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Sukkot Recipe

Grandma’s Roly Poly

Marcy Goldman

I think of roly poly as a quintessential bubbe-style treat (circa 1950-1980s) that went out of fashion when boomer cooks took over the kitchen. Alas, roly poly disappeared along with old faithfuls, such as mun cookies and various haimish squares that were once the mainstays of canasta and bridge night. As part of traditional Jewish baking, roly poly, cookie-cum-pastry confection seems to have its roots (albeit this version is a steamed roly poly pudding) in vintage British cuisine. That, and the fact that traditional roly poly calls for Turkish Delight, seems to indicate that perhaps British Jewish immigrants brought that recipe with them when they hit the American shores. As a kid, I recall it was rare that a Jewish event (b'rit milah, b'nai mitzvah, wedding or Shabbat dinner) didn’t feature a platter of this absolutely amazing delicacy. Indeed, women who made it well became community legends, as in “No one makes roly poly like Ethel”.

I recently revisited roly poly and made several test batches to update tradition and give it some gentle tweaks for today’s palate. I swapped the usual bergamot or rose water-flavored Turkish Delight with kosher Gummy Bears to get that chewy sweetness. That was perfect until I lucked out and found natural berry Turkish Delight in my local spice store – a miracle! I also ditched the glacé cherries (they remind me of fruit cake) with dried apricots and tossed in some dried cranberries with the raisins, which was a huge success. I played around with the dough, but in the end, found that the traditional lean and easy roly poly dough was as contemporary and delicious today as it was years ago. Truth is, overall, there was not a whole lot to ‘fix’ in this sumptuous memory-lane recipe. The only real fix is to remedy the lack of roly poly in the landscape by making some for your next gathering, be it a holiday or Shabbat.

There is one caveat to roly poly, and that is to let them ‘cure’ overnight to give the filling time to soften the baked dough. The taste and texture is totally altered, resulting in pastry that is delicate of crust with an ambrosial filling of all the good things you can stuff into it. Incidentally, since roly poly is so hard to describe, if you like rugelach, you will love roly poly. 'Nuff said. You can play fast and loose with the filling, (i.e. a bit more of this or that doesn’t make a huge difference).

2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup raspberry, apricot or sour cherry jam
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup plumped raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup ground walnuts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup minced dried California apricots
1 1/2 cups, approximately, Turkish delight, cut into small slivers*
*I use a mix of Gummy Bears and Turkish Delight for the perfect balance of color, taste and chewiness. Use red or pale yellow Gummy Bears - avoid green and orange.

Yield: Two 12-inch rolls, about 10-15 slices each

  • Stack two baking sheets together and line the top one with parchment paper.

For the dough

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, orange juice and oil. Fold in the flour, salt and baking powder to make a soft but rollable dough (you might need to add a few tablespoons more flour). Knead dough very briefly and gently on a lightly floured board only to make smooth and cohesive. Don’t overwork it. Cover dough with a towel and let rest 15 minutes or refrigerate until you need it (up to three days).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Stack two baking sheets together and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured board, roll out half the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch thick, to form a rectangle 12 by 8 inches.

To fill the dough

  • Spread half of jam on each rectangle. Sprinkle on half of listed ingredients (coconut, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, cherries, and Turkish delight). Turn in ends, and roll up into jellyroll shape. Cut into 3/4-inch slices and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown all over, 35-40 minutes. Let cool a bit and then sift confectioners’ sugar on top.

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Super Soup

Chef Katie Simmons

This healthy, dairy-free, gluten-free soup is perfect for Sukkot guests.

Before culinary school, I'd always assumed "creamed" soup meant adding dairy cream. However, creaming isn't an ingredent – it's a method. Creamed soup involves puréeing an ingredient (e.g., potatoes, corn, rice) in the soup, and rarely involves dairy. In fact, adding dairy cream will often thin and cool a hot soup.

For this cream of broccoli super soup, the vegetables are cooked quickly so as not to get brown; resulting in a more verdant, green soup. Hearty cannellini beans add plant-based protein and thick texture. A cheesy, umami flavor comes from nutritional yeast flakes.Once you’ve got this creamed soup technique in your cooking repertoire, you can use it on a variety of vegetables. Make cream of zucchini, sweet potato, carrot,parsnip, or roasted beet soup…the garden’s the limit.

2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
2 stalks broccoli, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
2 cups water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a medium pot, combine the carrot, celery, and thyme. Cover and sweat over medium heat until aromatic, 3-5 minutes. If vegetables start to brown, simply add a splash of water and reduce the heat. 
  2. Add the broccoli, cannellini beans, bay leaf, vegetable stock, and water to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove bay leaves. Add nutritional yeast.
  4. Use an immersion or a standard blender to purée the mixture until smooth. If the soup seems too thick, add more broth or water.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Chef Katie Simmon's Tips

  • For a chilled version, don't add water during cooking. Instead, add 2 cups of ice when you purée the soup.
  • You can also use frozen broccoli. Use 2 pounds frozen broccoli and add as you do in the recipe above. It will take less time for the broccoli to become tender, about 3-5 minutes.

