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Nov 4, 2013 06:41 AM

Jewish desserts

Doesn't have to be kosher but my husband's company is having an international day and i'd like to make some desserts for the event. Anything good that's easy to make?
Also, any food item you can think of that's very Jewish? I don't want to spend more than $50 on this dish and I have to make lots of it.

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  1. Rugelach are Polish/Jewish pastries that people like. They are a pain to make so I would buy them if you can. You could make or buy potato knishes, also a well-known "Jewish" food that is great for parties. If you live in a place with a large kosher market, you may find frozen knishes in your supermarket or make them using puff pastry dough. Again, lots of work. To me, international is about food from different countries rather than food that relates to different cultures (i.e. Jewish). If you want to be true to the International theme, you could do Israeli food like falafel balls, techina/hummus and pita bread. Great for parties.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cappucino

      Yeah, rugelach and jelly donuts are great but so hard to make! Actually, I think I am going to do coconut macaroons...but with sweetened condensed milk, martha stewart version.

      1. re: Monica

        Would honey cake qualify? I love rugelach!

        1. re: Monica

          macaroons aren't really "Jewish" persay they aare used on pesach because one upon a time they were one of the only koshe L'pesach dessert.

          1. re: yzd323

            'Jewish' or not, I made like 4 dozens and everything was gone by the end of the day.

            1. re: Monica

              Congrats! Sounds easy, tasty, happy.

        2. re: cappucino

          Funny, I just made rugelach for my kid's school's International Cafe (as did another mom) and I intend to make potato knishes next year. Despite listing our food as "Jewish," the 4 of us, to our dismay, were lumped together under "Israel." Being of solid Ashkenazi heritage, not one of us made food that we would have considered especially representative of Israel. The idea of the event was to celebrate the students' heritage, not citizenships, so we all felt comfortable making European-Jewish food and calling it "Jewish." Others apparently think differently.

          1. re: cappucino

            A friend of mine makes rugalach all the time I've seen her make them, and help her sometimes,and its not to hard. she just takes the dough roll it out in a circle , spread on a homemade cinnamon spread, cut it like a pizza pie,and roll each "slice" up.

          2. I can only think of hamentashen as authentically Jewish.

            I suppose any matzoh-based dessert would be too but that's just not a good idea outside of pesach. :-)

            11 Replies
            1. re: DeisCane

              I always tell my husband, for jelly donuts, that's one serious sounding name. Hamentashen..can't never remember the spelling either. Sounds like a big sacred law or rule.

              1. re: Monica

                Actually i confused myself with sufganiyah..which is the jelly donuts.
                My MIL used to make hamentashen which was good but as I am not a big fan of margarine, I always thought them as waste of calories...using butter would have yielded much much better result but.....

                1. re: Monica

                  Hamentashen may also be made with oil. The best homemade ones are not a "waste of calories," I can assure you.

              2. re: DeisCane

                Hamantaschen are pretty much the same as kolacky but in a different shape. The shape is perhaps derived from Jewish culture (although there are other pastries in that shape) but the cookie itself is not.

                1. re: ferret

                  The shape makes the cookie in many cases, but especially in the case of hamentashen. Heck, there are tons of cookies stuffed with jam/mashed fruit. But it's the only one that is triangular.

                  1. re: ferret

                    The shape is derived from the Story of Esther (Purim). That is the reason they are most often served on Purim. The shape represents the three cornered hat of the hated Hamen (overseer who wanted to kill all the Jews). Hence the name

                    1. re: williej

                      Except that in Hebrew they're called oznei Haman or Haman's ears...

                      1. re: rockycat

                        Yeah, but that's very recent. Not traditional at all.

                        1. re: zsero

                          Which is not traditional? Hamantaschen in Israel or calling them oznei Haman? And how old does something have to be to be called traditional? I was taught to call them oznei Haman nearly 50 years ago. Spanish Jews also have a Purim pastry that they call orejas de Haman (Haman's ears)while Italian Jews have orrechi di Haman (same translation). There seems to be a tradition of Purim treats that go by that name.

                          1. re: rockycat

                            The name "oznei Haman" is a modern invention. It's not a translation of "homentashen", which means pockets, not ears. And traditional means <i>old</i>, an authentic minhag, not something that someone invented in the 20th century.

                            1. re: zsero

                              And there are sources that claim hamantashen is just a play on mohntashen (pastry pockets filled with "mohn"- poppyseeds).

                              Bottom line is that it's certainly an adopted traditional Jewish pastry but if you close your eyes, you'll find it in many cultures in different shapes.

                2. Matzo brittle. Chow has a recipe if you search.

                  1. dates stuffed with almonds - a taste of the holy land

                    or an old-fashioned, east european poppy seed cake (the kind where you roll out the dough, spread a thick layer of mohn and serve sliced

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AdinaA

                      i can't think of anything really specifucally 'Jewish', but there are classics...typical desserts you might find at a Jewish bakery or at a holday table- apple cake, strudel, marble cake, honey cake, rugelach, babka or kokosh (latter two are yeast cakes) and, in some cases, a sweet noodle kugel is eaten as dessert. Blintzes come to mind but are labor intensive.

                      If the potluck is soon, maybe do a batch f chanukah shaped cookes?

