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Rosh HaShanah Recipe

Pumpkin with Dumplings

By: 
Hanna Goodman

Many Sephardi Jewish families eat a series of special foods preceding the Rosh HaShanah meal, in observance of the Talmudic tradition: "Abaye said, if you maintain that symbols are meaningful, every man shoud acquire the habit of eating pumpkin, fenugreek, leek, beet, and dates on Rosh HaShanah." As these foods grow rapidly, they are considered symbolic of fertility, abundance, and prosperity.

To celebrate the fall harvest, enjoy this dish in the sukkah on Sukkot and throughout the season for festive Shabbat gatherings.

Ingredients: 
PUMPKIN
3 pounds pumpkin
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
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DUMPLINGS
1/2 cup farina
1/4 cup matzah meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons margarine, melted
Directions: 

Yield: 6 servings

To Cook the Pumpkin

  1. Peel the pumpkin and scrape out the seeds. Wash and cut in 2" pieces. Place the pumpkin in a pot and add the salt, brown sugar, and margarine. 
  2. Sauté over very low heat until the pumpkin is soft. Add the spices and 1/2 cup of water.
  3. Transfer to a casserole, and bake the pumpkin in a 350°F oven for 1/2 hour. 
  4. Add the cooked dumplings and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot. 

To Make the Dumplings

  1. Mix the farina with the matzah meal and salt.
  2. Beat the eggs and add the melted margarine. Beat into the dry ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  3. In a big pot with a cover, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add a little salt to the water.
  4. Wet hands and form dumplings the size of a walnut. Drop the dumplings into the boiling water. Cover the pot and cook the dumplings for 45 minutes.
  5. Do not remove the cover, but shake the pot so dumplings will not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Drain the dumplings and add to the casserold, placing them in the syrup. Bake for 15 minutes.

Recipe Tester's Tips

  • Butternut, acorn, and kombucha squash are great substitues for the pumpkin.
  • You can substitute extra virgin olive oil or butter for the margarine.
  • Cut the quantity of brown sugar by at least half if you prefer less sweetness.
  • Similar to matzah balls, the raw dumpling mixture held together in the boiling water after about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.   

Reprinted with permission from The Rosh Hashanah Anthology: A JPS Classic, edited by Philip Goodman, The Jewish Publication Society, 2018.

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).  

Our fondest memories often center on family gatherings and delicious meals that include foods related to specific Jewish holidays – matzah brei on Passover, latkes during Hanukkah, or cheesecake on Shavuot

Black-Eyed Bean Salad

By: 
Stella Cohen

While still hot, black-eyed beans are doused in vinaigrette topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs. On the island of Rhodes and in Egypt, the Sephardic custom was to serve black-eyed beans for the Sabbath and New Year, representing new life and abundance.

The combination of textures and flavours makes this a delicious and substantial salad that can be served alongside grilled meat, chicken or fish, or even as part of a meze.

Ingredients: 
BEANS:
1 cup (175g/6oz) dried black-eyed beans, soaked for 2 hours in cold water to cover, drained and rinsed
1 whole small onion, peeled
2 dried bay leaves
1 carrot, cut into chunks
sea salt
................................................................................
DRESSING:
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
................................................................................
SALAD:
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced lengthways
3 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley (use leaves and tender stems)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh dill
................................................................................
GARNISH:
2 hard-boiled eggs
A handful pitted oil-cured black olives
6 bottled or canned anchovy fillets
Directions: 
  • Cook the beans: Put the beans in a large pan with enough cold water to cover by 2.5cm (1in). Add the onion, bay leaves and carrot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1¼ hours or until the beans are soft to the bite but not mushy. Check frequently as they cook, adding more boiling water as necessary. Add the salt in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Meanwhile whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • When the beans are cooked, drain well and discard the onion, bay leaves and carrot. While the beans are still warm, tip into a serving bowl with the sliced onion, parsley and dill.
  • Pour the dressing immediately over the beans to absorb the flavours. Toss well to combine.
  • Just before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with finely chopped or quartered eggs, pitted olives and anchovy fillets and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish family recipes from the Mediterranean island of Rhodes © 2012 by Stella Cohen, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection. Photography by Marc Hoberman.

Sephardic cuisine expert, artist, textile designer, and cookery writer, Stella Cohen is a passionate ambassador for the Jewish community, dedicating her life to the celebration, preservation, and education of Sephardic values and traditions. Stella’s heart lies in Southern Africa as well as in the Mediterranean, as she was born and raised in Zimbabwe and has a family tree entrenched in Sephardic history. Her parents originate from Rhodes, Greece, and Marmaris, Turkey and she is the great-granddaughter of Yaacov Capouya, the Rabbi of Rhodes.

Stella’s Hints

  • You can substitute a 450g (16oz) can of black-eyed beans drained and rinsed, or any canned legume of your choice, instead of dried beans. Warm the canned beans in their liquid, drain and then pour in the prepared dressing to better absorb the flavours.

Twist on Tradition

  • You can add 1/2 cup chopped pickled cucumbers and 2 diced ripe plum tomatoes. Toss in just before serving.

