Sweets for a sweet new year
By Annabel Cohen

Rosh Hashanah is all about “sweet.” When we all “eat good food and drink sweet wine,” we remember that holiday food not only celebrates the New Year, but is symbolic of our hopes for the coming year and is a wish to remove all destructive behavior from our world.
Whether the meaning is purely traditional or you are assigning your own significance to an original recipe, you are participating in a uniquely Jewish observance. For our people, what you eat is as much, or more, about nourishing the soul as it is the body.
For Rosh Hashanah desserts, we go with the flow — of honey — usually served with apples, the most popular fall fruit. So we’re giving you bushels of apples in the following recipes. We’re also adding a recipe for pears (which you may substitute with apples, if you desire) and a chocolate fondue (in which you can dip apple wedges). For tradition’s sake, I’ve also included my favorite honey cake recipe — it’s dark, spicy and sticky, in the best possible way.
Dorie’s Tall Apple Pie
Another wonderful recipe from a good friend.
• 1 stick butter or margarine
• ¼ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 4 teaspoons milk
• 2 cups flour
• 6 cups, or more, peeled and sliced apples (preferably Macintosh) for filling
• 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine butter, sugar, salt, egg, baking powder and milk in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add 1½ cups of flour and pulse just until the dough forms a ball on top of the blade in the processor (if the dough is too soft — doesn’t form a ball — add the remaining ½ cup of flour). Save one-quarter of the dough for the top crust. Roll out the remaining dough on a floured surface and transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Press the dough into the bottom edge of the pan and up the sides of it. If the dough tears or breaks, press it together to seal.
Place the cut apples into the pastry shell (they should completely fill the shell — add more apples if needed). Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon, then sugar. Roll remaining dough into a 10-inch round and carefully place it on top of the apples. Press edges of the dough together tightly (the top will look “bumpy”).
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes – or until the crust is nicely browned. Let cool before removing the sides of the pan and serving. Makes 12 or more servings.
Apples, Honey and Chocolate Loaf
• 2 cups flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 stick butter or margarine, softened
• ½ cup white sugar
• 2 eggs
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1½ cups chopped apples
• 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ cup rolled oats
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Make the loaf: Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
In another bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, honey and vanilla, and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined (to not over mix). Stir in the apples and chocolate chips. Transfer to the loaf pan.
Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Sprinkle the topping over the loaf. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan. Cut into slices and serve. Makes 12 servings.
My Favorite Honey Cake
• 3½ cups flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 1 cup sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 cup honey, any type except very dark honey
• 1½ cups strong coffee
• ¼ cup orange juice
• 1 tablespoon grated orange peel or zest
• 1 cup raisins, any kind
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a Bundt pan or other tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and oil. Add the sugar, honey, coffee and juice, and beat until combined. Slowly beat in the flour mixture just until a thick batter is formed. Stir in the grated peel and raisins.
Transfer the batter into the pan and bake for 70-90 minutes — or more, depending on your oven — until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cake cool at least 20 minutes before turning over onto a cake plate. Let cool completely before sprinkling with powdered sugar, if desired. Makes 20 servings.
Pear, Almond and Caramel Crostata
• 1½ cups flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine, chilled, and cut into small pieces
• ¼ cup ice water
• 6-7 firm, ripe pears (peeled or unpeeled) halved, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch wedges
• ¼ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground ginger
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
• ½ cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream or non-dairy coffee creamer
Pulse together the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. With the motor running, drizzle in the ice water until the dough forms a ball on top of the blade (this should take just a few seconds). Stop processing immediately.
Remove pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a 1-inch-thick flattened disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Lightly flour the pastry disk and set on a sheet of parchment (the parchment should fit the baking sheet you are using). Roll out the pastry to a 14- to 16-inch round.
Toss the pears with sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl.
Spread the pears over the crust. Fold the edge of the pastry up and over the pears and press and crimp the edges over the pears (the crust will be irregular, exposing the pears in the center — for a rustic look).
Bake the crostata in a preheated 350 F oven for one hour or until the pastry is golden. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
While the crostata is baking, make the caramel. Place sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar begins to melt around the edges of the pan, start stirring it. When the color begins to become golden, stir in the butter or margarine. When the butter is incorporated, stir in the whipping cream until the sauce is creamy and thickened a bit (you can make the caramel ahead of time and reheat it in the microwave oven in 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until warm and melted).
To serve, cut into wedges, sprinkle the almonds over and drizzle with caramel sauce. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon kosher salt over the caramel and serve. Makes 8-10 (or more) servings.
Shortcut Chocolate Fondue
My mom often serves warm hot fudge (the dark kind) with fresh berries and sliced bananas with cookies and pound cake for a quick dessert. My version is much more authentic — a melted ganache-like mixture that’s just perfect for Rosh Hashanah.
• ½ cup half-and-half or nondairy almond creamer
• 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
• 2-4 tablespoons your favorite liqueur (optional)
Heat the half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat until hot. Stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Stir in the liqueur, if using. Pour the mixture into a fondue pot, or place in a microwave-safe dish and reheat on medium-high heat for about one minute and stir until remelted (you may have to heat more than once in the microwave). If you serve right away, the mixture will remain melted for 20 minutes or so. Serve with your favorite dipping ingredients. Makes 20 servings.

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