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dessert

Classic Apple Crisp

With all the apple recipes out there, it's amazing how difficult it is to find a good, basic apple crisp. You know, one of those recipes you're desperately seeking (along with applesauce) when you've just gone to the orchard with the kids, and they enthusiastically filled two very large bags with apples. 

While this version of apple crisp may seem daunting, with a fairly long list of ingredients, many are simply optional enhancements. Basically, you're looking at apples, sugar, thickener, and a touch of spice in the filling; and flour, sugar, butter, oats, and cinnamon in the topping.

Ingredients: 
FILLING:
3 pounds whole apples, to yield 2 pounds peeled, cored, and sliced apples; about 9 cups
1/4 cup rum, apple cider or juice, or the liquor/juice of your choice; or water
1/4 to 3/4 cup brown sugar, depending on the sweetness/tartness of your apples
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons boiled cider, optional but good
1 1/2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice; or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour or tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
......................................................................................
TOPPING:
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter, cut in pats
1/2 cup diced pecans or walnuts, optional
......................................................................................
Directions: 

Yield: 9-12 servings

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 9" square cake pan, or similar-size casserole pan.
  2. Slice the apples about 1/4" thick. Toss them with the remaining filling ingredients, and spread them in the pan.
  3. To make the topping, whisk together the flour, oats, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder.
  4. Add the cold butter, working it in to make an unevenly crumbly mixture. Stir in the nuts, if you're using them.
  5. Spread the topping over the apples in the pan.
  6. Set the pan on a parchment- or foil-lined cookie sheet, to catch any potential drips. Bake the crisp for about 60 minutes, till it's bubbling and the top is golden brown.
  7. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. If you serve the crisp hot/warm, it may be quite soft. If you wait till it's completely cool, it'll firm up nicely. A good compromise is to wait for it to cool completely, then reheat individual portions briefly in the microwave. Vanilla ice cream is a tasty accompaniment.

 

Cooking Tips

  • To make individual crisps, grease eight 8-ounce capacity baking dishes, and proceed with the recipe accordingly, baking the smaller crisps for 45 to 55 minutes.

Pumpkin Parmesan Rugelach

These savory little pastries are a fun alternative to their sweet counterparts, and are a great way to enjoy pumpkin in something other than pie.

(Psst: Prefer a sweet rugelach? Try this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Rugelach.)

Ingredients: 
PASTRY
2 cups pastry flour blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, diced
1 cup cream cheese, diced
................................................................................
FILLING
2 tablespoons garlic oil or plain olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (1 small onion)
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 large egg
Directions: 

Yield: 32 rugelach

To make the pastry 

  1. Combine the flour and salt. Work in the butter and cream cheese until the mixture comes together.
  2. Form the dough into two disks, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

To make the filling

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan set over medium heat. Add the onion, sage, and chili powder.
  2. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes longer, until the purée has become a bit drier. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.
  4. On a well-floured surface, roll one disk of pastry into a 14" circle.
  5. Spread half the filling onto the circle. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/4 cup walnuts evenly over the pumpkin.
  6. Cut the dough into 16 wedges. Roll each wedge tightly, starting at the wide end, and bend into a crescent.
  7. Place the crescents on one of the prepared baking sheets.
  8. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
  9. Combine the egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush it onto the rugelach.
  10. Bake the rugelach for 25 to 27 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature. Store at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Deluxe Buckwheat Almond Cake with Raspberry Filling

This moist almond cake has a delicate nut flavor that pairs perfectly with the raspberry preserve filling. Despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat. Kasha comes from the buckwheat plant, which belongs to the same family as rhubarb. Though it looks and cooks like a grain, it's actually the seed of a fruit. After roasting, buckwheat is called kasha. 

Ingredients: 
1 1/2 cups skin-on sliced almonds
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light buckwheat flour
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
10- inch round paper lace doily
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Oil bottom of 9 x 1-1/2 inch round cake pan and line with waxed paper. Finely grind almonds in food processor, blender or nut-chopper.
  • In large bowl, cream butter and 6 tablespoons sugar. Beat in yolks, one at a time. Stir in vanilla and almonds.
  • In medium bowl, beat egg whites and salt to soft peaks; gradually add remaining sugar, beating until soft, glossy peaks form. Lightly fold 1/4 beaten whites into batter. Sift 1/4 flour over batter; combine lightly. Alternately add remaining whites and flour in this manner.
  • Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on rack 10 minutes; remove from pan.
  • When cool, slice horizontally into 2 layers. Place bottom layer, cut side up, on plate; spread with preserves. Top with remaining layer, cut side down. Place doily on top; sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar; remove doily.