Classically-trained Chef Katie Simmons is a personal chef in Chicago. Her journey to cooking has been a winding path from Kentucky to backpacking in New Zealand through culinary school at Kendall College and working for Whole Foods Market.  Her own frustrations of being an overweight fitness professional finally led her to embrace a plant-based, vegan diet. 

Pumpkin Muffins

Jan Rood-Ojalvo

I experimented with many recipes to create these moist pumpkin muffins with a crumbly streusel topping. They are popular over the autumn Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah when pumpkins, butternut squash and sweet potatoes are in season. I use mostly winter squash and sweet potatoes, since there are always leftovers in my fridge. There are never any leftovers from the muffins!

1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup apple or orange juice
2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potatoes
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger powder, optional (terrific for extra spiced taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, optional (terrific for extra spiced taste)
1 cup chocolate chips, optional (a favorite in our house)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 tablespoons cold butter

To prepare the batter

  • In a mixer, at medium speed, blend sugar, eggs, oil, juice, and pumpkin until smooth. Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing after each addition. Then stir in chocolate chips. The batter will be thin, but bakes beautifully.
  • Spoon into greased muffin tins, 2/3 full. 

To prepare the streusel topping

  • in a food processor, place flour, sugar, spices and the cold butter cut into small pieces. Pulse until mixture is crumbly and even, but not completely smooth.

To assemble and bake

  • Spoon streusel generously over top of each muffin batter.
  • Place in 350°F oven, bake for about 15 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. 
  • Let cool briefly on wire rack, then use a knife to loosen each muffin and remove from tin.

Note: These are especially delicious when still warm and the chocolate chips are melted.

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.

Apple Dapple Cake

Deborah Rood Goldman

A good friend found this recipe on a Jewish New Year handout from her daughter's preschool. The first time I tried the recipe – the afternoon of Erev Rosh HaShanah – the batter was so thick, I called her in a slight panic. She reassured me, explaining that it's an extremely thick batter that has to be spooned in clumps into the cake pan before baking. As it turns out, this is a dessert I can't resist, and admit to sampling the drippings from the caramel topping before the cake is served. Use fresh apples in the fall to serve it on Rosh HaShanahSukkot, and Simchat Torah.

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 medium tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk (or mocha mix, if pareve)
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 10-inch ring-shaped or Bundt baking pan.
  2. Sift flour with baking soda and salt.
  3. Cream oil with sugar until light; beat in eggs one by one. Fold in flour mixture in three batches. Stir in apples with vanilla. [Note: Batter will be extremely thick.]
  4. Spoon mixture into baking pan. Bake about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

For the topping

  1. Five minutes before the cake is done, combine topping ingredients in a saucepan. Melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Boil until topping coats a spoon (about 3 minutes).
  2. Turn cake out onto rack while still warm. Pour topping over cake. Allow to cool.

Deborah Rood Goldman is a longtime member and immediate past president of the Garden City Jewish Center in Garden City, NY. She is a digital communications producer on the Union for Reform Judaism's marketing and communications team.  A native New Yorker, Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in American civilization from Brown University and a master’s degree in library science from Queens College. 


Best-Ever Tomato Tart

Marcy Goldman

If you haven't ever eaten a fresh, homemade tomato tart, you've been missing out! This recipe is a taste experience that blends pizza and quiche into a savory tart – utterly fantastic. Use store-bought pastry dough to speed up the prep. I recommend serving this tart anytime, though it makes an especially welcome vegetarian entrée for Shavuot, Shabbat luncheon, and Sukkot.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt, pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 1/2 pounds medium-size tomatoes, sliced
1/2 pound medium cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 pound fontina cheese, grated
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated

For the pastry

  • Place the flour in a large mixer bowl. With a pastry blender, or your hands, cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly – a somewhat lumpy, bumpy mixture of little and larger lumps of flour-covered butter.
  • Make a well in center of flour mixture and stir in the sugar, salt, and lemon juice.
  • Drizzle in most of the ice water, and using a fork or fingers, toss mixture together to moisten flour. Stir to make a soft mass and pat into a rough dough. Add remaining (or additional) ice water as required to make sure the dough sticks together.
  • Turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface. Knead very briefly into a smooth, cohesive dough. Place dough in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate at least one hour or up to two days.

