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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 why...it'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.

                                2. rugelach or babka or kokosh cake are all very "jewish-y". what about embracing the coming holiday - chanukah - and doing donuts?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ahuva

                                    How 'bout a big bowl of charoses? ;)

                                    That's what my sister liked to eat for seder dessert. The extra charoses from the seder. So my above suggestion s not entirely facetios...

                                    1. re: Miri1

                                      Yes but charoses never tastes the same outside of Pesach - My mom tried making charoses after Pesach an it just was not the same -

                                  2. Why not just make challah? You can do a sweet one, with a crumb topping or put chocolate chips in. Or make it a more traditional raisin challah. And you can serve it with honey.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: laurenblok

                                      Or pumpkin spice challah. Om nom nom.

                                      1. re: laurenblok

                                        I LOVE challah bread but sounds like a lot of trouble. Will wait until my kids are old enough and I have all the time in the world.

                                        1. re: Monica

                                          Most of the time spent on challah is waiting for it to rise. I was a bit scared to make it at first but it's pretty straight forward. These days, I rarely make it myself simply because I barely have the time to make meals and I can easily buy tasty challah (and desserts).

                                      2. Jewish Apple Cake. Not too hard to make and definitely a crowd pleaser.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: barryg

                                          Jewish apple cake...didnt' know there was such a thing. how is it different than regular apple cake? Any good recipe please?

                                          1. re: Monica

                                            It is a Chiffon cake that uses vegetable oil and not butter. Popular around Philadelphia.


                                            1. re: chazzer

                                              There's no "it" to Jewish Apple Cake. There are as many versions as there are cooks, but you're absolutely right that the distinguishing trait is oil instead of butter.

                                              1. re: Indy 67

                                                and orange juice too maybe? or is that a common ingredient in apple cake.

                                                1. re: Indy 67

                                                  Actually, nearly every recipe for Jewish Apple Cake is more or less the same. One may use 3 eggs instead of 4 or a tsp. more or less vanilla, but otherwise they really all are quite similar. I think I've seen one that calls for walnuts and one that calls for applesauce but those seem to be unusual additions.

                                                  And yes, @monica, orange juice is standard in this cake.

                                                  1. re: rockycat

                                                    Well, it's the "more or less the same" part of your comment that bears looking at. Baking is a much more precise process compared to cooking, so small differences especially in things like the number of eggs will produce big differences in the result. A difference in sweetener will also produce big differences. A recipe that uses honey instead of sugar for part or all of its sweetener is going to have a radically different texture in the finished product.

                                                    Posters who are more expert bakers than I am can probably amplify on my comments.

                                                    Just for fun, here are two radically different apple cake recipes:

                                                    Claudia Roden's Apple Cake (paraphrased)

                                                    6 apples, tart or sweet
                                                    juice of 1 1/2 lemons
                                                    4 eggs, separated
                                                    3/4 cup sugar
                                                    1 cup flour
                                                    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
                                                    1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon to sprinkle on top

                                                    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- or 10-inch spring form pan; set aside.

                                                    Peel, core and slice the apples, and drop them in a bowl of water to which you've added about a third of the lemon juice (this prevents them from going brown. Drain.

                                                    Set aside 1 tablespoon sugar and beat the remainder of the sugar with the egg yolks. Add the remaining lemon juice; then add the flour, gradually, beating vigorously.

                                                    In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites stiff and fold them in.

                                                    Pour half the cake mixture into the prepared pan. Spread half the apple slices in a layer on top and pour the rest of the cake mixture over them. Arrange the rest of the apple slices in circles on top. Brush with the oil; sprinkle with the cinnamon and the reserved tablespoon of sugar.

                                                    Bake for 1 hour. If you like, put the cake under the broiler for a minute at the end to caramelize the top.

                                                    Serves 8.

                                                    Apple Cake With Honey Sauce (paraphrased)

                                                    12 servings

                                                    For the cake:
                                                    4 to 5 firm apples, peeled and cut into 1/4 -inch slices
                                                    2 teaspoons cinnamon
                                                    2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
                                                    3 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pan
                                                    1 tablespoon baking powder
                                                    1 cup canola oil
                                                    4 large eggs
                                                    1/3 cup orange juice
                                                    1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

                                                    For the honey sauce:
                                                    1 cup honey
                                                    1 cup apple juice or cider

                                                    For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

                                                    In a medium bowl, combine the cinnamon and 1/4 cup of the sugar, then add the apples and toss to combine. Set aside.

