TEANECK, N.J. — Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday night and homes throughout Bergen County smell delicious.
Daily Voice caught up with some of our readers for the recipes that make their Jewish New Years oh-so-sweet.
This one is from Rivky Goldin, whose husband, Michoel, runs the Chabad House in Teaneck and is affiliated with Jewish programming at several Northern New Jersey universities.
"My great-grandmother — Bubbe Zelda — was a fantastic cook and baker. She married into the right family where her husband, Shabsy, and his brother, Shlomo, were bakers.
The Bercovitch family moved from Romania to Canada back in the early 1900s. The reason for their move was due to the army draft and they feared their boys would never be seen again. In 1918, the two brothers opened a Kosher bakery in Montreal.
The ovens churned out hundreds of challah, all sorts of varieties of bread, apple turnovers, cinnamon buns and other pastries. Shlomo’s son Morty, remembers heading straight to the bakery after school Thursday afternoon, and helping with the challah braiding.
After a long afternoon of working at the bakery, Shlomo would throw in liver and onions into the wood burning oven to be enjoyed on fresh rye bread as their dinner.
As a young child, Morty remembers my Bubbe Zelda making her famous strudel. She would make it for special occasions; be it a holiday or the new son in law spending Shabbos with the family.
She would roll out her dough and stretched it until it reached the ends of the dining room table.
For Rosh Hashanah she’d fill it with a mixture of apples, jam, cinnamon and raisins.
On Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to eat sweet foods such as round raisin challah dipped in honey , apples dipped in honey, sweet carrot dish called tzimmes, honey cake etc. We indulge in sweets foods to symbolize our hopes for a 'Sweet New Year.'
There was this unspoken competition between her and her sister in law Bessy when it came to baking. Whose cake was more perfect, whose challah more fluffy, whose strudel more decadent. Little did she know her family would benefit from this perfectionism the most!
My Grandmother Bubbe Shaindel took after her mother’s culinary talents and is also famous for her strudel. Many people I know have fond memories surrounding this strudel.
It seems that I too have inherited the baker gene. No, I’m not famous for my strudel. I enjoy baking all sorts of baked goods; pies, cakes, cupcakes with frosting, soft chewy cookies of every flavor, etc.
My Rosh Hashanah menu always consists of some classic traditional foods and some foods with a modern twist.
Today I’m sharing with you, a recipe I’ve been making for three years already. It has now become a staple on my Rosh Hashanah table for my family. It’s called 'Sweet and Meaningful Rosh Hashanah Envelopes' (similar to strudel but far easier). I serve this alongside my main dish. Thanks to Renee Muller for this recipe.
What you'll need:
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2 Granny Smith apples, grated
- 8 small dates, pitted and diced small
- 1 cup dried apricots, diced small
- 1 package of 36 mini puff pastry squares
- 1 1/2 cups apple juice
- Sugar for sprinkling
- 1 egg, for egg wash
Let's get started:
- Combine carrots, apples, dates, apricots and apple juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer until mixture has softened and liquids have thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Defrost puff pastry slightly. Work with one square at a time, placing a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of it.
- Sprinkle the filling with sugar ( this will render the filling shiny and golden). Bring all the corners together, like an envelope.
- Secure with toothpick. The sides don’t have to be sealed; it’s okay if filling shows.
- Transfer to baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 36 envelopes
*Quick Tip: I like to freeze these assembled but raw and ready to bake (egg wash and all). That way they’re ready to go but are as fresh as possible when I bake and serve them.
I’m also including a low-calorie dessert that I’ve made and already froze to be served when you want a lighter dessert after a heavy meal.
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 6 granny smith apples, peeled and cubed
- 5 nectarines, peeled and cubed
- 7 plums, cubed
- A bag frozen strawberries
- ½ cup sugar
- Place fruits in a big pot on a medium to low flame. Add sugar and stir. Fill pot ¼ of the way with water.
- Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for a few hours. Remove Cinnamon sticks and mash fruits using a potato masher.
- Divide compote in containers and freeze or stays good a few days in refrigerator.
WANT MORE RECIPES?
- Tzimmes hailing from England and Australia (Bina Lerman, Rutherford).
- Grandma Frances' Noodle Kugel (Mike Weiss, Rutherford)
- Super Easy Apple Cobbler (Estie Orenstein, Woodcliff Lake).
- Pomagranate-glazed corned beef from "The Barbell Chef" (Gabe Gilbert, Tenafly/Teaneck).
- Rainbow challahs, round challahs and more from the Challah Fairy