Yom Kippur 5769

I am still trying to finalize my menu for the pre-fast meal on Wednesday afternoon. I don’t want to over do it.

For erev Yom Kippur:

  • Roasted chicken quarters with Hashu filling (Syrian ground beef, rice and pine nuts)
  • Steamed green beans
  • Fruit salad

For break-the-fast:

  • Crackers
  • Cheese
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Baba Ganoush

About 1 hour later, we will have:

Mr. Baroness Tapuzina and I hope that you have an easy fast. Gmar Chatimah Tova (May you be sealed in the book of life).

A Honey of a Dinner

We had a lovely time with my family in Jerusalem for Rosh Hashana. When we came back, I decided to continue the New Year’s celebration and make another special dinner for just the two of us. I know that I have blogged a lot about beef here, but we are really not big beef eaters: we eat a lot more fish and chicken. However, I found a nice reasonably priced piece of beef shoulder, which believe it or not, I have never cooked before.

I started looking at recipes and none of them really turned me on. I didn’t want to do the standard carrot, potato, and onion pot roast. Finally, I found a recipe called Boeuf a la Mode, which sounded like beef with vanilla ice cream. Actually, it is a quick and easy recipe that doesn’t require long hours in the kitchen. The spices gave a nice subtle flavour to the fork-tender beef. I served it with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli.

I also made a creamy and delicious honey-thyme ice cream from The Cook and Gardener cookbook. I made it with Israeli citrus honey and a touch of Provencal chestnut honey that I brought back from our trip to the South of France and Provence a couple of years ago. It gave it a nice smokey flavour. The thyme was not overpowering, but you can definitely taste it. I really loved this ice cream and it was an excellent compliment to the honey cake I made.

Boeuf a la Mode

Serving Size: 4 to 6

1 kilo (2 lbs) beef shoulder roast

4 cups thinly sliced onions

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon ras al hanut

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 cup dry red wine

Beef Shoulder Roast

Preheat oven to 160C (325F). Combine salt, ras al hanut, and pepper. Rub seasoning on both sides of the meat.

In large roasting pan, arrange half of onions and garlic. Set roast on top of the onion mixture. Top with remaining onions, garlic, and red wine. Cover pan tightly with foil. Cook for 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 hours, or until pot roast is tender.

Remove pot roast to serving platter; keep warm.

Skim fat from pan juices and onion mixture. Carve pot roast into thin slices. Spoon onion mixture over pot roast. Garnish with parsley, if desired.


Honey-Thyme Ice Cream

Yield: About 1 liter (quart)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup citrus honey

2 teaspoons chestnut honey (optional)

5 egg yolks

16 sprigs fresh thyme

Milk & Cream Infused with Thyme

Heat the milk, 1 cup of cream and the honey in a heavy saucepan just before it begins to boil. Take off the heat immediately; add the sprigs of thyme and let it steep for about 30 minutes.

Strain the milk mixture, place it in a clean saucepan, and bring the milk mixture to simmer over medium heat.

Honey-Thyme Custard

n separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture; return to same pan. Stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across (do not boil). Strain into another medium bowl; chill covered until cold.

Process chilled custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer ice cream to container; cover and freeze.


Not my Grandmother’s Honey Cake

We didn’t have a Rosh Hashana tradition of making honey cakes in my house. I didn’t even know there was a tradition to serve honey cake during this holiday. We made Honigkuchen, which were basically lebkuchen, a type of spice cookie that we always made for Hannukah. My grandmother always made Noodle Schalet (Noodle Pudding, not Kugel, with eggs, lemon zest and raisins) with lemon sauce for dessert. We had Suesse Apfel (carmelised apple slices in honey) as a side dish with roast beef.

So when I moved to Israel, people started asking me what does your mother put in her honey cake? Does she put nuts in, coffee or tea, schnapps, only cinnamon? I had no idea what they were talking about. All of the supermarkets and bakeries were selling different types of honey cakes. The few times I had them in the States, I always remembering them being dry and inedible. I made my first honey cake a few years ago and I could have built a house with it. It was heavy and dry. Then, I made the Beekeeper’s Honey Cake and it was less dry.

I finally decided which cake I am going to make for Erev Rosh Hashana, the Magical Honey Cake. As most of my regular readers know, I usually have to tweak a recipe and this time was no different. I used Janna Gur’s recipe as a base and added a few more spices, some orange rind, and substituted cranberries soaked in rum for the raisins. I cheated and tasted one of the cakes on the second day, it is moist, spicy and bursting with flavour from the honey. This is going to be my tried and true honey cake from now on.