                                                    Combine the remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, oil, eggs, orange juice, salt and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed just until the batter is smooth. Pour an inch of the batter into the prepared pan and top it with a layer of apple slices, taking care not to let the apples touch the side of the pan.

                                                    Continue adding alternating layers of apple slices and batter, ending with the batter. (If should try to achieve 4 layers of batter and 3 of apples.)

                                                    Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes on a wire rack, then turn the cake out onto the rack to cool thoroughly.

                                                    For the honey sauce: Combine the honey and apple juice or cider in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue boiling, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes until the mixture thickens.

                                                    For a thicker sauce, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, a few minutes more, until it reaches the desired consistency.

                                                    Serve the cake with the warm honey sauce on the side or with whipped cream.

                                                    1. re: Indy 67

                                                      Thats nice you were able to find two different apple cake recipes, however I would not consider Roden's recipe a "Jewish Apple Cake" yes she is Jewish and yes it is an Apple Cake. Roden has a Sephardic background and the "Jewish Apple Cake" is a more of a Ashkenazi item.

                                                      Also, I did make a mistake calling it a Chiffon cake, I should have said like a Chiffon cake it used oil. Chiffon cakes are a mixed batter foam cake which these are not. I am sure you can find an experienced Baker to explain it to you.

                                                      1. re: chazzer

                                                        By your logic, pages 40 -- 202 of Roden's cookbook THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD: AN ODYSSEY FROM SAMARKAND TO NEW YORK also should be ignored since that's the section that deals with Ashkenazi cuisine.

                                                        What portion of Baltimore-born Gil Marks' book THE WORLD OF JEWISH COOKING: MORE THAN 500 RECIPES FROM ALSACE to YEMEN should we ignore? By your logic, his own personal background can't qualify him to supply recipes from Jewish backgrounds as diverse as Ethiopia, India, Italy, Germany, Morocco, the Ukraine and more.

                                                        Even though we're on the Kosher board, we would run into the same problem for other cookbooks. For example, we'd have to ignore American Rick Bayless' or British Diana Kennedy's cookbooks about Mexican cuisine. We'd also need to toss aside all of Julia Child's cookbooks about French cooking.

                                                        Bottom line: I think there's little chance of our coming to consensus. I've made my point and I'm not going to continue to post about the legitimacy of Claudia Roden's Jewish Apple Cake recipe.

                                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                                          It's an odd reason not to include it, I agree. Sephardim can write about Ashkenazi things and vice versa. But I still don't get how an apple cake (even if it's parve instead of dairy) is distinctly Jewish.

                                                          1. re: DeisCane

                                                            DeisCane, here's a useful quote from Gil Marks' introduction to the cookbook I mention elsewhere:

                                                            "The central feature of Jewish cooking in the Diaspora is adaptation. The history, economics, geography, and climate or each area in which the Jews settled determined what produce as available and what resources were at their disposal. Local fare was incorporated into the Jewish culinary repertoire, while many traditional recipes were modified or forgotten. In every location in which they settled, Jews adopted and modified local dishes...

                                                            After two thousand years of evolution in almost every country and culture Jewish cuisine is the cuisine of the world. But if Jewish is universal, what makes a dish peculiarly Jewish? Following Jewish law meant Jews could not simply adopt all the dishes of their new homeland... Jews found substitutes... In addition, the Jewish lifestyle produced uniquely Jewish dishes that, although based on local foods, often manifested similarities to Jewish dishes from other locales. For example, all Jewish communities incorporate foods mentioned in the [Hebrew] Bible -- such as almond, APPLES, dates, raisins, and honey -- as symbolic ingredients in assorted festival dishes..."

                                                          2. re: Indy 67

                                                            You appear to be willfully misunderstanding the point. Out of Claudia Roden's 19 or so books, only the one you reference includes Ashkenazi cooking, even in part. At least 12 or 13 are entirely about the Middle East or Mediterranean. Clearly that is her area of interest/expertise.

                                                            If Rick Bayless or Diana Kennedy were to suddenly include 2 chapters on Japanese cooking in one of their books, I would not take it to be nearly as authoritative as I would their writing about Mexican cooking.

                                                            As noted upthread, Jewish Apple Cake as such is a specialty of the Philadelphia area. If you walk into a bakery in Philly, kosher or not, and ask for a Jewish Apple Cake you will get something pretty similar to the ones noted above. There isn't really anything especially Jewish about it and it isn't just any old apple cake made by a Jew. I've never seen this cake called by this name in other part of the country where I've lived - NY, New England, mid-west, or the South. It is what it is.

