round-up

These sweet juicy carrots came this week, just in time for honey cake baking.  I had been planning to make a sunny honey cake with whole and ground sunflower seeds, so it seemed providential that it should become a sunny bunny honey cake with the addition of carrots.

I already made this vegan honey cake, so I was planning to make this cake with eggs, but the sunflower seeds and soymilk provided all the richness and structure the cake needed, and I just didn't add the eggs after all and there it is.

I recall once hearing a radio interview with the great Mel Blanc, who provided the voices for Bugs Bunny and almost all the other Looney Tunes characters.  Blanc was an amazingly gifted voice actor who could make almost any sound. The one sound he could not make was the sound of a crunching carrot, so in every single performance over the course of his decades-long career as Bugs, he had to eat actual carrots while doing the dialogue.  Oh, did he get tired of carrots. He tried crunching apples, crackers, every crunchy food they could provide, but nothing made a sound sufficiently carrot-like to suit the master's standards.  Thus did he suffer for his art.

Sunny  Bunny Honey Cake

7 ounces (1 1/2 cups) sunflower seeds
24 ounces all purpose flour (You may use part whole wheat flour)

2 cups sugar  (half or all brown)

2 tablespoos baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

2 oranges

1 lemon
15 ounces (1 1/2 cups) bamboo honey

1 1/2 cup soy milk or other milk
12 ounces sunflower oil (or 1 12.7 ounce bottle) Any sunflower oil is fine, but if you can get this wonderful buttery, nutty unrefined sunflower oil you will be glad you did.

7 medium carrots 18 ounces after peeling  (4 cups) 

Additional raw sunflower seeds for topping

Heat oven to 400 F. 

Prepare 3 medium ring-shaped cake pans (the vegan batter produces a lower volume)

Toast the sunflower seeds, and grind them up in a processor or mortar.

Wash, peel and grind or grate the carrots,

Sift together the dry ingredients.  Whisk in the toasted sunflower meal. 

Cut the oranges and lemon into pieces

Blend the citrus bits in a blender with 1/2 cup of the soymilk,  add the honey and vanilla. With the blender running, drizzle in the oil. If you want eggs, replace the last cup of soymilk with 4 eggs.  otherwise, pour the honey-oil sauce onto the dry ingredients, and blend the remaining cup of soymilk in the blender to free up all the delicious bits clinging to the sides. Mix the batter gently and fold in the carrots.  Pour into baking pans and sprinkle raw sunflower seeds on top.

Bake 10 minutes at 400, 20 minutes at 375, 25 minutes at 350, and leave in the turned-off hot oven for another 15 minutes.  (Egg-free baking takes longer.  Smaller pans might have been good)

Classic Honey Cake

Universal Honey Cake

Michigan Star Thistle Honey Cake

Chocolate Honey Cake

Pomegranate Mahlab Honey Cake

Date Honey Cake

Honey pudding

Honey Pie!   

Chayale Palevski's Honey Teygelekh and Ingberlekh 

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Chard or Spinach Cutlets and Rosheshone Silka Round-up (Rosh Ha-Shanah)

Five foods are recommended in the Gemore (Talmud Bavli Horayos 12A and Kerises 6A) for the Eve of Rosheshone.  They are silka סילקא ( בוריק־בלעטער beet greens or chard), kra קרא ( קירבעס zucchini or squash),  rubia רוביא (   לוביע, שװאַרץ־אײגעלע black-eyed peas), karsi כּרתי ( פּאָרעס leeks) and tamri תּמרי ( טײַטלען dates).  This recipe is for chard or beet greens, and can be adapted for any leafy greens.  These are lovely on their own, but I imagine they would have no objections to a yellow tomato sauce, or any tomato sauce, a cream sauce, or a horseradish sauce.

Vegan Chard or Spinach Cutlets

For the cutlets:

2 bunches (about 1 pound) spinach, beet greens,  or chard

1 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil)

1 tablespoon Chickpea flour of fava garbanzo flour 

salt, pepper, paprika

oil for frying 

For the batter:

1/2 cup  tablespoons (56 grams) sifted chickpea flour or fava garbanzo flour

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

optional: 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, paprika, and/or cumin

Remove the stems, wash the greens well and cook them in the water clinging to the leaves.  Allow them to cool and squeeze out as much water as you can. Chop the greens fine or pulse in a processor.  You should have 1 cup (6 ounces, 170 grams) chopped greens.

