In Israel, the arrival of Spring brings with it the smoky smell of Lag BaOmer bonfires. The outdoorsy Jewish holiday falls on May 3 this year, and where there will be fire, there will be creative outdoor cooking. In honor of Israel’s Jaffa oranges, here is a recipe for a truly sabra Lag BaOmer treat. This year you may try buns cooked in orange peels in the embers. If you do not have time to prepare the dough in advance, use refrigerated dough from the supermarket or brownie, cake, or muffin mix. If lighting a bonfire near where you live is completely out of the question, the outdoor grill or fire pit will do.
It is said that Queen Esther kept kosher in the palace of Shushan by eating a vegetarian diet.
Seeds and nuts have been an integral part of the diet of the Near East since ancient times. Poppy seeds featured prominently in many recipes, and are believed to have been especially favored by Queen Esther.
One delicious treat that you can bake for your Purim celebration is a traditional Turkish cake called revani. Revani is a poppy seed-semolina cake which is drenched in syrup and garnished with clotted cream.
Poppy Seed Revani
Adapted from Selcen Koca Sari
Preparing the Syrup
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- juice from half of a lemon
- Cook the sugar and water in a pot until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Add the lemon.
- Stir the syrup over medium heat until it thickens.
- Turn off the flame, and set aside.
Baking the Cake
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 cup ground poppy seeds
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Mix all ingredients.
- Pour the batter into an oiled cake pan.
- Bake for between 40 and 45 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and pour the syrup over it.
- Allow the cake to rest for a few hours so it may absorb the syrup.
- To serve, top with Clotted Cream.
One knows that Tu B’Shvat, the new year of the trees, has arrived when the almond trees begin to flower in Israel.
The beautiful pink and white blossoms signal that winter is over. The almonds themselves, however, will not be ready for harvest until the fall.
This year, Tu B’Shvat begins on February 3, at sundown. You may use almonds from last year’s crop to prepare a festive almond tart in honor of the holiday.
Adapted from David Lebovitz
- 1 frozen pie crust
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 7 tablespoons butter
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place the frozen pie crust on a cookie sheet.
- Mix all the other ingredients, except for the sliced almonds, in a bowl.
- Pour the almond mixture into the pie crust.
- Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top of the filling.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
— by Margo Sugarman
When rain is crashing down outside and the temperatures plummet, nothing can make one forget about the weather like a hot, gooey chocolate pudding.
The recipe, in its various forms, has many different theories for its inception. Some say that its very basic ingredients point to the post-WWII era, when ingredients were scarce. My late mother-in-law, who spent many years in Atlanta and gave me the recipe, always attributed it to the South African expats who lived there in the 1970s.
You can make the recipe parve by using soy milk instead of regular milk. It will have no discernible taste difference.
Ingredients for 6 Servings
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3 tablespoons melted butter/margarine
- 1/2 cup milk (or soy milk)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup hot water
- Preheat an oven to 350ºF.
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the milk, melted butter/margarine and vanilla.
- Pour the batter into a greased medium-sized baking dish.
- Mix together all other ingredients for the topping and carefully pour over the batter.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Serve hot or warm. If you want to add to the decadence, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Margo Sugarman is the creator of The Kosher Blogger.
— by Margo Sugarman
Years ago, not long after I got married, my late mother arrived on a visit to Israel with a pile of yellow A4 pages on which she had hand written some of her favorite recipes. The truth is that not all her favorites were my favorites, but I kept them anyway. Some I used and referred to; others I ignored. Needless to say, after she passed away, these aging pieces of paper with my mother’s distinctive handwriting are priceless to me and even if I wasn’t going to use all the recipes, I certainly wasn’t planning on disposing them.
The full recipe after the jump.
So while I had resigned myself to the fact that some of these recipes weren’t going to be made, one day not long ago I did take a quick glance at one that looked like, in spite of my initial misgiving, could be OK. It was a recipe for a parev coffee ice cream. I always remember the parev desserts of my childhood tasting like the parev cream they were made of — in other words, fake. In South Africa it was Orley Whip that gave parev desserts their artificial taste. Nevertheless, in need of a new parev dessert for my repertoire, I decided to give this one a go. Not only did it turn out well, but when I had finished serving dessert, the teenagers at my Shabbat dinner table grabbed the bowl and licked last remnants of the ice cream. Now that’s what I call success.
This recipe makes a large amount of ice cream, so I split the basic mixture in half and made one half with the coffee ingredients and the other half with grated dark chocolate. Both were wonderful, and the non-adults loved the chocolate chip version the best. You can also opt for just one flavor (if you’re having kids, go for the chocolate chip).
This can be made several days ahead of time and kept in the freezer.
PAREV COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM
- 500 ml (1 pint) non-dairy cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 5 eggs separated
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
- 3 tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 50g (2 oz) grated dark or semi-sweet chocolate (parev)
How to do it
- In a large bowl, beat the non-dairy cream until it’s stiff.
- Add the egg yolks, vanilla and sugar and beat well.
- Divide the mixture in two (if you decided to only make one flavor, then don’t divide the mixture, and double the quantities of the flavoring in step 4 below that you choose)
- In one bowl, add the coffee liqueur and the coffee granules and mix well till combined. In the other bowl, add the grated chocolate and mix well.
- In a mixer, beat the egg whites until they are very stiff. Fold into each of the flavors (half and half) until the whites are combined and you have a creamy consistency.
- Pour each flavor into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.
Margo Sugarman is the creator of The Kosher Blogger, a celebration of keeping kosher and loving good food.