                    2. Mandlebread! Not too hard and, to be their best you have ti make them ahead. Which leaves you calm and relaxed on the day of the event : )

                      You could also do a sweet noodle kugel.

                      21 Replies
                      1. re: happybaker

                        I like mandlebread...but I HATE sweet noodle kugel...i don't know's just a weird combination to me. Mandlebread is a nice idea.

                        1. re: Monica

                          Ah noodle kugels - a divisive dish if ever there was one!

                          I like mine in that it is not too sweet, tastes kind of like a not sweet cheesecake (with noodles!). I know many folks have fruit and nut toppings on theirs which is fun, but I like mine plain.

                          Anyway, the make ahead element of mandlebread may be the winning factor : )

                          1. re: happybaker

                            My mil used to make sweet kugel..the classic kind with raisins...and cinnamon...overly sweet..yikes..I tried my best to finish what was given to me on my plate but never after.
                            I loved her mandle bread...with nuts and dried fruits.

                            1. re: Monica

                              Oooh, mandelbroit! Yes, good idea!

                              Not a big fan of sweet noodle kugel, either. I've had one, that I loved, years ago, but itvwas in a hotel that closed and I 've never found another that I enjoyed.

                              But back to topic...mandelbroit is a great idea.

                              1. re: Miri1

                                Really, to me, mandelbroit is Jewish biscotti.

                                1. re: cappucino

                                  To me as well. Everything old is new again. While we can lay claim to certain dishes and foods, the vast majority are regional items that "made the rounds" through Jewish migration. We have a family friend who has a legendary mendelbread recipe but our non-Jewish friends always refer to it as bsicotti.

                                  1. re: ferret

                                    You know the primary difference between mandelbrodt and biscotti? It's whether you call your grandmother "Bubbie" or "Nonna."

                                    1. re: rockycat

                                      Not to be a killjoy here, but another difference is that biscotti are baked twice, and are generally much drier and crispier than mandelbrot. The mandel I've always had have a bit of moistness to them, while biscotti are totally crisp and very crumb-y when broken.

                                      1. re: queenscook

                                        All depends on what you're used to. Our mandelbrot are of the baked twice variety. Follows along with the "two Jews, three shuls" paradigm, which should probably be "two Jews, three shuls, four different ways of making:

                                        matzo balls, mandelbrot, cholent..."

                                        We have easily three or four cholent recipes alone that make claims of being traditional family recipes (Grandma #1's way, grandma #2's ... you get the idea).

                                        1. re: ferret

                                          My mandlebread are baked twice (actually three times - the loaves, then cut and baked once on each side) and they are still gentler then biscotti.

                                  2. re: cappucino

                                    On my very first Jewish holiday as a married woman, my MIL said she was going to serve Mandle bread. Not knowing what it is, i didn't know what to expect and when she served her homemade mandle bread,I blurred out, oh wow, biscotti! I love biscotti! She said, no, these are mandle bread.
                                    She did make pretty good mandle bread, challah bread, beef brisket and stuffed peppers until she moved to a smaller condo and lost her interest in cooking.

                                    1. re: Monica

                                      Mandlebread are more of a teething biscuit, softer, wetter dough, but if you make a biscotti like Stella D'oro does, they are similar. I've never come across a Mandlebread with the crunchy doorstopper consistency of a biscotti, but the best biscotti have a certain flakiness that I'd think would be missing.

                          2. re: happybaker

                            We love a savory salt and pepper noodle kugel. Lots of cholesterol and calories, but worth it every now and then.

                            1. re: happybaker

                              I adore mandelbread. What's your favorite nut for the dough?

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Um, doesn't it, by definition, have to be almonds? Without mandelach how can it be mandelbrot?

                                1. re: zsero

                                  Mostly I've seen walnuts used over almonds; occasionally hazelnuts. Almonds would be used for biscotti. This is why I asked. I've never been clear on which nut was the official one for mandelbrot.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    Mandelbrot is <i>by definition</i> almond bread. If it's made with walnuts or hazelnuts it's walnut or hazelnut bread, not almond bread. You could no more call it "mandelbrot" than you could call a cake made with no chocolate "chocolate cake".

                                    1. re: zsero

                                      Okay. I'm not Jewish and I don't know Yiddish but I did ask for clarification, so thank you zsero.

                                  2. re: zsero

                                    Um, not everyone knows Yiddish and that "mandel" means "almond." And there are many examples of things being called by a name of an ingredient which is no longer always included in the recipe. Do you avoid the term "parve ice cream" because the product doesn't actually include cream? When you make pound cake, do you use a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, and a pound of eggs? If not, I guess you'll need to find another name for it.

                                    Times, tastes, and recipes change.

                                    1. re: queenscook

                                      It's okay queens. I wasn't offended by the reply. I did ask for clarification. The mandel bread I had recently was filled with walnuts and a healthy dose of wheat germ and I loved it. What I don't have is THAT recipe. Really terrific.

                                      1. re: queenscook

                                        Pareve "ice cream" needs scare quotes, like pareve "meat balls" or "cheese". I believe it's actually illegal to market something as "ice cream" if it's parev, because people might not understand.

                                        HillJ, "mandelbrot" is actually German. "Mandel" is both German and Yiddish, but bread in Yiddish is "broit", or "breit"; "brot" is German.