In a bowl, mix the chopped greens with 1 tablespoon chickpea flour and seasonings.  Form the mixture into pancakes with your hands.

Heat oil in a wide skillet.

Combine the chickpea flour with the salt, baking powder and optional seasonings, if using.  Whisk in enough cold water (about 1/2 cup) to make a thin batter.

Dip the cutlets in the batter and fry on both sides until golden.


This recipe is a vegan, gluten-free adaptation of Fania Lewando's Spinach Cutlets.

Other Silka recipes for the New Year:

Dill and Chard Frittata

Fedelini with Walnuts, Chard, and Garlic Scapes

Braised Chard Stems with Oregano and Chile

White Bean Soup with Chard Stems

Pokey Leek Soup (this recipe has 3 simonim)

Spinach with Pumpkin Seeds

Green Rice

Beet Greens Soup and Beet Soup


Rosheshone Vocabulary from the League for Yiddish part I

Rosheshone Vocabulary from The League for Yiddish part II

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Wednesday, September 09, 2020

The Jewish Holidays are WHEN?


עץ װעט מיר שטאַרק אויספֿעלן דאָס יאָר צוליב גאָר אַ סך סיבות. מיר האָבן דעם שוין אַרומגעשמועסט אויף פֿאַרשידענע דיגיטאַלישע פּלאַטפֿאָרמעס.  אונדז'עמער אײנזאַם, מיט צעבראָכענע הערצער, אונדז גלוסט זיך מיר זאָלן קענען זיך באַרויקן אַז אונדז'עמער רײנגעװאַשן און ליכטיק און ציכטיק  פֿון אַלדאָס בײז; אײן זאַך, אָבער, האָט מע נאָך נישט דערמאָנט: אַלע יאָר באַמערקן מיר װי די יום־טובֿים פֿאַרשפּעטיקן זיך, אָדער קומען פֿאַר דער צײַט.  דאָס יאָר האָר און נעגל שטעלן זיך קאַפּויער־־קומען זײ פּונקט צו דער צײַט. זינט פֿאַר אַ יאָרן ראשהשנה־צײַט האָב איך אַרויסגעקוקט מיר זאָלן זיך צונויפֿקלײַבן אין שיל און טרײַבן קאַטאָװעס װעגן װי די יום־טובֿים קומען  צו דער צײַט, און אַפֿילו דאָס טאָר מען נישט     

There are many reasons I will miss gathering with all of you this year for the Holy Days.  Most of these have already been discussed on multiple platforms:  we are lonely, our hearts are breaking, we want reassure one another in person that we are washed and shriven of all ill will; but I don't think anyone has mentioned one other thing.  Every year we remark that the Jewish holidays are late, or that they are early.  This year, oh my stars and garters, they are right on time.  Ever since last Rosheshone, I have been looking forward to seeing folks at services and talking about how the holidays are on time this year and now we can't even do that.

האָר און נעגל שטעלן זיך קאַפּויער  

Hor un negl shteln zikh kapoyer! Oh my stars and garters!  I'll be bound! Whod'a thunk it?


 Fania Lewando's Rice with Apples and Honey



Honey Cake


Chayale Paelvski's Teygelekh and Ingberlekh


Thursday, September 03, 2020

Honey Cake for Everybody אַלגעמײנער לקח


I am anticipating your question.  If this is a honey cake, where's the honey? The honey is in the dates.  Many of the scriptural references to the honey flowing through the Land of Israel are not to bee honey at all but to the lush syrup exuded by the dates.  I did not set out to make a vegan, wheat-free honey cake, but it was inspired when I bought several young coconuts for the juice and needed to do something with the pulp and my beautiful neighbor gave me a box of succulent dates from the Holy Land (These fabulous vegan brownies were inspired by the same windfall).  You can probably make this with any kind of dates, just re-hydrate them a little if they are very dry.

If you have not yet tried green coconuts, or young coconuts, you might just love them. The flavor is very mild, so if you do not care for the flavor of mature coconuts, they will be your cup of tea.  The pulp is soft and jelly-like, making them a natural for vegan baking. 

Universal Honey Cake

12 Medjool Dates (about one cup, 8 ounces)
2 ounces raw almonds
4 ounces raw walnuts (about one cup)
4 ounces cocoa butter (about one cup depending on how coarsely it is chopped.
Pulp from 2 young coconuts (about one cup, 8 ounces)
2 ounces almond flour

(optional: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon cloves) 

1/2 cup toasted pecans for garnish, or leave them raw to make this an all-raw dessert. 

