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Shavuot

Vegan Lokshen Kugel (Noodle Pudding) Just Like Mom's

By: 
Lisa Dawn Angerame

My mother's lokshen kugel is probably the best thing she made for us every year on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. It took some trial and error to successfully make it vegan, but here it is! This recipe makes a big, casserole-dish-sized kugel.

Ingredients: 
16-ounce bag egg free wide ribbon noodles
3 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
16-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup vegan cane sugar
1 stick Earth Balance, melted
Tofu cream cheese:
1 pkg silken tofu
3 1/2 tablespoons raw cashew butter
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave
Cottage-style tofu:
1 package firm tofu
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 teaspoon agave
Directions: 
  1. To make the tofu cream cheese, place the silken tofu in a clean towel, gather the ends up and twist and squeeze as much of the water out as possible. Crumble it into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make the tofu cottage style, press the tofu. When it is drained, crumble it and add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Boil the noodles and preheat the oven to 350°. 
  4. Make the flax eggs and set aside until they are really creamy. 
  5. Melt the Earth Balance. Drain the noodles. 
  6. In a big mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients well. Turn out into a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes to crisp up the noodles on top. Let the kugel cool and then slice. Note: This kugel is even better the next day right out of the refrigerator.

Lisa Dawn Angerame is living as a vegan for her family's health, the health and welfare of the animals, and that of the planet. She blogs at LisasProjectVegan.com.

The period between Passover and Shavuot is called the “Counting of the Omer” (Sefirat Ha'omer).

Baklava (Honey and Nut Pastry)

Baklava is a delicacy found throughout the Arab world. The Jews who came to Israel from Arab countries continue to prepare and enjoy the taste of baklava. This sweet pastry is sold in both Jewish and Arab markets, and comes in a multitude of varieties.

Ingredients: 
1 pound phyllo pastry sheets
1 1/2 cups melted sweet butter
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FILLING:
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Dash of ground cloves
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups walnuts, pistachio nuts or hazelnuts, roughly chopped
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SYRUP:
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 slices orange & lemon rind
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Directions: 
  1. Place sheets of phyllo pastry in a 13x9x2 inch pan, brushing every other sheet evenly with melted butter.
  2. When ten or twelve sheets are in place, combine almonds, cloves, sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts, and spread 1/3 of this mixture over the sheet.
  3. Place another five or six buttered sheets of phyllo on top of nut mixture.
  4. Repeat this process two more times, alternating nut mixture with five or six sheets of buttered phyllo.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut baklava into diamond-shaped pieces.
  7. Heat remaining butter (there should be about 1/2 cup) until hot and light brown. Pour evenly over the baklava. Sprinkle a few drops of cold water on top and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Reduce the temperature to 300°F and continue to bake for one hour.
  9. Meanwhile, to make the syrup, in a saucepan combine water, sugar, honey, orange and lemon rind, cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon juice. Heat mixture until a drop forms when placed into a cup of cold water, then simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Strain.
  10. When the baklava is baked, pour syrup over it.

Lokshen Kugel [Noodle Pudding]

Lokshen Kugel means "noodle pudding" in Yiddish. It originated in eastern Europe where the Jewish community spoke that language. This item falls into the category of "grandma's dishes."

Ingredients: 
8 ounces broad egg noodles
1 cup pot cheese
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
Directions: 
  1. Cook noodles as directed on the package; drain well.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients and half of the melted margarine.
  3. Place in a greased casserole and pour over the remaining melted margarine.
  4. Bake uncovered at 350° for 1 hour.

Budino Cioccolato [Italian Rich Chocolate Pudding]

By: 
Tina Wasserman

Budino cioccolato is an Italian dish with Iberian roots. The strong Portuguese influence is evident in the addition of cinnamon and chocolate to what is in essence flan, a classic Spanish dessert. How it became a staple of Italian cuisine is unknown.

This recipe makes for a scrumptious Passover dessert. It's also great for the holiday of Shavuot, observed as the birthday of the Torah, as the beauty of the Torah has been compared with the nourishment and sweetness of milk and honey.

