Kosher Baking A-Z

 

Raspberry Rhubarb Slab Pie

 

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I am always looking for new and interesting dessert ideas.  While browsing Pinterest (my newest internet obsession) I recently came across a new dessert trend called the “slab pie”.  It’s basically a pie baked in a large square or rectangle pan and cut into squares.  I found a recipe for a crumb topped raspberry rhubarb slab pie and had to try the recipe immediately.  I made a few changes, adapting the recipe to keep it pareve, and tweaking the flavorings here and there, but I was really excited about the combination of raspberries and rhubarb.  I’ve made a strawberry rhubarb pie in the past and thought it was okay, but the strawberries were too sweet and pretty much hid the rhubarb flavor.  I thought the raspberries would be the perfect balance of sweet and tangy to balance out the bitterness of the rhubarb.  I was right, this combination is a stroke of genius!  I wish I had come up with it myself!


 

Blue and White Cheesecake for Yom Ha’Atzmaut

 

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The weather’s warming up and Yom Ha’Atzmaut is just about here — I’d say this calls for some cheesecake squares, Israeli style.

Israel is often praised for its dairy products, even the basic ones. My Canadian mother-in-law says the milk is better here, and the cheeses are wonderful, too.


 

What is Key Challah?

 

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After you’ve finally finished putting away your Pesach dishes it’s time to make Schlissel or Key Challah. It is an old and established custom that on the first Shabbos after Pesach we shape a challah into the form of a key or stick a real key inside a regular challah because this was the Shabbos when the Manna, the miraculous food Hashem air-mailed to our forefathers throughout their desert wanderings, ceased to fall.

Imagine what that Shabbos must have been like. All of the Children of Israel simultaneously wondering whether Manna had gotten lost or misplaced or delivered to the wrong address. But don’t feel too sorry for them. Our anscestors had Joshua, Yehoshua Bin Nun to guide them . Remember that he was Moshe Rabeinu’s own hand picked successor and protege and like Moshe he had a hotline to Hashem.  It was time for the Jewish people to start fending for themselves and eating from the land.


 

Mozart Cake

 

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Passover approaches and for someone who LOVES to bake like me, it can either be a week of no baking or challenges to find things to bake that don’t taste so “Passoverish” if you know what I mean. I strive to look for and develop recipes that can be made all year round and no one would even notice that is it Kosher for Passover! I will say I have some staples that are typically for Passover and my family insists upon- the well-known matzo crunch with melted chocolate and caramel (which I make with all kinds of adaptations like white chocolate and peanut butter for example- yum!)

For this one you’ve got to take a momentary break from any diet you may be on. It is so rich, that a small piece will do the trick. The combination of the meringue base and layered with chocolate crème and then layered with a white chocolate and dark chocolate mousse in between- well what can I say…….


 

Parve Passover Dessert Recipes

 

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With all of the packaged Passover cakes and cookies sitting in the grocery store aisles weeks before the holiday starts it is no surprise that many a store-bought Passover cake tastes more like the cardboard it is packaged in than like a delicious dessert.  Sure, they are convenient, but as someone who strongly believes that dessert is not worth eating unless it is truly delicious, to me they are just not an option. Instead I use Pesach as the perfect opportunity to make homemade desserts that would be welcome on the table anytime of year. It isn’t enough for them to be “good for Pesach”. They have to be good period. The key is using quality ingredients and finding appropriate substitutions for ingredients like flour that can’t be used on Pesach.


 

The Best Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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I used to be terrified of baking for Passover, it’s tough! A dessert that is “good enough for Passover” is just not good enough for me. I pride myself on serving up delicious desserts at all times, no exceptions, no excuses and baking without flour makes baking very difficult. I used to just take off from baking over Passover, but last year I decided to take the challenge on. I am currently on a mission to develop at least one delicious dessert every Passover. I am excited to share my recipe for chocolate chip cookies with you!

As I was browsing the Passover baking aisle in the grocery store I came across vanilla pudding mix. I have a recipe for regular chocolate chip cookies that calls for a package of vanilla pudding mix. It makes the cookies soft and chewy. I went home with the pudding mix and put this recipe together. I substituted matzah cake meal for the flour and mixed up a batch of dough. The cookie dough looked perfect, just like regular cookie dough, so I put the cookies in the oven and crossed my fingers. They came out of the oven looking great! Looks can be deceiving though, how did they taste? Delicious! If I hadn’t baked these with my own two hands, I would not have believed they are Kosher for Passover!


 

Homemade Muffins for Mishloach Manot

 

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Purim is the one time of year when we go to synagogue and do all the things we would never do any other time. And we encourage our children to do them too. By that I mean: we laugh and talk loud and generally misbehave. There we are, at services and we’re yelling, cavorting and making a racket! Our kids grog their groggers, make loud hissing sounds and stamp their feet whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, so they can wipe out the evil name. Don’t we all just love it too!

Really, it’s okay, all this acting out. According to the Megillah, we’re actually commanded to right? This is the way it’s supposed to be on a day when we celebrate a victory over an enemy who tried to destroy our people.


 

Non-Dairy Purim Treats with Candy Sushi

 

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With Purim right around the corner there is a lot of excitement in our house right now.  My son asks me every day “how much longer until purim”? One of the fun things about Purim is that it is an opportunity to get dressed up and act with a kind of irreverence that most of us don’t have in our everyday lives. On Purim things are not always quite what they seem, and that is a wonderful thing. In that vein this candy sushi is the perfect treat for a Purim party or to send in misloach manot. It looks like sushi but tastes like candy. While it is not an elegant treat by any stretch of the imagination it never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces. The kids absolutely love them! They would be adorable packed in bento boxes for mishloach manot, maybe with a small bottle of sake and some nice chopsticks.