Remove the pits from the dates.  Place almonds and walnuts in a processor and pulse to a powder.  Add  the remaining ingredients except the pecans and grind to combine.  Pat the batter into a nine-inch pie plate and arrange the pecan halves on top.  Chill to set.




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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Chocolate Lady’s 2020 Vegetarian Peysekh Survival Guide

"Preparedness" A common theme in the Yiddish press in 1916.  Frequently Uncle Sam and doughboys are seen taking up arms against the enemy.  Here Jewish women and girls arm themselves against khomets.

Oh, my beautiful ones, how do I even send a document with the word "survival" in it? Survive.  Make whatever you want.  When I started this guide in 1995, it was my intention to share ideas for meals my friends would be able to make easily with minimal ingredients and equipment, but somehow over the intervening years, as my experience and batterie de cuisine have grown, it got to the point where I was telling you to make corn-free cornflakes with plantain flour. Now folks who have never baked a potato find themselves staring into the bumpy, russet abyss.  Take my hand.

How to Bake a Potato


Scrub potatoes thoroughly.  If you wish, you may coat them lightly with butter or oil.  Place in an oven heated to 450F.  If you have something in the oven baking at 400F or even 350F that is fine.   Bake for an hour or slightly longer.
You need not pierce the potato, and you may not wrap it in aluminum foil (all right, just this year, because of extraordinary  circumstances I will allow you to wrap your potatoes, I will even allow you not to peel your asparagus, just don't get used to it). 

Here is my recipe for Unplugged Ajvar, and links to sixteen fabulous recipe videos.
Here is the delicious Melitsana Matzo Pita that has been the star of the final nights of Peysekh Chez Chocolat for many years.

Here in the most wonderful vegan spinach thing ever.

Some valuable paraliturgy has emerged.  I have found these helpful.

Tkhine for a plague from 1916

Prayer to stop the plague in Bombay 1896. Deliverance was brought by Dr. Waldemar Mordecai Hafkine.

Minimalist guide to Passover  

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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

סאַלאַט פֿון פֿעפֿערס און פּאַטלעזשאַנעס Unplugged Ajvar (Peppers and Eggplant)

Like many of you, I had ajvar for the first time at the Golden Festival I had been thinking for many years that ajvar would be an ideal companion for matzo if I ever made it myself.  This year, for our Simple Yiddish with Elena class here at UM, I finally did.  Most recipes will call for blending the ingredients in a processor, but I have none here, so I pounded them in a molcajete, and the results are pretty wonderful.

Unplugged Ajvar

1 medium eggplant
3-5 large red peppers (so that you have about twice as much pepper pulp as eggplant pulp)
3-7 garlic cloves (optional)
1 ancho chile or other chile (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon wine vinegar or other vinegar

Broil the Eggplants and peppers as if preparing Melitsano Matzo Pita.  Peel the vegetables and chop fine. 
If using an ancho, toast it until puffed, and remove the stem and seeds. Tear into small pieces, place the pieces in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
Peel the garlic cloves, if using, and pound them in the mortar with a little salt (Or blend in the machine of your choice).  Drain the ancho, if using, and pound or blend with the garlic.  Add the eggplant and peppers, and blend or pound well.  Add vinegar and oil and adjust seasoning to taste.

Now you can use the ajvar as is, but it is even better if you transfer it to a saucepan and simmer for about half an hour on low heat to concentrate the flavors.

Rukhl and I have made a lots of things that would be quite at home spread onto a little matzo, and not half bad with raw celery, carrots, pepper strips, radish or turnip slices.
You will never tire of matzo as long as you have  . . .

Shifra Lehrer's zt"l's vegetarian chopped liver:

Romanian Eggplant (with raw onions)

Armenian Eggplant (with caramelized onions)

Drink Tea!  Tea and psalms can't hurt.

Almond Chremslekh:  I say in this video that Chremslekh are mentioned by Rashi.  That is incorrect.  It was Rabbeinu Tam.

Cheese Latkes with Cranberry Syrup

Two kinds of Tsimes CW: meat

Matzo Braa and Spinach Fritatta

In this episode Ruklhl and I ponder the eternal question, are we thinking more about the holiday treats that we do get to eat, or all the khomets that we must do without?

A Tour of Yiddish Farm
White Beets and Spinach.  We did not intentionally make this episode for Peysekh, but it is Peysekhdik.