Magical Honey Cake

Yield: 3 loaves

6 cups + 3 tablespoons flour

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1-1/2 cups honey

1 cup oil

4 eggs

2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee

1 cup boiling water

2 level teaspoons baking soda

Zest of two medium oranges

1/3 cup dried cranberries soaked in rum, just to cover

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170C (325F). Grease the loaf pans.

Dry Ingredients

Mix the flour, sugar, and spices in a bowl. Add the honey, oil and eggs, and whisk into a smooth batter. Dissolve the coffee into 1 cup of boiling water. Add the baking soda to the batter, and then add the coffee. Gently fold in the orange rind, cranberries and rum, and the walnuts.

Honey Cake Batter

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pans and bake for approximately 45 minutes until the cake is dark brown and the toothpick is clean with a few crumbs adhering.

Cool the cakes completely and wrap with aluminum foil. Place in a cool, dry place to mature for 7 days.


Rosh Hashana 5769

Chag Sameach everyone! We have been invited to family for the holiday and I will be bringing dessert. I am still trying to decide which cake I am going to make, but I wanted to share some of my ideas with you before the holiday begins. I will post which one I make as soon as I decide. Here are my choices:

Greek Pistachio Honey Cake

Ka’ikeh b’Ah’sal (Honey Cake With Sesame Glaze)

Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Honey Cake

Beekeeper’s Honey Cake (I made this last year)

I have also found some interesting recipes for the rest of the meal:

Rubuh’ (roast veal stuffed with spiced ground meat and rice)

Ejjeh b’kerrateh (leek fritters)

Georgian Meatballs with Pine Nuts and Sour Cherries

Georgian Chicken in Pomegranate and Tamarind Sauce

And you can always use my recipes from last year: Rosh Hashana 5768 and Chag Sameach – Shana Tova

They Say its My Birthday….Yesterday

Yesterday, I woke up and was another year older. My grandmother, may she rest in peace,  always said we should celebrate our birthday because if we don’t, it means that we aren’t here anymore. I like to subscribe to that philosophy. Birthdays should be celebrated.

I woke up to my husband serenading me with Happy Birthday and I arrived at work to my office which was decorated with gold streamers, paper tulips, clusters of paper flower bouquets, and a Happy Birthday banner. It is nice to be loved.

Every Thursday my team gets together for “Kabbalat Shabbat”. It is not really Kabbalat Shabbat, because that is really the welcoming of the Sabbath which is done on Friday before the sundown. However, it is a tradition at most offices in Israel to do on Thursday and bring snacks, sweets and some wine. It was my turn to bring something, and so it was an easy way to celebrate my birthday with my colleagues.

I was looking for something different and most importantly something that didn’t take a lot of time. So, I found something really interesting on Smitten Kitchen‘s blog, Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars. Her pictures are so beautiful; just the picture enticed me to make them. And, she had me at “Raspberry”. The title of these bars are misleading because they are not crumb bars at all. I think they are more like soft, squidgy granola bars. Simply said, they are delicious and most importantly all about the raspberry. We don’t have much of a raspberry season here in Israel, so I used frozen berries. I think you could make this recipe with blackberries, blueberries, black or red currants or sour cherries. Next time, and believe me there will be a next time, I am going to make them with mixed berries.

My beloved husband made me a nice dinner, beginning with a delicious shaken, not stirred Apple Martini. He made:

Wiener Schnitzel
Crushed Basil Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts

He served it with a nice Shiraz Rose and we had fresh guavas for dessert. It was a lovely dinner.

Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars

Yield: 24 bars

Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking from the Baked Bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn

For the crust and crumb:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 1/4 cups rolled oats (like you use for porridge)

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

170g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the raspberry filling:

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

500g (1lb) raspberries, fresh or 600g frozen

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 31x 21 cm (9-by-13-inch) glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to hang over the short sides of the pan to allow easy removal of the bars.

Place the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until a loose crumbs forms.

Reserve 1-1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Place the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumb mixture evenly in the pan with the back of a large wooden spoon. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool. Keep the oven on while you prepare the raspberry filling.

In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and toss gently with your hands until the raspberries are evenly coated.

Gently place the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.