                                                2. re: Monica

                                                  It's probably based on a Polish recipe. Maybe. But the thinking is that since the cake is oil based, it's parve and became popular in Jewish homes since it could be served after a meat meal, hence Jewish Apple Cake. Either way, it's seasonal, not that difficult to make, and pretty tasty.

                                              2. The problem with asking about a Jewish recipe is that the cuisine of the Jews of France (or French heritage) is different from...
                                                ... the Jews of Morocco
                                                ... the Jews of Italy
                                                ... the Jews of the Caribbean
                                                ... the Jews of the US South
                                                ... the Jews of Libya
                                                ... the Jews of Poland
                                                ... you get the picture.

                                                That said, here are some suggestions for interesting and inexpensive food you can make that is guaranteed Jewish:
                                                o your best apple cake recipe (especially if it includes honey)
                                                o your best pumpkin cake recipe
                                                o Marion Burros' plum torte recipe

                                                If you want to consider alternatives to dessert, here are some suggestions that are different from the ones already listed:
                                                o Moroccan carrot salad
                                                o Moroccan orange, olive, and onion salad

                                                Farther down the thread, there is a discussion about what constitutes a Jewish Apple cake. In general, if the recipe includes no butter, you can be confident you're looking at a Jewish recipe.

                                                One recipe is supplied but your problem will be one of too many options rather than too few. The archives of the rec.cuisine.jewish newsgroup includes at least 10 apple cake recipes. Claudia Roden, Joan Nathan, Faye Levy and Joyce Goldstein are all well respected cookbook authors of Jewish cuisine and each includes an apple cake recipe. In fact, every Jewish cookbook I own includes its own apple cake recipe.

                                                Joan Nathan's version is arguably the most famous of the Jewish apple cake recipes. Here is a paraphrased version:

                                                Joan Nathan’s Jewish Apple Cake

                                                3 cups unsifted flour, plus more for dusting the pan
                                                5 medium apples suitable for baking
                                                2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
                                                2 cups sugar, divided
                                                4 large eggs
                                                1 cup vegetable oil
                                                ½ cup orange juice
                                                1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                3 teaspoons baking powder
                                                ½ teaspoon salt

                                                Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil spray a tall tube pan, then dust lightly with flour.

                                                Core the apples and cut each one into 8 wedges. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of the sugar, tossing to coat evenly.

                                                In a bowl, beat the eggs on low speed, until well blended. Gradually add the remaining sugar. Next, add the oil, orange juice and vanilla extract.

                                                Separately, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt on a piece of waxed or parchment paper. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, blending at a low speed, to form a smooth batter.

                                                Pour one-third of the batter into the pan. Create a second layer using one-third of the apples. Repeat to create a total of 6 layers, ending with apples on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or as needed; the top should be golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out with a few moist crumbs.

                                                Let the cake sit for at least 20 minutes before unmolding.

                                                MAKE AHEAD: The cake can be made a day or two in advance. It freezes well.

                                                16 servings

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Indy 67

                                                  Sounds good. i will try this recipe. thank you.

                                                2. Lekach (honey cake) is pretty Jewish. I think. Here's my bobbe's recipe:

                                                  3/4 cup sugar
                                                  3 eggs
                                                  1 lb honey
                                                  1/2-3/4 cup oil (canola or sunflower)
                                                  1.5 cups tea
                                                  2 tsp baking soda
                                                  4 cups flour
                                                  1 pinch ground cloves

                                                  preheat oven to 350F

                                                  mix sugar and eggs on high
                                                  go to low and drizzle the honey in a bit at a time
                                                  then add the oil
                                                  once oil is in go to medium for a bit, then back to low
                                                  add tea and baking soda
                                                  then add flour 1 cup at a time
                                                  when each cup is mixed in add the next cup
                                                  when all flour is mixed in, go to medium for
                                                  a few minutes, then add cloves.

                                                  bake 1 hr or until done

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: zsero

                                                    How about a sacher torte? It was invented by a Jew, is easily made parve and pesadich, and is freakin' awesome.

                                                    1. re: DeisCane

                                                      Really? Sacher was Jewish? Love that cake.

                                                        1. re: DeisCane

                                                          How do you make it for Pesach? The recipes I'm seeing all call for flour.