Borsht!  We make our year-round borsht with caraway, but just leave it out during Peysekh.  We also add lemon, which according to some traditions is just as problematic, because the Satmarer hoyf was once thrown into a panic by lemon seeds in the borsht.  The lesson is that traditional recipes must never be changed.

Shtshav (Schav) and Khremslekh

Gluten-Free Nut Kneydlekh (Matzo-Free Matzo Balls)
CW: Chicken Soup

Vegetarian Gefilte Fish

Non-Vegetarian Gefilte Fish
CW: Fish

I think you can easily adapt the cheesecake for Peysekh

Friday, March 20, 2020

Eggplant Matzo Pie מצה־געבעקס מיט פּאַטלעזשאַנעס μελιτζάνα-μαζω πίτα

שוין 15 יאָר מאַך איך דעם מצה־געבעקס אַלע פּסח.  ער לענט זיך אונטער דאָס האַרץ  

מצה געבעקס מיט פּאַטלעזשאַנעס

2 גרויסע פּאַטלעזשאַנעס
2 מצות
2 אײער
¼ טעפּל זונרויז־סעמישקע בוימל
8 אָנצן פֿעטאַ
8 אָנצן קאַסערי, אָדער קאַשקאַװאַל, אָדער עמאָנטאַל
זאַלץ, פֿעפֿער, און פּאַפּריקע לויט ענקער געשמאַק

בראָט אָפּ די פּאַטלעזשאַנעס אין בראָטאויװן אָדער אויף אַן אָפֿענעם פֿלאַם.  װענ זײ װערן קיל גענוג, שײלט זײ אָפּ. צעהאַקט זײ אויף פּיצלעך.  
װײקט אײַן די מצות אין װאַסער זײ זאָלן װערן װײך און קװעטשט אויס דאָס װאַסער.
מישט אויס צעהאַקטע פּאַטלעזשאַנעס, מצות, אײער, פֿעטאַ, און אַ ביסל בוימל און קאַסערי.  גיט צו זאַלץ, פֿעפֿער, און פּאַפּריקע לויט ענקער געשמאַק. 

לײגט אַרײַן אין אַ בעקעלע און באַשיט מיט דער איבערגעבליבענער קעז און באַגיסט מיט בוימל.  באַקט אָפּ אויף 350 אַ 40 מינוט

I have been making this every Peysekh for about 15 years.  It is very warming and comforting

μελιτζάνα-μαζω πίτα  
Eggplant Matzo Pie

2 large eggplants
2 matzos
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
8 generous ounces feta
8 scant ounces kasseri, or kashkaval, or emmenthal, or something melty.
salt, pepper, and paprika to taste

Broil the eggplants under the broiler or roast them over the fire.  If you have a grilling chimney set-up or something like that, even better.  
Soak the matzos in warm water until quite soft.  Drain the matzos and squeeze out the water.  
When the eggplants are cook enough to handle, peel off the charred skin with you immaculately clean fingers.  Chop the pulp.
Combine crumbled matzos, chopped eggplant, crumbled feta, two beaten eggs, and most of the oil and kasseri.  Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.
Transfer to an oiled baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.  Drizzle with remaining oil.
Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes, or until top is crisp and golden.

זיך אונטערלענען דאָס האַרץ
to be warming and comforting

דער פּאַטלעזשאַנ(עס)

to broil

to soak

אָט האָט עט'ץ צװײ פּרימיטיװע פֿילמען פֿונעם רעצעפּט
Here are two primitive videos of the recipe.

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Monday, December 02, 2019

Vegan Hamburger Buns for Adam Schiff

This year I made no pies, no cornbread, no beans, no pumpkins.  I spent the entire holiday making batch after batch of buns for a project to be announced shortly.

The impulse to develop this recipe began with  a podcast I heard on which Adam Schiff noted that while vegan burgers have become much more widely available, the vegan bun remains an elusive desideratum.

I can think about a few possible reasons for this.  Two conflicting qualities make a sandwich bun optimal.  The ideal sandwich delivery system is sufficiently soft and fluffy that it does not interfere with or distract from the sandwich contents, but strong enough to contain any juices without disintegrating.  A dough with eggs and milk or milk powder can provide a fine dense crumb to fill these requirements, but adding mashed potatoes to the dough can do the same thing.  This recipe is inspired by the potato bread in The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison.  I added some sweet potato just for some golden eggy color, but serendipitously, the sweet potato dough turned out softer and fluffier than any other batch.  This is also a recipe which works best with all-purpose flour.