Niçoise Picnic

There are lots of beautiful places in Israel to have a picnic. You can choose to drive North and have a picnic near the Sea of Galilee:

Or to the Hula Valley:

Or drive south to the ancient desert of the Negev and the moon-like landscape of Mitzpe Ramon:

Wherever you choose to have a picnic, you should always bring lots to drink, a blanket on which to sit and beautiful food to eat.

My husband and I were invited to a picnic with friends that we haven’t seen in a while at Park Yarkon in North Tel Aviv. We were so excited to see our friends, we forgot to take a picture of the park which is a strip of land along the Yarkon river. It is very nice there with plenty of picnic tables, a nice walking path, and a chance to see people rowing on the Yarkon.

I decided to make a savory tart that we had two years ago on our trip to the South of France. I made a Niçoise specialty called Tourte de Blettes. It is a double pastry filled with sauteed swiss chard, golden raisins, pine nuts, eggs, and a little cream. After it is baked, you sprinkle icing sugar on top. I know this sounds a bit strange, but it is delicious and it can be served along with a beautiful green salad or if you are brave, you can serve it as dessert. This tart gets its sweetness from the golden raisins. I think it is a perfect picnic dish because it can be made in advance and put in the freezer. It is best served at room temperature.

Tourte de Blette
For the pastry:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

170 g (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

50g (1/4 cup) cold vegetable shortening or non-butter flavored margarine

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 to 9 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 cup water

2 lb green Swiss chard, half of the center ribs chopped fine

1 large egg

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 teaspoons icing (confectioners) sugar

For the pastry:

Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle 5 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture. Gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.

Turn dough out onto a work surface. Gather all dough together with pastry scraper.divide dough with one half slightly larger, then form each into a ball and flatten each into a 5-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 2 days ahead.

Prebake Tourte de Blettes

For the filling:

Bring raisins and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Drain in a colander, then pat dry with paper towels. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200C (400F).

Blanch chard in a large pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Transfer chard with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain chard in a colander, then squeeze out excess water by handfuls. Coarsely chop chard.

Whisk together egg, cream, granulated sugar, zest, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir in pine nuts, raisins, and chard until combined.

For the Tourte de Blette:

Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 38- by 27-centimeter (15- by 11-inch) rectangle and fit into tart pan (do not trim edges). Chill shell while rolling out top.

Roll out smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into a 30- by 22-centimeter (12- by 9-inch) rectangle. Spread chard filling evenly into shell, then top with second rectangle of dough. Using a rolling pin, roll over edges of pan to seal tart and trim edges, discarding scraps. Cut 3 steam vents in top crust with a paring knife, then put tart in pan on a baking sheet. Bake until top is golden, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then remove side of pan. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Dust with confectioners sugar.


Ice Cream – Middle Eastern Style

L to R: Roasted Apricot-Almond Ice Cream and Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream

It is quite hot here now and I thought it was time to pull the ice cream maker out again. I took a look at my long list of ice cream recipes and really didn’t see anything that tickled my fancy, so I started thinking about what ingredients are available right now and one of them was fresh apricots. As most of you know by now, I love to experiment with different ingredients and I didn’t want to make some ordinary apricot ice cream, so I thought about what spices would go well with apricots…. ras al hanout. I got the idea for this ice cream from a recipe from a fellow blogger, Mike’s Table. He is hosting a blog event called “You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts“. I can’t wait to see the other entries.

The other ingredient I have wanted to experiment with for quite a while is raw tehina (sesame paste). I didn’t want to use sugar to sweeten the tehina because it just didn’t sound right to me, so I decided the perfect sweetener in keeping with its Middle Eastern roots would be date honey, also known as silan in Hebrew.

The apricot ice cream came out nice and creamy with a strong fruity taste, although perhaps not quite as acid as I would have liked. Next time, I will try adding some dried sour apricots as well.

The tehina ice cream is creamy and has a smoky sesame flavor that is reminiscent of halva. It is not too sweet and the pistachios add a nice crunch. Next time, I will add some chopped dates to the mixture.

They are both delicious ice creams and will be added to the top of my ice cream recipes.


