In the Kitchen Jewish Food

L’Shanah Tovah U’Metukah!

Two Rosh Hashanah dessert recipes for a sweet and happy year!

Persian Upside-Down Cake with Dates and Cardamom

By Tannaz Sassooni

This recipe appeared originally on The Nosher.

As an Iranian Jew, Rosh Hashanah was an elaborate affair. Dining tables, coffee tables and folding tables would be lined up to make one long dinner table covered with tablecloths to accommodate 20 or so family members. The table would be spread with platter after platter: mountains of saffron-laced basmati rice, crispy tahdig and flavorful stews — maybe a deep green stew of celery and lots of herbs, or a tomato-based eggplant stew, tangy with unripe grapes.

Before dinner, we’d conduct a full Sephardic Rosh Hashanah seder. Yes, there were apples and honey. But we’d also have dates, beets, pomegranate seeds, slow-cooked black-eyed peas and beef tongue, Persian leeks and fried zucchini, each with a symbolic meaning and a blessing for the coming year.

This date upside-down cake takes the dates from my family’s Rosh Hashanah seder and pairs them with the two fragrant ingredients found in so many Persian sweets: cardamom and rosewater. It’s a moist and aromatic dessert that pairs perfectly with a glass of amber-colored Persian tea. 

Serves 8.

For the date topping:
27 Medjool dates
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of ground cardamom

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened, plus more to grease pan
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons rosewater
1/2 cup buttermilk

In a medium bowl, cover dates with hot water and soak for at least 20 minutes. Remove skin from dates, halve lengthwise and remove pits. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour the sides of a 9-inch round nonstick cake pan.

For the date topping, cream together butter, brown sugar, salt and cardamom until well-combined. Spread butter mixture evenly across the bottom of prepared pan. Arrange date halves over butter mixture in a pattern of concentric circles with their cut sides facing up.

To make the cake batter, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom together in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until creamy and pale in color. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating one fully before adding the next. Beat in rosewater to fully incorporate. With mixer on low speed, add one third of flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (do not over-beat). Follow with half of buttermilk, then the second third of flour, the other half of buttermilk, then the remaining flour, mixing completely between each addition.

Spoon batter over arranged dates, spreading evenly and taking care not to jostle dates. Bake cake in middle rack of oven 30-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a rack for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cake, then invert onto serving plate, replacing any dates that stick to pan.

Garnish with edible flowers, ground pistachios or dried rose petals. Serve warm or at room temperature. 


Meringue-topped apple pie bars: An innovative Rosh Hashanah dessert

By Dikla Frances

This recipe originally appeared on The Nosher. It has been reprinted from “One Sarcastic Baker.”

Looking for an innovative way to incorporate apples into your Rosh Hashanah menu? Look no further. With layers of buttery pastry, cinnamon-scented apples and fluffy meringue, they’re sweet, toasty and sure to be a hit.

Serves 6-8

For the shortcrust dough:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the apple filling:
3 large apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/4 cup water

For the meringue and toppings:
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup sliced toasted almonds


For the shortcrust dough:
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter, salt, corn syrup and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. On low speed, add the beaten egg. Mix until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, then flour 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until you have a soft, smooth dough. Do not over-mix! Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 10-15 minutes before baking.

For the apple filling:
Peel and slice apples into 1/8-inch cubes. Coat with lemon juice, then place into a pan over medium heat. Once apples start to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Strain apples into a bowl, leaving the liquid in the pan. Add sugar and cinnamon to the liquid and stir until the sugar dissolves. Mix potato starch with 1/4 cup water and add to the pan. Once thickened, re-add apples, remove from heat and blend. Allow to cool until room temperature.

For the meringue:
Place egg whites and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Gradually increase speed to high and beat until frothy. Reduce speed to low-medium and slowly sprinkle in sugar. Return speed to high and beat for 4-5 minutes until you have a shiny, strong meringue.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13-by-9 baking pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. Flatten shortcrust dough evenly inside baking pan. Using a fork, prick it thoroughly. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the sides of the pastry are starting to lightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Note: Make the meringue at this point. Evenly spread apple filling on top of baked dough and top it with meringue. Sprinkle with almonds.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meringue is evenly golden on top. Let cool completely before slicing. 

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