Vegan Buns

1 medium-large russet potato, about 6-7 ounces
2 ounces sweet potato

2 pounds all-purpose flour (about 7-8 cups)

1 cup water (use water from cooking the potatoes, plus enough added to make one cup)
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 1/2 packets yeast (1 tablespoon, 3/8 ounce)

3 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons date syrup, malt, or sugar
1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
sesame seeds
Coarse grain sea salt (optional)

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch dice.  Put them in a small saucepan and add water to cover and 3/4 teaspoons salt.  Bring to the boil and simmer until quite tender. Strain and reserve the water.

Measure reserved potato water and if necessary, add enough water to make one cup.  If the water has become cool, reheat it.  Combine the water and soy milk in a mixing bowl.  The mixture should be warm.  Sprinkle yeast over the surface and add half the flour.  Mix with the paddle.  Leave the spongy dough in the mixing bowl to rise for 45 minutes.

Mix the dough once more with the paddle.  Remove the paddle and add the potatoes, syrup, oil,  salt, and remaining flour.  Knead with the dough hook for four or five minutes.  This dough can also be kneaded by hand.  The dough will be somewhat softer and stickier than typical bread dough, but worry not.

Turn the dough into an oiled bowl and allow to rise for another 45 minutes.  Punch it down, separate challah, and divide the remaining dough into twenty pieces for large buns or 40 for slider buns. Roll the dough bits into round balls and arrange them on parchment-lined sheet pans.  Press each roll to flatten into bun shapes.  Cover and and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350F (Mark 4)

Bring 1/2 cup water to the boil.  In a small cup or bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon cornstarch in 1 teaspoon cold water.  Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling water and cook until clear.  Brush the tops of the risen buns with cornstarch, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and coarse salt. Bake the buns for 25 minutes, rotating the pans after 15 minutes.

ETA: Use this dough to make vegan Challah!

Weave your vegan challah dough to make a crown, a challahsaurus, challah turtles, or just these beauties.




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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Star Thistle Honey Cake with Michigan Sour Cherries

Honey cakes I usually make are dark, dense, winey, slightly bitter, and full of a mixed chorus of seasonings.  This cake may look a little pale compared with some of the other honey cakes you have seen here, but the flavors are just as bright and vivid.  We are very proud of star thistle honey here in Michigan.  It has bright, zingy, almost citrusy notes on top, with a nice warm sweetness underneath.  We are also proud of our sour cherries, but not quite proud enough to call them sour cherries.

Star Thistle Honey Cake with Michigan Sour Cherries

1 cup dried Michigan sour cherries
Ann Arbor Autumn Gin (or brandy, or just tea)

3 cups flour (2 cups all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat pastry or a mix of gluten-free flours)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar

4 eggs
3/4 cup sunflower oil, or other oil
1 cup star thistle honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel

Heat the oven to 425.
Prepare two cake pans

Soak the cherries overnight in enough gin to cover.

Stir together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs and blend in the oil, honey, and extract.  Add the cherries and orange peel.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and fold until just combined.  Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 25 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 after the first five minutes.

I just made a gluten-free version of this recipe using two cups of a gluten-free mix and a half cup each oat flour and white rice flour.  For the gluten-free version bake the batter in four pans rather than two, and increase the baking time by about 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Paw Paws are a Thing דער פּאָפּאָבוים

Counter clockwise from bottom:  Paw paws, ground cherries, Michigan honey, apples and pears from Centennial Community Farm, pomegranates.

One of the mystifying songs we had to sing in grade school was "Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch."  I liked this song well enough, but it never occurred to me that paw paws were a real kind of fruit.  I thought that like wizards, dragons, flying carpets, and Kalamazoo, they were just made up for children's literature.  Last month I took a train through Kalamazoo, and this month I learned that paw paws are in fact a thing.  I can't wait to see what month  brings.

On the inside they look a little like orange cherimoyas, with soft, creamy pulp and smooth hard seeds.  The fragrance is lush and tropical with notes of mango, papaya, banana, and lichee.  It is hard to believe they are native to this cool temperate area.  I will have to wait until after the holiday to tell you how they taste.

Also photographed above are ground cherries, which you may have encountered in the Little House books and My Antonia.

For tonight  am planning to make a cake with Michigan star thistle honey and Michigan sour cherries, and maybe even a sour cherry tsimes.  We are very proud of our cherries here in Michigan, but not proud enough to call them sour cherries.  Locals insist on calling them "tart cherries."  That makes me sad.  Sour cherries and not lesser cherries. Own your cherries, Michigan!