For the tomato basil topping

  • In a food processor, add the basil, parsley, thyme, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil and blend to mince garlic and mix ingredients, about 1–2 minutes.
  • Prepare tomatoes and place in a large bowl, cover with herb marinade, and toss to blend.

To assemble and bake

  • Stack two baking sheets together and line the top one with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a lightly-floured work surface to an 11 x 17-inch rectangle and transfer to the baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes to just dry out the  crust. Cool slightly and then brush the dough with the Dijon mustard. On top of the dough, arrange half the cheddar and fontina. Arrange the herbed-tomato slices in rows on top of the pastry; add the rest of the grated cheddar and fontina, and last, sprinkle on the Parmesan.
  • Bake, immediately lowering temperature to 350°F, 30-35 minutes until the edges of the pastry are browned and top is bubbling (tomatoes are softened, and cheese is melted and golden).
  • Cool slightly and cut into large squares to serve. Good served warm, at room temperature, or re-heated.

    Marcy Goldman is a cookbook author of several titles and host of the popular website, This recipe is reprinted with permission from The Newish Jewish Cookbook (February 2019 River Heart Press).

Kasha Pumpkin Pilaf with Shitake Mushrooms (Gluten Free)

Deborah Rood Goldman

My goal was to build a healthy and delicious grain bowl that was low-fat and filling. This combo of sweet pumpkin, sautéed crunchy cabbage and flavorful shitakes fits the bill.

A good friend whose diet is gluten-free was dubious when I assured him that the kasha pilaf I'd brought to a temple pot luck was indeed gluten-free. 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. I left out the classic bowtie noodles in classic kasha varnishkas to build an autumn grain bowl, perfect during Sukkot for a meal in the sukkah and to enjoy on Shabbat throughout the fall and winter. 

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 small pumpkin, or substitute butternut, acorn, or kombucha squash, peeled, cubed and roasted
1/4 head of small green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 handful dried shitake mushrooms, soaked until soft, then thinly sliced
1 cup whole grain buckwheat (kasha)
1 egg
2 cups broth, water, or bouillon
salt and fresh pepper to taste
  1. In nonstick pan, gently sauté onions until translucent. Add cabbage and mushrooms, and cook until cabbage is slightly wilted but still crunchy. Remove from heat and place vegetables aside in a bowl.
  2. Beat egg in small bowl and stir in kasha to coat the kernels.  Pour kasha-egg mixture into pan on stovetop and toast grains over medium-high heat until the kernels separate, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups broth, water or bouillon, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Simmer 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. 
  4. Gently stir in the roasted pumpkin or squash cubes, sauteed onion, cabbage, and shitake mushrooms.

    Deborah Rood Goldmana longtime member of the Garden City Jewish Center in Garden City, NY, currently serves as the congregation’s president. She is a digital communications producer on the Union for Reform Judaism's marketing and communications team.  A native New Yorker, Deborah grew up on Long  Island,  and holds a bachelor’s degree in American civilization from Brown University and a master’s degree in library science from Queens College. 

Pumpkin with Dumplings

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.

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
1/2 cup farina
1/4 cup matzah meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons margarine, melted

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.

Dark and Spicy Pumpkin Pie

Gene Burns

Serve up a popular autumn dessert that will fill your kitchen with fragrant spices as it bakes.

2 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 tablespoon nutmeg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
1 unbaked pie shell
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Beat eggs slightly. Combine with all other ingredients.
  2. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 450°F for 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce over temperature to 350°F and bake an additional 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted medway between the center of the pie and the edge comes out clean.
  4. Cool. Serve with whipped cream if desired.


Gene Burns' Pie Baking Tip

It's easier to put the pie shell on the oven rack and then pour in the filling, rather than trying to carry the filled pie to the oven. (I didn't believe it either but it's true.)

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

Old Time Corn Bread

Sylvia Gorberg

Here's a tried-and-true easy recipe for a cornbread that never crumbles. 

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously grease a 9" x 13" pan.
  2. In small bowl, beat eggs, then mix in sugar.
  3. Sift flour, corn meal, baking poweder, and salt together into large bowl.
  4. Add melted butter, egg mixture, and milk. Beat quickly.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until top is lighly browned; a toothpick inserted into center will come out clean. 

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

Pumpkin Bread

Hebrew Senior Life

Fragrant with cinnamon and nutmeg, this classic recipe is a popular autumn favorite.  Delicious for Shabbat, to serve in the sukkah and to celebrate Simchat Torah. This recipe freezes well, too.

1 cup oil
1 cup orange juice
4 eggs, beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin or squash
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 9" x 5" loaf pans.
  2. Mix oil, orange juice, eggs, and pumpkin.
  3. Mix together sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices,  and add to the egg mixture. Mix in the chopped nuts.
  4. Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.

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


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