Ingredients: 
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups milk
1 3-inch length cinnamon stick
3 ounces dark sweet chocolate (Lindt Excellence or El Rey)
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. To make caramel, cook the sugar and water in a saucepan over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and caramelizes to a light golden brown.
  3. Immediately pour enough of the caramel into the bottom of a ramekin (4-ounce porcelain cup) or a 9-inch glass pie plate and then carefully rotate the cup or plate to coat the bottom and sides with the caramelized sugar. If using ramekins, repeat until another 5-7 cups are coated, keeping the pan of sugar over a very low flame so it won't harden before you're finished.
  4. Heat the milk, cinnamon stick, and chocolate in a small saucepan until the chocolate dissolves. Do not let the milk boil. Keep warm over a low flame.
  5. Beat the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a 2-quart bowl for 3 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
  6. Discard the cinnamon stick and then add the milk mixture to the egg mixture, beating constantly until they are thoroughly combined.
  7. Strain the mixture into a large pitcher and then carefully pour the custard into the prepared ramekins.
  8. Arrange the ramekins in a 13"x 9" pan and then pour boiling water into the pan. The water should come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the custard is firm and pulls away slightly from the sides (or a thin, sharp knife partially inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean).
  10. Remove from the water bath and cool. Before serving, invert the ramekins on a plate and allow the caramel sauce to coat the custard and plate.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • When caramelizing sugar, never stir the sugar mixture after the sugar has dissolved. Stirring can cause the thickened syrup to crystallize and form a sandy mass.
  • Using a cinnamon stick steeped in liquid imparts the flavor of the spice without the grittiness of the powder.

Corn Pudding

By: 
Tina Wasserman

In colonial times, pudding was the most common and beloved dessert. Puddings were cooked in a large kettle suspended over a fire or buried in its hot ashes. Later, brick openings were built into the side of the fireplace wall to create an oven effect for baking.

While corn pudding isn't a dessert by modern standards, it's good enough to eat any time, and it doesn't get easier or better than this recipe!

Ingredients: 
12 ounces vacuum-packed canned corn
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk or non-dairy creamer
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
4 Tablespoons melted butter or parve margarine
Directions: 
  1. Combine all the ingredients in the order listed, making sure to stir the mixture while adding the hot melted butter.
  2. Pour into a 1 1/2-quart casserole and bake at 425°F for 35 minutes or until golden. (This recipe can be doubled or quadrupled, but figure on a little more baking time--up to one hour.)
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • To prevent small bits of food (like raisins, nuts, or corn) from settling on the bottom of a baked muffin, cake, or pudding, always dust the bits with a tablespoon of the recipe's flour.
  • Always incorporate eggs into a batter before adding hot, melted butter to the mix. This will prevent the eggs from cooking when coming in contact with the hot liquid (your eggs cannot bind the mixture together if they are already scrambled).

Apple and Honey Cake Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

By: 
Tina Wasserman

I created this recipe from leftover honey cake. Moist and rich, this “bread” pudding is not overly sweet and can be served warm with spiked butterscotch sauce. Add vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream, if you'd like.

Ingredients: 
CAKE
1 loaf of honey cake (approximately 9" x 5")
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APPLE TOPPING
2 ounces (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter
3 Jonagold, Fuji, or Gala apples
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1⁄3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup half and half
3 cups of milk
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BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE
1 cup light (preferable) or dark brown sugar
2⁄3 cup light corn syrup
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 5-ounce can of evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon Scotch or dark rum (optional)
Directions: 

Apple Topping

  1. Butter a 13" x 9" glass pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the honey cake into 3⁄4-inch cubes. Place in a 4-quart bowl. Set aside.
  3. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1⁄8 pieces, cutting each piece crosswise into 3 or 4 chunks.
  4. Heat a 10-inch skillet for 15 seconds. Add the butter and melt. Sauté the apples in the butter over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, until the apples give up some of their juice.
  5. Mix in the sugar and cinnamon. Sauté for about 2 more minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the apples begin to brown and soften. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. In a 2-quart bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Thoroughly whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla. Pour in the cream and milk, whisking to combine.
  7. Place half of the honey cubes in the prepared pan. Cover with the reserved apples and the remaining cake cubes.
  8. Pour the egg/milk mixture through a sieve directly over the surface of the honey cake. Lightly press down on the cake, making sure it’s covered with the custard.
  9. Place the filled pan in a larger glass pan to act like a double boiler. The larger pan should have at least 1 inch of space on all sides. Pour hot (but not boiling) water into the larger pan to a depth of 1 inch.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a sharp thin knife can be inserted into the center of the pudding and come out wet but clear. Serve warm, with the butterscotch sauce on the side.

Butterscotch Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan set at high heat, combine the sugar, syrup, and butter. Stir only until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a full boil.
  2. Adjust the heat to medium high and rapidly boil, without stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the mixture from the heat.
  3. Combine the milk and vanilla and add to the pan. Stir only to combine. Add Scotch or rum (if using), then pour into a glass jar. Use immediately or refrigerate. If some of the sauce has separated, shake the jar to recombine. This sauce is wonderful warm or cold.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Consider using evaporated milk in your sauces; it gives you the smooth consistency of cream and doesn’t curdle easily.