Melon-Seed Drink (Pipitada)

By: 
Stella Cohen

This delicious, refreshing melon-seed drink has a subtle almond taste, perfumed with orange blossom water.

I simply adore this drink, as do most Sephardim I know. We’d usually just have pipitada to break the Yom Kippur fast as it helps rehydrate. This was customary in Sephardic communities from Rhodes and Salonica. Each year, I’d wonder why we didn’t make it more often – maybe because it takes time to collect enough seeds for the recipe. My mother religiously collected seeds from cantaloupes or other melons when in season.

For this recipe you need the seeds from about 4-5 melons. Wash the seeds well in a colander to remove all the fleshy parts and lay out to dry on tea towels for a day or two in the sun, or if weather does not permit dry them in a 95°C (200°F) oven for 10 minutes. Dried seeds can be stored in an airtight glass jar for up to 1 year.

Ingredients: 
1 cup sweet melon seeds
3 cups water
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
Directions: 
  • Grind the seeds to a fine powder in a food processor a day before you want to serve.
  • Put the ground seeds in cheesecloth, bring the corners together and tie securely. Fill a bowl with about 3 cups of water and immerse the ground seeds in their cheesecloth bag in the water. Leave in the fridge overnight. Squeeze the cheesecloth from time to time to release the milky essence from the seeds into the water.
  • Squeeze the cloth tightly to extract as much moisture as possible out of the seeds. Discard the seeds. Add the sugar and orange blossom water to the milky liquid and refrigerate in a pitcher. Serve chilled.

Reprinted with permission from Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish family recipes from the Mediterranean island of Rhodes © 2012 by Stella Cohen, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection. Photography by Marc Hoberman.

Sephardic cuisine expert, artist, textile designer, and cookery writer, Stella Cohen is a passionate ambassador for the Jewish community, dedicating her life to the celebration, preservation, and education of Sephardic values and traditions. Stella’s heart lies in Southern Africa as well as in the Mediterranean, as she was born and raised in Zimbabwe and has a family tree entrenched in Sephardic history. Her parents originate from Rhodes, Greece, and Marmaris, Turkey and she is the great-granddaughter of Yaacov Capouya, the Rabbi of Rhodes.

 

Stella's Twist on Tradition

  • For a creamier taste, my mother would add 1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds to the ground melon seeds when placing them in the cheesecloth.

A round challah is one of many ways that we make regular foods extra special in celebration of the New Year. This year, kick your challah-making game up a notch with a host of recipes to choose from based on just how you like your challah and step-by-step instructions on how to shape them.

Apple and Honey Ice Cream

By: 
Heather Lorgeree

Try a tasty new twist on apples and honey this Rosh HaShanah!

Ingredients: 
APPLE PURÉE:
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
1/3 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
...............................................
ICE CREAM BASE:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
3 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Directions: 

Apple Purée

  1. Put apples, cider, honey, and cloves in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to boil.
  2. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until apples are tender when poked with a fork.
  3. Turn off heat. Using a potato masher purée the apples until smooth.
  4. Set aside to cool while you make the ice cream base.

Ice Cream Base 

  1. Separate eggs and place yolks in a medium size mixing bowl, set aside. Discard the whites or save them for a different recipe.
  2. Pour milk, sugar, and honey in a medium saucepan. Heat until warm and sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of milk mixture, one at a time, to egg yolks, whisking. This keeps them from "scrambling." 
  4. Slowly pour the remaining milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking constantly. 
  5. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan.
  6. Heat the mixture on low, stirring continually with a spatula until it thickens and coats the spatula. You will know it is thick enough when you can scrape a spoon down the center of the spatula and the mixture doesn’t fill back in the scraped line. Note: Do not let the mixture come to a boil!

Cooling and Freezing

  1. Create an ice bath by putting ice cubes, water, and a handful of salt into a large bowl.
  2. Set a medium bowl into the ice bath being careful not to let any water get into the medium bowl.
  3. Pour heavy cream into the medium bowl and place a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl.
  4. Pour ice cream custard through the mesh strainer so it catches any eggy bits.
  5. Remove the mesh strainer.
  6. Stir ice cream custard and heavy cream together. Add the apple purée and vanilla and stir until the mixture cools down.
  7. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and place on a towel to dry off the outside.
  8. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours before freezing the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Heather Lorgeree is the Manager of Programming & Affiliate Services for Women of Reform Judaism. She is an active member of Temple Beth Or in Washington Township, NJ

Tina's Tidbits: 

Heather's Tips

  • If the egg mixture curdles or breaks, use an immersion blender to mix it back together.
  • This recipe can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the freezer.

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.

Swiss Chard, Potato and Cheese Gratin

By: 
Stella Cohen

This delicious gratin is known also known as quajado di pasi kon patata i keso (sfongo) in Ladino.

Swiss chard gratin of Turkish origin is characterized with small mounds of mashed potato and cheese mixture interspersed in a bed of Swiss chard, egg, cheese, and potato. It is traditionally served during Passover week, on Rosh HaShanah, and for the festival of Shavout. Served piping hot, this makes a wholesome light family meal.