     

Honey Cake

By: 
Beatrice Koss

Beatrice Koss's recipe, handed down from her Bubbe, scents the air with the sweet aromas of a festive New Year celebration.

Ingredients: 
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 orange, juice and grated rind
3/4 cup honey
1 cup sugar
1 apple, coarsely grated
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup double-strength brewed coffee
chopped nuts for garnish
.............................................................................
OPTIONAL MIX-INS:
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins
Directions: 

Yield: 1 loaf

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix eggs, oil, and shortening. Add juice, rind, honey, sugar, and apple.
  2. Sift dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients alternately with coffee to apple mixture.
  3. If desired, add nutmeg, cloves, raisins, and nuts.
  4. Pour into well-greased pan. Sprinkle with chopped nuts on top.
  5. Bake for one hour.

Reprinted with permission from Palate Pleasers by the former Women's Auxiliary of Hebrew SeniorLife (then Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged in Boston).  

Apple Pizza Tart

By: 
Paula Shoyer

This dessert is a large apple tart made with frozen puff pastry, but it looks like a pizza. It is extremely easy to make yet looks elegant. Make sure you slice the apples very thin. The recipe uses between 3 and 4 medium apples, depending on how thin you slice them and how much they overlap. Just eat any leftover pieces.

Ingredients: 
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce or 490g box)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3–4 medium red apples (Gala, Fuji)
1/3 cup (100g) apricot jam or preserves
Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Thaw puff pastry at room temperature for 45 minutes. You will need a jelly roll pan, about 12 x 16 inches (30 x 40cm).
     
  • Cut out a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit just inside the pan. Place the trimmed parchment on your counter.
     
  • When the pastry is thawed, sprinkle a little flour on the parchment paper and unroll the pastry on top. Use a rolling pin to roll the pastry until it is the exact size of the parchment paper (trim the pastry if necessary). After every few rolls of your rolling pin, lift the dough and sprinkle a little flour underneath it. Slide the dough and parchment paper onto the jelly roll pan. Use a fork to dot the dough with holes, leaving a one-inch border clear, without any holes. Put the pan in the freezer while you prepare the apples so that the moment the apples are sliced, everything else is ready to go, and the apples will not turn brown.
     
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Peel and core the apples and slice into very thin slices, thinner than 1/4-inch (6mm). (I usually use only the larger slices for the tart and nosh on the smaller ones.) Remove the dough from the freezer. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and sugar on the dough, leaving the border clear. Place the apple slices on the pastry overlapping in rows down the short side of the dough. I alternate the direction the apples are facing for each row. Sprinkle the apples with the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the pastry is golden.
  • Heat the apricot jam in the microwave or on the stovetop and then use a sieve to strain out the large pieces. Use a pastry brush to brush the apple slices with the jam. Slide the pastry onto a cooling rack. Cut into squares or rectangles. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store covered at room temperature for up to two days.

Reprinted with permission from Holiday Kosher Baker © 2013 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress

Paula Shoyer, “the kosher baker,” is the author of The Holiday Kosher BakerThe Kosher BakerThe New Passover Menu and The Healthy Jewish Kitchen (November 2017). Paula graduated with a pastry degree from the Ritz Escoffier in Paris, and does cooking and baking demos across the United States and around the world for Jewish organizations, synagogues, Jewish book festivals and more. She is a freelance writer for the Washington PostHadassahJoy of Kosher, and Jewish Food Experience, among other publicationsPaula competed on Food Network's Sweet Genius and appears on TV before every major Jewish holiday – over 26 times. In 2015, Paula was honored by Jewish Women International as a “Woman to Watch” and in 2016 as a “kosher food pioneer” by the kosher food bloggers community. Paula lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children.

Strawberry Ice Cream

By: 
Paula Shoyer

This super-easy yet elegant recipe came from Tsippy Nussbaum by way of Limor Decter. I was skeptical about the simplicity of the preparation, but it really works and results in a light, refreshing, frozen dessert. Please note that this recipe uses raw egg.