Roasted Apricot-Almond Ice Cream

Yield: About 1 liter (quart)

12 ripe apricots

2 teaspoons ras al hanout

1 tablespoon sugar plus some for sprinkling

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup double cream

Small squeeze lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup whole almonds with the skins

Roasted Apricots

Preheat oven to 220C (425F). Cut the apricots in half, remove the seed, and place the halved apricots, cut side up in a baking dish. Sprinkle them with sugar and the ras al hanout. Roast them in the oven until they are caramelised (as shown in the picture above). Let them cool for 20 minutes. Puree the apricots, honey and any juices from the baking dish in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a bowl and mix with 1/2 cup of the cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well and set up in an ice bath with a strainer on top.

Ice Cream Base

Meanwhile scald the remaining 1/2 cream and 1/2 cup of whole milk, talking care not to boil it. In the bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of sugar until creamy. Temper the eggs with a scoop of the hot cream and slowly add the rest. Place the egg-cream mixture in a clean saucepan and cook at medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon.

Pour the cooked custard through the strainer, discarding the solids, into the cooled apricot mixture and whisk all together. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and put in the refrigerator for about six hours.

While the custard cools, toast the almonds on a cookie sheet in a 200C (400F) oven for about 5-10 minutes, shaking them halfway through to prevent burning. Once they have cooled, cut the almonds in half.

When the custard is cold, place it in a ice cream maker, and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Add the almonds during the last minute or two of churning. Transfer to the freezer and eat when ready.


Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream

1 cup raw tehina (raw sesame paste)

2 cups full fat milk

1 cup double cream

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup date honey (silan)

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped

Scald the milk in a saucepan, taking care not to boil. Remove from the heat and add the tehina, mix well, cover, and let steep for about an hour. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and date honey.

Rewarm the milk mixture and strain into the yolk mixture, constantly stirring, using a spatuala to extract as much of the milk-tehina mixture as possible. Discard the solids.

Tehina Ice Cream Base

Place the egg-tehina mixture in a clean saucepan and cook at medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Strain the mixture once again, and cool over ice-cold water. Chill in the refrigerator, add the double cream and churn it in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.


Shavuot 2008 – Updated

Being away for most of May didn’t give me a lot of time to decide what to make for Shavuot this year. I decided to keep it simple and not over do it. My menu was:

Salad of baby mixed greens with nectarines

Trout stuffed with dried apricots and pistachios

Mashed potatoes with basil

Steamed broccoli

All of the dishes were delicious. I have to admit the trout dish really caught my eye because of the unusual stuffing. I would have never have thought that apricot and pistachios should be stuffed inside of any fish, but it really married well with the trout. The sour apricots and the crunch of the pistachios lent such a nice flavour to the mild flavour of the trout. I will definitely make this again.

Trout Stuffed with Dried Apricots and Pistachios

Serving Size: 2

25g/1oz white breadcrumbs

55g/2oz dried sour (California) apricots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons parsley or coriander, finely chopped

40g/1-1/2 oz pistachio nuts, finely chopped

55g/2oz melted butter

Salt and pepper

2 fresh whole trout, gutted and rinsed

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

Apricot-Pistachio Stuffing

Place the breadcrumbs, apricots, parsley, pistachios, half the butter, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well.

Stuffed Trout

Place each of the trout on a large sheet of buttered foil on a baking tray. Spoon half the mixture into each of cavities. Brush the trout with the rest of the melted butter and enclose the foil around each of the fish to form two parcels. Place the tray into the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the foil and serve.



I know you are going to say that every French baker is going to sentence me to death for making brioche with whole wheat flour, but I have to tell you that the bread was delicious. Okay, it wasn’t as delicate as regular brioche, but it is was still very tasty.

Whole Wheat Brioche with Dried Fruit

Yield: 2 loaves

1/2 cup hand-hot water

1 tablespoon dried yeast or 25g fresh yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

6 large eggs, room temperature

4-1/2 cups whole wheat flour or white flour (for traditional brioche)

2 teaspoons salt

226g (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 cup of mixed dried fruit (such as cranberries, raisins, apricots)

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Let stand for five minutes to let the yeast and sugar dissolve.

Add the eggs and beat at medium speed for one minute, until well mixed. At low speed, add two cups of flour and the salt. Mix for five minutes. Add an additional two cups of flour and mix for five minutes. Still on low speed, add the softened butter in chunks and mix for two minutes, scraping down the beater and sides of the bowl, until well blended. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.