Cheese Blintz Casserole

By: 
Amy Kritzer

My favorite traditions involve food. Latkes on Hanukkah, matzah ball soup on Passover, and Bubbe’s blintzes whenever her bubbelahs are in town (or for Shavuot, as is traditional for the holiday). Blintzes are sweet or savory, filled with jam or fruit, meat, potatoes, or in this case, cheese. I like mine in casserole form.

Ingredients: 
BATTER:
6 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
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FILLING:
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 egg
1 pint cottage cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
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Directions: 
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. For the batter, mix wet ingredients together until combined.
  3. Mix in sugar, flour and baking powder.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together filling ingredients.
  5. Pour half of batter mixture into a greased 9 × 13-inch baking pan.
  6. Top with all of the filling.
  7. Pour the rest of the batter on top.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.
  9. Top with sour cream.

 

Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her Bubbe’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. Her recipes have been featured on Bon Appetit, Daily Candy, The Today Show Blog and more. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.

Mediterranean Cheese Torta

By: 
Tina Wasserman

Eating dairy foods instead of meat to celebrate the holiday is the most prevalent Shavuot food association. Here are all the flavors of the Mediterranean in one layered dish! I created this recipe after seeing a prominent department store advertise a cheese mold that was extremely expensive. This recipe made six molds for the price of one. As part of your dairy meal, serve this as an appetizer or accompanied by a warm pita or bagels.

Ingredients: 
10 sun-dried tomato halves
3.5 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained
20 pitted Calamata olives
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces unsalted butter
6 ounces Gorgonzola or other blue-veined cheese
8 ounces mascarpone
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
2 large cloves garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces unsalted butter
Directions: 
  1. Lightly grease one 4-cup mold or 5–6 six-ounce ramekins. Line the mold(s) with plastic wrap or cheesecloth and set aside. 
  2. Combine the first five ingredients in the processor work bowl and process until a smooth paste is formed. Pour the mixture into the 4-cup mold or divide evenly among the ramekins. Rinse the work bowl. 
  3. Combine the Gorgonzola with the mascarpone and cream cheese in the processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Pour the mixture evenly over the sun-dried tomato mixture in the mold(s). Rinse out the bowl. 
  4. Combine the basil with the garlic and oil in the processor work bowl and process until a fairly smooth paste is formed. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Pour this mixture over the other layers and smooth evenly. Cover with plastic wrap until firm.
  5. When ready to serve or package for gifts, unmold and carefully remove plastic wrap.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Cheese and cheese mixtures may be frozen as long as they do not have high moisture content. Freeze these tortas first in their molds, and then remove them with the plastic wrap and freeze in airtight freezer bags.
  • Put a straw into an almost sealed freezer bag and suck out all the air. Remove straw and seal quickly. This stops the formation of ice crystals.

Deluxe Noodle Kugel

By: 
Tina Wasserman

Eating dairy foods instead of meat to celebrate the holiday is the most prevalent Shavuot food association. My friends call this “killer kugel.” Joan Nathan ran this recipe in her New York Times column one year, and, as a result, I received many e-mails thanking me for sharing this recipe. I joke that this is a poor excuse for a cheesecake. Rich, creamy, and utterly delicious, a kugel in a 13 × 9-inch baking pan should serve 25 people. However, one reader said she made two kugels for 15 people and almost all of it was gone!

Ingredients: 
KUGEL
1/2 pound medium or extra-wide noodles (see note under Tina’s Tidbits)
1 pound cream cheese
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 eggs
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
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TOPPING
4 ounces walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Directions: 
  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and place in a 4-quart bowl. 
  2. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a processor work bowl and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add the sugar and process until well combined. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and eggs and process until well mixed. Pour into the 4-quart bowl with the noodles. 
  3. Stir the fruits in by hand, and pour the mixture into a buttered 13 × 9-inch baking dish. The mixture will almost overflow. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, uncover and place in a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 50 minutes. 
  5. Combine the walnuts with the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the kugel. Dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature. This could be made totally in advance, but it won’t be as light.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Large noodles will be more visible in this kugel but will provide a more cheesecake-like consistency in some areas. Medium noodles will be distributed more uniformly. Either way this is delicious. 
  • The easiest way to dot butter is to freeze a stick of butter and then grate it over the top of your casserole. 
  • Refrigerating the mixture overnight allows the butter and cream cheese to solidify around the eggs and sour cream. This creates a mixture that will trap the air and puff up better when baked. 
  • If you don’t want to use nuts, try crushing cocoa crisp cereal, sprinkling it on top of the kugel, and then dotting it with butter. The original recipe, given to me over forty years ago, used this topping, but I can’t teach it or I would lose my credibility!

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