Other honey cakes:

Date Honey Cake
Pomegranate Honey Cake
Chocolate Honey Cake
Classic Honey Cake

דער פּאָפּאָבוים
Der popoboym, the paw paw tree

דער פּאָפּאָ
der popo, the paw paw

דאָס כינעזישע לאַמטערל
Dos Khinezishe lamterl, the ground cherry
Here are the Seegers singing Paw Paw Patch:

And one more film from Nature Boy Crabmeat 

Make pudding.

And of course, Honey Pie!

Have a sweet and beautiful year.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Peysekh Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Tree Nut-Free Passover Brownies)

You see, this is why we left Egypt.

Were it not for Passover, and the the needs of friends who are vegan, gluten-free, or tree nut-free, or all of the above, I would never have made these brownies, and the world would be a poorer sadder place.
OK, Here's what I made: I ground up one pound of chocolate (one 10-ounce bag Equal exchange semisweet ships and two 3-ounce bittersweet bars) to a fine powder. Then I took pulp from two green coconuts, two handfuls of medjool dates and ground those up, mixed with the chocolate powder.  Pat the mixture into a nine-inch pan and sprinkle pine nuts on top. 

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Inside-Out Carrot Cake Hamentashn with Cream Cheese Filling

A few years ago I made this carrot jam filling for hamentashn.  It was not carrot cakes, nor carrot halwa, nor carrot pies (a venerable and beloved dessert before English cookery encountered the pumpkin and everything changed forever), nor even the carrot ice cream that Marya Dmitrievna thought was laughably implausible that inspired me.  It was those carrot-shaped bags.  As soon as I saw them I just had to fill them with some kind of carrot-based shalekhmones.  The compulsion was no more resistible than fate itself.

This made me think of A Girl of the Limberlost. Our heroine, Elnora, has a troubled relationshipwith her mother, who is unkind and sometimes abusive because she believes Elnora to be responsible for her father's death.  But, when Elnora (Mrs. Comstock was too conservative even to allow her poor daughter her fair share of vowels) gets a special lunch box from her uncle, Mrs Comstock is swept up in a frenzy of baking and cooking to make a lunch that will live up to the box in which it will be transported.  The moment when Elnora unpacks her lunch is unforgettable:

Mrs. Comstock was up early, and without a word handed Elnora the case as she left the next morning.
“Thank you, mother,” said Elnora, and went on her way.
She walked down the road looking straight ahead until she came to the corner, where she usually entered the swamp. She paused, glanced that way and smiled. Then she turned and looked back. There was no one coming in any direction. She followed the road until well around the corner, then she stopped and sat on a grassy spot, laid her books beside her and opened the lunch box. Last night's odours had in a measure prepared her for what she would see, but not quite. She scarcely could believe her senses. Half the bread compartment was filled with dainty sandwiches of bread and butter sprinkled with the yolk of egg and the remainder with three large slices of the most fragrant spice cake imaginable. The meat dish contained shaved cold ham, of which she knew the quality, the salad was tomatoes and celery, and the cup held preserved pear, clear as amber. There was milk in the bottle, two tissue-wrapped cucumber pickles in the folding drinking-cup, and a fresh napkin in the ring. No lunch was ever daintier or more palatable; of that Elnora was perfectly sure. And her mother had prepared it for her! “She does love me!” cried the happy girl. “Sure as you're born she loves me; only she hasn't found it out yet!”

And Mrs C. continues to come up with brilliant, multi-course lunches every day, and adds more to share:
Elnora went down the road thinking of the city children with whom she probably would divide. Of course, the bridge would be occupied again. So she stopped and opened the box. Undoubtedly Mrs. Comstock was showing Margaret Sinton the "frills." The cake was still fresh, and there were four slices. The sandwiches had to be tasted twice before Elnora discovered that beechnuts had been used in a peanut recipe, and they were a great improvement. There were preserved strawberries in the cup, potato salad with mint and cucumber in the dish, and a beautifully browned squab from the stable loft.

Beechnut butter!  And that potato cucumber salad with mint would not be out of place at a hipster gastropub in Bushwick.  Who knew 19th century Indiana was so cool?

Of course we identify with hungry neglected children finding food and kindness after long deprivation.  We fell for this hook in Harry Potter, Sara Crewe, Oliver Twist, and I don't know how many others, but this time I can see things from Mrs. Comstock's point of view as well.  That multi-compartmental lunch box is an articulated womb, a challenge you can't decline.