Use the dough hook or knead the dough by hand for two minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to sit a room temperature for one hour. Grease two loaf pans. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and cut in half. Pat each portion into a rectangle, then roll up each rectangle into a cylindrical loaf. Place each loaf, seam-side down, into a greased pan. Cover the pans with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). When the dough has risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top springs back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the loaves onto a wire rack to cool.


Torta di Chioccolata al Forno con Vaniglia e Nocciola (Perugian-style chocolate hazelnut cheesecake)

This cheesecake is to die for! I used Israeli 5% white cheese instead of cream cheese and it was just as creamy, but with a lot less calories. I am not a big chocolate eater, but this was made with 60% bittersweet chocolate and it was just sweet enough. I really liked that this recipe did not call for a lot of sugar and the hazelnuts really make the cake. I felt like I was eating a Perugina Baci. Smacking delicious it was.

Chag Sameach everyone!

Spring Flowers and Red Fruit

The flowers we planted at the new house are doing well as are our herbs. The round pot in the background of the picture above contains rosemary and lavender, which remind me of our trip to Provence.

We also planted za’atar. I can’t wait to put some on roasted chicken and in my homemade bread.

Does anyone know what these are called? I know the purple one is a petunia, but I am not sure about the others. I fell in love with them at the nursery. They picture does not show the amazing colors. They are a vibrant orange, vibrant red and vibrant fuchsia.

I just happened to have some sour cherries that were begging to be put into something, so I decided to make a creamy sour cherry clafoutis. This recipe is from one of my favourite food writers, Paula Wolfert, who is an expert on Southwestern French cuisine and Moroccan cuisine. My husband and I were lucky enough to be recipe testers for her new edition of The Cooking of Southwest France. The clafoutis recipe is very easy to make and you can substitute any summer fruit you like. It is also good with apricots or plums.

Limousin Cherry Clafoutis

Serving Size: 8

300g (1 pound) sour cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted (optional) and patted dry with paper towels

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup flour, plus more for dusting

Pinch of salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup half and half

50g (4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened), plus more for the dish

2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a bowl, toss the cherries with all of the sugar except for 1 tablespoon. Spread the cherries out on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-1/2 hours. If you are using frozen cherries, remove them from the box and follow the instructions above.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk the 1/2 cup flour and salt. Whisk in the eggs. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of the milk with 3 tablespoons of the butter until the butter melts. Whisk the warm milk into the flour mixture just until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk and the cream. Add the Cognac and vanilla, cover and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Prebaked Clafoutis

Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Butter a 22 cm (9 1/2-inch) deep-dish pie plate or a well-seasoned iron skillet and dust with flour. Spread the cherries in a single layer in the pie plate, adding any sugar from the baking sheet to the cherries. Whisk the batter again and pour it over the cherries.

Bake the clafoutis just above the center of the oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is just set and golden. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar, cut into wedges, and serve.


Next Year in Jerusalem!

We had a small, but lovely seder last night. All of the new dishes I made were delicious.

We started the meal with my husband’s salmon in a tarragon sauce. The sauce was made with dijon mustard, fresh tarragon, white wine and garlic. I could have done a better job of decorating the plate with herbs or something. I will try to remember that for next year.

The next course was my matza ball soup which I have already blogged about. It was enjoyed by all.

The main course, Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Spiced Pinenuts was outstanding. I will definitely make this again. The sauce is a beautiful blend of apricots, saffron and ginger. It has the most amazing flavor and the crunch and spiciness of the pinenuts really compliments the dish. I recommend making this dish the day before you want to serve it to allow all of the flavours to infuse the chicken. We served this with a steamed artichoke and the rice below.

The disappointment of the night was the rice. It was a mixed rice, composed of persian white rice, thai red rice and wild rice. Unfortunately, the thai red rice colour bled onto the other rice and you could not tell there were three different types of rice. The wild rice was also not felt in the blend.

We concluded the meal with Nigella Lawsons’s Damp Apple and Almond Cake which should really be renamed. One of my friends said that the name is offputting and I would have to agree with her. However, in spite of the name the cake is delicious and very moist. It has just the right hint of apple and is not too sweet. It is dead easy to make and I will definitely make this again.

We also had my husband’s wild citrus sorbet which was made with wild grapefruits as well as a little lemon and orange that he picked from the trees lining the main road to our moshav. He also added a little simple syrup. You will never want to buy another supermarket grapefruit after you have had one fresh from the tree. The grapefruit flavour is so sweet and intense. The sorbet was cool and refreshing, and went well with the cake.

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