                                                          1. re: GilaB

                                                            There's an alternative non-pesach version that uses walnut flour with just a dusting of wheat flour. We make it that way all year round. For pesach we just remove the dusting or replace it with matzoh meal. I think you can find a version on Nigella's site.

                                                              1. re: DeisCane

                                                                omg i forgot abt this recipe, i did it once, OUTRAGEOUS

                                                                1. re: shoelace


                                                                  We probably bake 10 annually. Last Pesach, we made 5-6 and froze 3 and ate them throughout the next three months. :-)

                                                                  1. re: DeisCane

                                                                    damn you, now i have to make one next week!

                                                                    nigella had an apple pesach cake that i did this past year as well


                                                                    1. re: shoelace

                                                                      My MIL is coming next week, so I have a feeling there will be one coming soon for me, too. :-)

                                                                      1. re: DeisCane

                                                                        try the apple one, delicious

                                                                        this past pesach, during the post passover supply sales at the regular supermarkets i stocked up on almond flour

                                                            1. re: AdinaA



                                                              and Dec. 5 is Sacher Torte Day. Think I'll celebrate by eating some Sacher torte in Gan Sacher :).

                                                          2. re: zsero

                                                            1 LB of honey and 3/4 cup of sugar??? that seems like a lot...

                                                          3. I don't know why anyone hasn't suggested baklava. I just love a good, gooey, sticky, fresh baklava. Sefardi Jewish dessert, though. Many Americans haven't tasted this ethnic treat, but will love it once they do.

                                                            23 Replies
                                                            1. re: KA2CSH

                                                              I love good baklava though there are really hard to find even in NY. They can be a pain to make....

                                                              1. re: Monica

                                                                Too much work to make, but it's easy to find Baklava in NY, and you can buy it by the tray (some places along Atlantic Avenue, and of course Kalustyan's come to mind).

                                                                Looking outside the Ashkenazic traditions will lead you towards a wealth of interesting cookies, and the like, but they are difficult to find, and it's hard to duplicate a taste many Jews have never experienced. Hamantaschen, Rugelach, or even Honey Cake strike me as the easiest and most crowd pleasing options for the situation.

                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                  Baklava is easy to find in NY, yes but not so easy to find good ones. Usually they taste stale..

                                                                  I love hamantaschen, rugelach but not honey cake.

                                                              2. re: KA2CSH

                                                                Baklava is nearly everywhere in Chicago. If you can find a falafel (and it seems like they're on every block) then baklava is usually there also (there are many, many Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian spots in the city as well as places that are kust designated as "Mediterranean"). So while it's a dessert enjoyed by Sephardic Jews, I wouldn't consider it to be a Jewish dessert.

                                                                1. re: ferret

                                                                  "So while it's a dessert enjoyed by Sephardic Jews, I wouldn't consider it to be a Jewish dessert."

                                                                  That sounds prejudicial against our Sephardic brothers. If it's found commonly by them, it most certainly is a Jewish dessert!

                                                                  1. re: KA2CSH

                                                                    What's Jewish about it? The vast majority of people who traditionally make it and eat it are not Jewish, and that has always been the case. There's no special Jewish version. If baklava is Jewish, then so are scrambled eggs!

                                                                    1. re: zsero

                                                                      Is there lox and onions in those scrambled eggs? Salami? Matzah?

                                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                                        No, just scrambled eggs. Jews eat them. But that doesn't make them Jewish. Nor does the addition of lox or salami, since neither are Jewish foods, by any definition. But scrambled eggs with matzah would surely be Jewish, since I doubt too many other people would do that.

                                                                        1. re: zsero

                                                                          Is a bagel with lox and cream cheese Jewish? Lots of people eat it, but I think it's generally considered Jewish.

                                                                          1. re: avitrek

                                                                            I would differ with zsero about the addition of lox/onions or salami to scrambled eggs. They were basic Jewish deli fare. As was whitefish salad, herring salad, lox and bagels. They entered the mainstream through Jewish channels.

                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                              Really? You think people didn't put lox, onions, or salami in scrambled eggs until Jewish delis came up with the idea?!

                                                                              1. re: zsero

                                                                                Did anyone assemble the ingredients? Sure. But you were unlikely to find it as a regular menu item other than at a Jewish deli.

                                                                                This thread was premised on desserts that have a strong Jewish identity. There's a clear distinction between foods that were widespread and then co-opted by the Jewish community and foods that became mainstream as a result of Jewish communities.

                                                                                1. re: ferret

                                                                                  OK, if you say so. I would have thought it was standard diner fare long before the Jewish delis started, but maybe it wasn't.