Editor's note: In-shell pasteurized eggs may be used safely without cooking.

Ingredients: 
1 pound (450g) fresh strawberries, washed and trimmed
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 large egg white
Directions: 
  • Put the strawberries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until the strawberries are completely puréed, scraping down the processor bowl a few times to get all the pieces puréed.
     
  • Pour the purée into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and egg white and use the whisk to mix on low speed for two minutes. Cover the bowl and mixer with plastic wrap and then turn the speed up to high. Mix for 8 full minutes; the mixture will become very light and fill the entire bowl.
     
  • Cover and leave the bowl in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight. Store in the freezer for up to one week.

​Yield: 12 to 15 servings


Reprinted with permission from Holiday Kosher Baker © 2013 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress

Paula Shoyer, “the kosher baker,” is the author of The Holiday Kosher BakerThe Kosher BakerThe New Passover Menu and The Healthy Jewish Kitchen (November 2017). Paula graduated with a pastry degree from the Ritz Escoffier in Paris, and does cooking and baking demos across the United States and around the world for Jewish organizations, synagogues, Jewish book festivals and more. She is a freelance writer for the Washington PostHadassahJoy of Kosher, and Jewish Food Experience, among other publicationsPaula competed on Food Network's Sweet Genius and appears on TV before every major Jewish holiday – over 26 times. In 2015, Paula was honored by Jewish Women International as a “Woman to Watch” and in 2016 as a “kosher food pioneer” by the kosher food bloggers community. Paula lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

By: 
Jan Rood-Ojalvo

We often make lots of mini-muffins, dividing the batter into bowls and filling different batches with a variety of optional mix-ins. Chopped plums are my family's favorite! This recipe can also be baked in round cake pans and iced for a flavorful layer cake.

Ingredients: 
MUFFINS
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 ounces)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
2 3/4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
.......................................................................
MIX-INS
8 ounces chocolate chips, optional
1 cup blueberries or chopped plums, optional
Directions: 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, until well mixed.
  • Add flour and bananas, in parts alternately, mixing between each addition.
  • Add baking powder and vanilla. Add chocolate chips or fruit, if desired. 
  • Fill muffin tins 3/4 to the top. Bake until golden brown (check at 12-15 minutes) and toothpick comes out clean.

Yield: 2 dozen regular-sized muffins


Jan Rood-Ojalvo has longstanding ties to Congregation M'kor Shalom and the Katz JCC, both in Cherry Hill, NJ. Jan, who lives with her husband Steve in Haddonfield, NJ, loves baking, traveling, opera, and staying in touch with her six children – and two granddaughters.

Tina's Tidbits: 

Go Bananas with Jan's Tips

  • Batter may be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to one week. Bake the perfect number of fresh muffins to enjoy each day.
  • To bake these muffins on a whim, peel,  mash, and freeze ripe bananas in a 2 cup container. Then defrost to bake any time!

Lemon Squares

By: 
Rosie's Bakery

My search for a good lemon square recipe was a challenge; I tried so many and found that most of them were cloyingly sweet. I wanted something that emphasized the tartness of lemons – isn’t that the point? Over time, I came up with the one winning recipe with the perfect blend of sweet and tart. Our lemon square has a crunchy shortbread base and a pucker-your-lips creamy lemon topping. 

When I serve them at home, I cut them into quarters and store them in the freezer right up until the time I garnish them, because I think they taste great cold. At home, I often serve these treats, cut into quarters and arranged on a pretty plate with a final garnish of sprinkled confectioners sugar and topped with a bit of curled lemon zest. I have also topped them with fresh raspberries and even little miniature flowers like violets. They are just so dainty and adorable and conjure up images of tea at the Plaza Hotel.

Ingredients: 
BASE
1 cup flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
....................................................
TOPPING
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 - 1 teaspoon lemon rind
Directions: 

Base

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cream all lthree ingredients until light and fluffy. Using your hands, press mixture gently and evenly into an 8 x 8 baking pan. Bake until lightly golden (about 15 minutes).