Ingredients: 
GRATIN
1 pound 2 ounces (500 grams) Swiss chard (silverbeet), stalks removed, washed, and finely shredded
1 pound 2 ounces (500 grams) potatoes, unpeeled
7 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups freshly grated kashkaval or Parmesan cheese mixed with 1/2 cup crumbled feta
sea salt
white pepper, finely ground
..............................................................
IN SEPARATE BOWL
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
..............................................................
TOPPING
1/3 cup grated kashkaval or Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Directions: 
  • Brush a 14 x 10-inch (35 x 25 cm) earthenware ovenproof dish with oil.
  • Dry the Swiss chard in batches in a salad spinner. Spread out the shredded chard on kitchen towels and pat gently ensuring that it is thoroughly dry. I like to do this step the night before so the leaves dry thoroughly.
  • Put the potatoes in a pan with enough cold salted water to just cover. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain and, whilst still hot (using a fork to hold the potato steady and tongs to peel off the skin), peel and return to the pan for about 1 minute to dry off any excess moisture. Put through a potato ricer. Divide the potato mixture into two thirds and set aside the remaining third.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and heat the oiled dish in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • In a very large bowl, and using your hands, mix the Swiss chard with two-thirds of the mashed potato and 1 1/2 cups of grated mixed cheese, salt, and pepper. When evenly incorporated add the 7 beaten eggs and combine well.
  • In another bowl, combine the remaining third of the mashed potato with 2 beaten eggs, the remaining 1/2 cup mixed cheeses and the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Remove the heated dish from the oven and spread the Swiss chard and potato mixture evenly into the dish.
  • With a spoon, scoop out golf ball-sized hollows in the layer of the Swiss chard and potato mixture spacing them evenly in rows about 1 inch (2.5cm) apart. Fill with teaspoonfuls of the potato and cheese mixture, forming small mounds.
  • Sprinkle the gratin with cheese and dot with a few small knobs of butter. Bake for 50 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden brown. Serve directly from the dish, hot or cold, cut into squares.

Reprinted with permission from Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish family recipes from the Mediterranean island of Rhodes © 2012 by Stella Cohen, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection. Photography by Marc Hoberman.

Sephardic cuisine expert, artist, textile designer, and cookery writer, Stella Cohen is a passionate ambassador for the Jewish community, dedicating her life to the celebration, preservation, and education of Sephardic values and traditions. Stella’s heart lies in Southern Africa as well as in the Mediterranean, as she was born and raised in Zimbabwe and has a family tree entrenched in Sephardic history. Her parents originate from Rhodes, Greece, and Marmaris, Turkey and she is the great-granddaughter of Yaacov Capouya, the Rabbi of Rhodes.
 

Stella's Hints

  • Use ricotta or fresh goat’s cheese instead of feta for a blander taste.
  • The volume of the trimmed Swiss chard seems large but it reduces significantly when cooked.

Carrot Tzimmes with Dumplings

By: 
Tina Wasserman

This recipe is featured in Tina Wasserman's cookbook, Entree to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora. "In Tina's recipes each ingredient tells a story. Each recipe expresses an ethical value, explores an historical event, evokes a memory." - Rabbi Debra Robbins, Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, TX  

When I was young, I loved Mrs. Adler’s jarred carrot tzimmes. I created this recipe in Texas when it was no longer available. It’s great for Passover too!

This is also a favorite Ashkenazic dish for Rosh HaShanah. The Yiddish word for carrot is mehren, which also means "increase," and according to The Rosh Hashanah Anthology the eating of carrot tzimmes is accompanied by the expression: "May it be Thy will that our merits will be increased." Carrots were also cooked whole and then sliced into circles, resembling coins in color and shape. This patently added to a yearning for a prosperous new year. 

Ingredients: 
1 pound carrots, steamed and sliced, or 1 pound cooked frozen carrots
1/3 cup chicken stock (or pareve bouillon)
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon pareve margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons potato starch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
Leftover matzah balls, quartered, or 12 miniature matzah balls prepared according to instructions in step 1
Directions: 
  1. Make matzah ball mixture according to your favorite recipe. Use part of the mixture to make miniature balls by shaping 1/2 teaspoon of dough into a ball in your oiled hands and adding it to the boiling water. Cook and reserve matzah balls for later.
  2. Place sliced cooked carrots, stock, orange juice, ginger, and honey in a saucepan and heat to boiling.
  3. Reduce heat and add margarine.
  4. Give potato starch mixture a stir to recombine and add to the carrots. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.5. When mixture has thickened, add the reserved matzah balls and gently combine until the dumplings are coated and heated through.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • If you want to make a portion of carrots look larger, slice them on the diagonal.
  • Always stir a hot mixture as you add a potato starch–water mixture to it. Potato starch will congeal instantly if not stirred rapidly.
  • An easy way to make little matzah balls is to put the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a number 6 tip. Squeeze out 1/2 inch of dough and cut it off with a knife over the pot of boiling water.

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