Having made carrot filling, I wanted to try turning the hamentashn inside-out (as one does with pumpkin hamentashn to make inside-out pumpkin hamentashn). Carrot dough suggested cream cheese filling.  I added some farmers' cheese and a yolk to make the filling less melty.

Carrot Cake Dough for Hamentashn

20 ounces (about 5 cups) whole wheat pastry flour (best with part whole wheat and part all-purpose)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon ginger
12 ounces (3 sticks) butter
1 egg
1 cup orange juice
2 or 3 medium carrots, finely shredded, about 6-8 ounces
To make the dough rollable, cutable, and foldable, you will need to grate the carrots very fine.

Mix the dry ingredients together and blend in the butter.  Add the juice, egg, and vanilla to form a dough.  Mix in the shredded carrots and allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Cream Cheese Filling for Hamentashn

8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese
4 ounces farmer cheese
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
6 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar
1 yolk
(probably good to add one slice white bread, crusts removed, soaked in milk and squeezed out)

Blend everything together in a mixer or processor.  It might be a nice touch to push the farmer cheese through a sieve, but I will not insist.

Heat the oven to 350F
Line sheet pans with parchment.

Working in small batches so that it stays cool, roll the carrot dough to 3/16 inch thick (slightly thicker than usual) and cut into circles.  I recommend cutting larger than usual circles because the carrot shreds will offer some resistance.  Fill with cream cheese filling (do not overfill), and bake for 20-25 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown on the bottom.

More Purim links:

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn 

Orange Juice Dough for Hamentashn

Inside-Out Pumpkin Hamentashn (Pumpkin Seed Pastry with Pumpkin Filling

Pumpkin Hamentashn (with Pumpkin Seed Filling)

Carrot Filling 

Apricot Filling

Poppy Seed Filling

White Poppy Seed Filling

Hemp Seed Filling

Povidl (Prune Filling)

פּאָװידלע Prune Filling (Yiddish)

Chocolate Dough (English)


Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
 (Yiddish) װעגאַן טײג

Chocolate Dough (Yiddish)

Hamentashn, hamentaschen, homentashen, homentashn, המנטאַשן

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Friday, September 07, 2018

אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטש־ליכט

אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטש־ליכט
A teyrets far di bentsh-likht
A dreadfully lame excuse (literally: an excuse for the Sabbath candles)

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Rosheshone Round-up

For this year's rubiya I got some pretty Appaloosa beans.  I also got some love slender leeks for this year's karsi.  I am thinking about making Marcella's leeks braised with artichokes.

Bake cake:

Date Honey Cake
Classic Honey Cake
Chocolate Honey Cake
Pomegranate Mahlab Honey Cake 

Make pudding.

And of course, Honey Pie!

Have a sweet and beautiful year.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Breakfast Flakes for Peysekh (Passover Cereal)

If I give you twenty guesses, I bet you can't guess what I am cooking right now, or maybe you can, because you read the headline.  This recipe is for The Glaistig, who is cereal-dependent throughout the year and cereal-deprived during Peysekh. 
This recipe is also for anyone else who needs a convenient wheat-free, gluten-free, gebrokhts-free cereal.  By convenient, I mean convenient to eat once someone has made them. 
And of course, this recipe is for anyone else, who, like me, enthusiastically bought bags of almond flour and plantain flour last week and has no idea what to do with them.
I found this page of recipes for homemade cereals intriguing and made a variation on the corn flakes.  Allow me to note that this page also links to a recipe for homemade Cheerios, which involves shaping each individual Cheerio (does anyone use Cheerio in the singular?) by hand and making a little hole with a toothpick.  I want to make fun of this recipe, but I am all too afraid I will then wake up with an irresistible compulsion to make my own cheerios.  You know what happened with the rejuvelac and cashew cheese, don't you?

Plantain Almond Flakes
2 scant tablespoons plantain flour
2 generous tablespoons almond flour
1 or 2 pinches salt
1 to 4 pinches sugar

Mix together the flours and seasonings with your fingers.  Sprinkle about one tablespoon the mixture onto the bottom of a non-stick or cast iron skillet.  There should be barely enough to cover the bottom. Wet your fingers and shake water over the surface of the flour so that it is evenly soaked but not disturbed.  A spray bottle might make this easier.  Heat the mixture so that it dries out and begins to toast.  Flip over to break up and toast on the other side.  Allow the skillet skillet to cool before starting the next batch.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

דער װינטער הוריגאַן Bomb Cyclone in Yiddish

Yingl Tsingl Khvat by Mani Leyb

דער װינטער הוריגאַן
Der vinter hurigan
Bomb Cyclone

דער אַרכטישער שטרודל
Der arkhtisher shtrudl
Polar Vortex

Shtivl, Sapozhkelekh

Puttees, boot-legs

See also Cold in Yiddish and Snow in Yiddish ,

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn

The only reason I have not posted this recipe sooner is that it is so important, I was sure I must have posted it already.  Every year at least two or three people will comment that they remember a kind of homentash you used to be able to get made with yeast dough, and they wish they could find a recipe, and every year I tell them the recipe is on my blog, and finally enough of you insisted you couldn't find it.