 Candy Sushi


 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Hamentashen

 

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Purim is my absolute, hands down, favorite holiday!  I don’t only love it because it happens to be my birthday (I was born on Shushan Purim), but for other reasons as well.  Getting dressed up in costume is super fun; who doesn’t love to play pretend from time to time!  I also love coming up with fun themes for my shalach manot.  I don’t go overboard, I keep them simple- Pesach is approaching, after all, and who needs so much candy in the house.  Now for my favorite part which should be obvious since I am a pastry chef…I love baking hamentaschen.

Hamentaschen are probably the perfect cookies in my humble opinion.  What is better than a sweet cookie filled with delicious jam?  When I was younger, my mom and I had to make so many batches of hamentaschen because my family and friends would gobble them up so quickly.  My mom tried to hide them so we wouldn’t have to keep baking them every night, but that never worked-someone always found them.


 

Brown Butter Apple Galette With Your Kids

 

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The way I see it, there are two kinds of pie in this world: Perfect pie and imperfect pie.

To make a perfect pie, you have to get all the steps and proportions and assembly just so. But if you make a galette, you can relax. This free-form pie is supposed to be rustic and homey — not bake-shop perfect. And don’t worry, it tastes just as good (if not better).


 

Baking Bread

 

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I recently had the chance to spend a day in the Brooklyn kitchen of Alan Broner, one of the partners of Jacks Gourmet sausages. Not only does he make delicious sausages he is also a master bread maker. (He also smokes a phenomenal salmon). He invited me to come over so I could learn some tricks of the trade and taste the results of our hard work.

Beef Bacon n Eggs


 

Vegan Pie Pops From Hannah

 

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Hamentaschen are in-arguably the dessert du jour for Purim, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for creative interpretation.  Iron out the corners, add a lollipop stick handle for grab-and-go fun, and you’d get these stunningly simple Pie Pops.  Between the tender crust and fruity center, what are they but miniature, triangular pies, after all?

Familiar fillings with small twists liven up the standard pastry, sure to satisfy the traditional and adventurous palate alike. Not to mention, the downsized format is perfect for portion control.  Right at home in a basket of mishloach manot, recipients both young and old alike can find flavors to enjoy.


 

Two Delicious Rugelach Recipes

 

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Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to be a baker. I always loved baking with my mother for Shabbos and Yom Tov. I remember helping my mom measure out the ingredients and mixing up the batter. The best part was always licking the bowl. I loved going with my mom to the local bakery to pick up fresh challah and desserts for Shabbos. I always got to pick a cookie from the case to eat right there in the store! When I got older, I got a job at a bakery and learned all the ins and outs of commercial baking and instantly fell deeper in love! In the bakery kitchen I feel like I am home. Well, home away from home, anyway. There is nothing more satisfying than perfectly measuring out ingredients, mixing up dough in just the right way, and baking up a perfect dessert every time. I love braiding hundreds of challahs, or piping out tray after tray of lace cookies. I know that this may sound crazy to some, but this is all truly relaxing to me.

When I worked at a bakery my main job was cake decorating. Whenever I finished my work early, I would help out my fellow bakers. My favorite thing to help out with was rolling up rugelach. I love the challenge of making each one look exactly like the last. When they are all rolled up, they look like cute little croissants.


 

Gingerbread Eggnog Bread Pudding Muffins

 

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Winter is officially here and with cold weather comes major cravings for my favorite seasonal comfort foods! Every year I look forward to creamy eggnog on the store shelves, fresh sufganiyot in the bakeries, gingerbread-house competitions on The Food Network, and sipping warm apple cider under a cozy blanket in my living room. In case you are like me and crave these seasonal traditions all year round, you can now have them whenever you like! Why wait for the cold weather blues to savor delicious eggnog and gingerbread when you can make it fresh and delicious all year round?! And even better than that, why not make it pareve so you can eat it after any meal!

Gingerbread Loaf


 

Sweet Potato Brioche

 

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I close my eyes and I can feel the warm sun kissing my face. Eyes open I can see the passersby strolling along in pairs or scurrying about pushing strollers and gathering up children to quickly reach a destination. Me I’m alone, sitting on the corner of a Parisian avenue; I can feel the bumpy cobblestones beneath my feet. The air sweeps by with the aroma of crusty bread and sweet butter. As I sip espresso the waiter presents a small dish with a bouncy piece of brioche à tête. I gladly take the offering and tear into it…heaven!  “Mommy”, my son says, “When is the challah ready?” I look around large windows, stacked bowls, and amass of toys scattered about.  I snap out of it I’m not in Paris at all but in my kitchen, the wafting scent coming from the oven has transported me into another one of my day dreams. Looking down into a pair of dark brown eyes I smile and reply “it’s not Challah, its Brioche”. “What’s Brioche?” He asks innocently.  Well…

Some consider Brioche a pastry instead of bread, its high fat content makes it much more desirable in texture and flavor. With a rich yellow color, it is sweet and slightly yeasty. In the mid 1600’s Nicolas de Bonnefons was selected by Louis XIV to write a cookbook for the more affluent populace who escaped the cities for a provincial life in the countryside. With their wealthier tastes for costly butter and eggs; an appetite for an alternative to the rustic loaves usually prepared by the local baker had arisen. Bonnefons offered up a recipe with fresh yeast cultivated from beer, fine white flour, and butter, eggs, milk and crème fraiche.