The holiday of Simchat Torah celebrates the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. The name of the holiday means “Rejoicing in the Torah.” The eve of Simchat Torah is only time of the year that the Torah is taken out at night in the synagogue and the penultimate Chapter is read (up to Deut. 33:26). The following morning, the last part of the Torah is read. In many synagogues each congregant is given an opportunity to be called to the Torah. We then immediately begin reading the first part of Genesis from another Torah scroll emphasizing that study of Torah never ends. These Torah readings are followed by the beginning of the book of Joshua showing the continuation of the narrative after the conclusion of the Torah.
Sweet foods that resemble a Torah scroll are a traditional part of the festivities. Phyllo scrolls filled with a sweet almond paste are edible stand-ins for Torah scrolls.
The delicious recipe follows the jump.
Sweet Almond Scrolls (Adapted from Israel Aharoni)
- Frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
- 14 ounces blanched almonds
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a food processor, combine the blanched almonds, sugar, vanilla extract, and zest.
- Unroll the phyllo dough onto a work surface.
- Brush the dough with olive oil.
- Cut the dough into 4-inch squares.
- Place 2 teaspoons of filling on each square of dough.
- Roll it up into a scroll.
- Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush with olive oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Place on a serving dish, and drizzle with honey.