                                                                            2. re: avitrek

                                                                              Interesting question. Lox is no more Jewish than Chinese food. Jews encountered both in New York, enthusiastically adopted them, and spread them to Jews elsewhere. But other people, who had them first, still constitute the majority of those who eat them. And cream cheese is certainly not specifically Jewish. Even bagels weren't specifically Jewish in Europe.

                                                                              However, I venture to suggest that it was New York Jews who first thought of putting the lox on a bagel with cream cheese. So I would consider that sandwich to be Jewish, at least in the same sense that I consider fish and chips to be Jewish. Jews invented it and introduced it to the world, which has since forgotten that.

                                                                              This obvious can't be applied to baklava, since as far as I know Jews didn't invent it.

                                                                              1. re: zsero

                                                                                Chinese food and lox/bagels are two hugely distinct concepts. Aside from the obvious, Chinese food largely spread across the country on its own (and existed on both coasts well before the Jewish migration to the US), but lox with bagels and cream cheese entered communities outside New York only through Jewish delis.

                                                                                1. re: ferret

                                                                                  That combination, yes. Lox in general, no.

                                                                                  1. re: zsero

                                                                                    Lox (i.e., smoked salmon) was pretty common in Eastern Europe well before Jews came to NYC. I don't think it's a Jewish food but I disagree with the assessment that "Jews encountered [lox] in New York, enthusiastically adopted [it], and spread [it] to Jews elsewhere." Calling it lox may have been a NYC thing because it was the yiddish word for salmon but to imply that Jews didn't eat it before NYC is kind of silly. I am fairly sure I've read tales of smoked fish being a common food in the heavily Jewish medieval town of Worms.

                                                                                    1. re: DeisCane

                                                                                      Again, it's not so much a matter of smoked fish (and lox is a far cry from your great-grandmother's smoked fish - also salmon is not indigenous to Eastern Europe), it's the idea of lox and cream cheese on a bagel as a breakfast food. It was handy, it was Kosher-compliant and at one time it was cheap. When you look at what's considered normal breakfast fare, eggs, pork-based meat (bacon, sausage) it wasn't really an option. Smoked fish was familiar, putting it on a bagel made it portable.

                                                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                                                        Exactly. And that sandwich is, in my opinion, Jewish food, although the individual ingredients are not.

                                                                                      2. re: DeisCane

                                                                                        In Europe Jews did not eat salmon, they ate herring. Salmon was expensive. In NY salmon was cheap.

                                                                                        1. re: zsero

                                                                                          Salmon wasn't expensive, it just wasn't. My mother was born in Hungary and was familiar with a few lake fish. She didn't know from salmon until she was an adult in the city. Life in prewar Eastern Europe was confined to your little patch of the world. My mother saw oranges and chocolate on the rare occasion when her father went to the city and even then, only when the oranges were in season and available.

                                                                                        2. re: DeisCane

                                                                                          Lox is not smoked, it is cured.

                                                                                          1. re: barryg

                                                                                            Indeed. Save the lox -- nova difference!

                                                                    2. I know it has been suggested but I was going to say mandelbread, I have an easy and delicious recipe if you want it.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: valerie

                                                                        I vote for cheesecake! Reminds me of Shavuos...i know, not ecessarily Hewish, but really, what dessert IS completely JEWISH?

                                                                        We're such a mixed bunch. I'm Hungarian, one of my best friends is Moroccan. I make honey cake and kokosh, babka and hamantashen. She makes sesame cookies and date roll cookies for the same holidays that I bake my aforementioned desserts.

                                                                        Go into any Jewish or kosher bakery and you'll find acwide array of desserts from all over the world that have made their way into the canon of Jewish baking. Take rainbw cookes, for example. They are hugely popular in kosher bakeries, and a mainstay for Passover. I didn't even know they were of Italian origin until I found the recipe in a cookie book one day.

                                                                        Black and white cookies, too, are ubiquitous in a Jewish bakery. But they aren't inherently Jewish.

                                                                        Nor is sponge cake even though its typically served on Sgabat at kiddush.

                                                                        So, yes, maybe Hamantashen/ oznei Haman are more Jewish than some other desserts, and challah certainly is, but otherwise, imho, a Jewsh dessert us more 'tradition' than 'religion', and as long as its kosher, in my book, that makes it Jewish.

                                                                        Btw, stop with lox and eggs and onions posts, please! Its making me hungry! :