I almost always double this recipe, but I will give the proportions Jenny Grossinger provides in her wonderful book The Art of Jewish Cooking.

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn

1/2 cup milk
1/2 ounce yeast
1/2 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
8 ounces (2 sticks) melted butter
20 ounces flour

Scald the milk and allow it to cool.  In the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and allow it to dissolve.  Add the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and mix to combine.  Add the flour and knead with the dough hook or by hand until you have a resilient, silky dough, about ten minutes.  Allow the dough to rise until doubled (about forty minutes, depending on the conditions in your kitchen.  Punch down the dough and roll it out to slightly less than a quarter inch.
Since this dough is a little springy, you might find it easier to make slightly larger hamentashn than usual.

Fill with radish preserves or the filling your heart desires.

Brush with egg wash and bake at 375.  Check after 15 minutes.

Here's what to do with extra dough

Here's what to do with extra poppy filling

And here is a round-up of previous Purim recipes:

Orange Juice Dough for Hamentashn

Inside-Out Pumpkin Hamentashn (Pumpkin Seed Pastry with Pumpkin Filling)

Pumpkin Hamentashn (with Pumpkin Seed Filling)

Carrot Filling

Apricot Filling

Poppy Seed Filling

White Poppy Seed Filling

Hemp Seed Filling

Povidl (Prune Filling)

פּאָװידלע Prune Filling (Yiddish)

Chocolate Dough (English)

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
(Yiddish) װעגאַן טײג

Chocolate Dough (Yiddish)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I'll Make You Pie, Baby.

This year, for the first time in decades, I am not baking pie.  But I have not forgotten that you need pie.

The boss of all pies is chocolate pumpkin pie.  It is chocolate.  It is pumpkin.  It is a pie. In the words of Lucy Long, every person and every second of life is a gift.

well I know you love sweet potato pie

Some pies to keep in mind are

Bamboo Honey Pecan Pie  

A Really Lovely Pumpkin Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lime Meringue Pie 

Skillet Pie (and some thoughts about crust)

Grape Pie  

While it is not a pie, and not from Boston (claims of the Omni chain to the contrary) this gesture toward Boston Cream Pie is worthy of attention.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

חלה־פּאַכע Challah Turtles

לכּבֿד ייִדיש־װאָך האָב איך דאָס יאָר געמאַכט חלה־פּאַכעס
In honor of Yidishhvokh, I made Challah-turtles this year.
קליינע פֿישלעך, טשערעפּאַכעס
קלײַבן קרישלעך, שעפּן נחת
װען די אָזערע איז אָפֿן
זײַנען מיר אַהינגעלאָפֿן

אַלע יאָר
קומט מיט אונדז
קומט איר פֿרי
קומט איר שפּעט
זאָלט איר ניט פֿאַרזאַמען

Friday, June 09, 2017

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Recipe coming soon.  Gut shabes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rebooted Kharoyses (Haroset) and Over-Wintered What?

Overwintered spinach from Lani's Farm
 Overwintering is the practice of planting late in the fall and then covering the sprouts so that they hibernate over the winter and come up in the early spring, usually right in time for Peysekh.  Over wintered greens are sweet and intensely flavored, and I urge you to rush out and try some while they are here.  This Passover I used the spinach above from Lani's Farm in this African Spinach with Pumpkin Seeds, and in Sephardic Spinach (recipe coming soon, mertseshem).

I also got some chickweed.  Elizabeth Schneider recommends using chickweed in an apple and walnut salad that sounded a bit like rebooted kharoyses, so I served this along with the

red vine sorrel

Wow, is this the prettiest sorrel (shchav) you have ever beheld?  I bought a wjole bunch of this even before I read Jeffrey Yoskowitz's NYTimes  piece, which I heartily endorse, as you can well imagine.

wasabi greens
I got some of these too.  Wow.  Just wow.