Topping

  • Beat sugar, eggs, and lemon juice until foamy and light in color (approximately five minutes).
  • Gradually add flour, baking powder, and rind, and continue beating until well blended.
  • Pour topping over base and bake until lightly golden on top, (approximately 25 minutes).
  • Cool completely, then cut and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Reprinted with permission from Palate Pleasers by the former Women's Auxiliary of Hebrew SeniorLife (then Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged in Boston). 

Perfect Graham Cracker Crumbs

By: 
Kim Kushner

I keep a container of these crumbs in
 my refrigerator at all times as they’re great for throwing together a last-minute dessert, like individual sorbet or ice cream parfaits. Just sprinkle a teaspoon of these buttery, crunchy crumbs into a champagne or martini glass, add a scoop or two of your favorite frozen treat, and sprinkle a few more crumbs over the top. They’re a key ingredient in my Deconstructed S’mores, and I also like to spoon them over sliced bananas or stir them into my yogurt. What could be better?

Ingredients: 
1 3 ⁄4 cups (5 1⁄4 oz/160 g) graham cracker crumbs (about 20 graham crackers, ground in
 a food processor)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
Kosher salt
1⁄2 cup (4 oz/125 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Directions: 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
     
  • In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Stir in the butter and then combine thoroughly using a spoon or your hands. Spread the mixture out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
     
  • Bake the crumbs until golden, about 10 minutes.
     
  • Let cool completely before using. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Yield: 2 cups

Reprinted with permission from The New Kosher by Kim Kushner (Weldon Owen, 2015)


Raised in Montreal, Canada, Kim Kushner learned to cook from her Moroccan-born mother and spent summers with family in Israel. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, she has developed recipes for Food & Wine and Chile Pepper magazines and has worked a a private chef. In 2005, she launched Kim Kushner Cuisine and now travels the world teaching cooking classes.

Deconstructed S'mores

By: 
Kim Kushner

This is the most perfect, delicious, quirky dessert. I love the new bite-sized approach to food, and I think it’s really neat to go to a party and be handed tuna tartare in a spoon or gazpacho in a shot glass. So why not attempt it with desserts?

I wish that I could take credit for this idea, but I can’t. My cousin Natou had me over for dessert and 
gave me a deconstructed lemon meringue pie, nestled in its own mini glass jar with matching lid. It was to 
die for! Of course, it’s one thing if the dessert looks unbelievably scrumptious, but it’s a whole other ball game when it tastes as good as it looks. Well, these babies do.

Here is my adaptation of a campfire favorite. I’ve used Greek yogurt and chocolate, but you can use store-bought chocolate pudding instead. 
And if chocolate is not your thing, try vanilla or coconut pudding, or even lemon or lime curd. Have fun with it.

Editor's note: Kim Kushner's recipe for Perfect Graham Cracker Crumbs are a key ingredient in these s'mores.

Ingredients: 
3 ounces (90 g) of your favorite chocolate, chopped, or 1⁄2 cup (3 oz/90 g) chocolate chips
3 cups (24 oz/750 g) plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
3⁄4 cup (21⁄4 oz/70 g) Perfect Graham Cracker Crumbs (recipe linked below)
About 3⁄4 cup (2 oz/60 g) marshmallow fluff
Directions: 
  • Have ready 12 individual dishes, such as mini glass jars, shot glasses, or small bowls, 3–4 fl oz (90–125 ml) each. I find these at a local dollar store.
  • Put the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler over (not touching) simmering water and heat, stirring often with a heat-resistant spatula, until melted and smooth. Let cool completely, then stir in the yogurt until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to assemble.
     
  • To assemble, fill the individual dishes halfway with the chocolate yogurt, sprinkle each serving with 
1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs, and carefully top with about 1 tablespoon marshmallow fluff. Cover the dishes (if they don’t come with lids, use plastic wrap) and refrigerate until ready to serve or for up to 2 days. If you like, just before serving, use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallow fluff lightly.

    Yield: 12 servings

Reprinted with permission from The New Kosher by Kim Kushner (Weldon Owen, 2015)


Raised in Montreal, Canada, Kim Kushner learned to cook from her Moroccan-born mother and spent summers with family in Israel. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, she has developed recipes for Food & Wine and Chile Pepper magazines and has worked a a private chef. In 2005, she launched Kim Kushner Cuisine and now travels the world teaching cooking classes.

 

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