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Creamy Rice Pudding

26 May

It’s almost Shavuot, that little-observed Jewish holiday where we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai by eating dairy foods. I could go into the reasons why, but that’s not the purpose of this blog. Suffice it to say, you may be looking for a  dairy dish to serve next week.

This rice pudding recipe won’t feed a crowd, but it’s nice for a light summer dessert, for Shavuot or any other time. It’s also a great way to use up leftover white rice.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup sugar
2 cups milk, scalded (heat until bubbles form at the edges of the pot – do not boil!)
1 cup cooked white rice
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
⅓ cup raisins, optional
¼ tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg, or  a few drops of rosewater, optional

Directions:

In the top of a double boiler, combine the eggs and sugar. Stir in the milk, rice and salt.

Cook over hot water, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat a metal spoon (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in raisins and vanilla.

If you like, add a dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg and/or a few drops of rosewater. Pour into 4 dessert dishes. Serve warm or cold.

Serves 4

 

 

 

Lemon (or lime) mousse

21 Feb

lemon-mousse

This is a nice, light dessert that’s good any time of year. The only thing hard about this recipe is finding kosher unflavored gelatin, if that’s important to you. The recipe was originally for “lime mousse” and it’s really delicious with lime too — but I almost always have lemon zest on hand, and rarely lime zest.  The recipe is also easy to halve if you want to make less.

Ingredients:

6 eggs, separated
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup lemon (or lime) juice
1½ Tbs. butter or margarine
1 Tbs. grated lemon(or lime) zest
1½ tsp. unflavored gelatin
½ tsp. vanilla

Directions:

If you use fresh lemons or limes grade the rind for zest before you squeeze for juice.

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, half a cup of the juice, butter and 1½ tsp. of the zest in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat.

Soften the gelatin the remaining lemon or lime juice and dissolve over a pan of hot water. Stir in the egg yolk mixture. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Stir the vanilla into the yolk mixture, then fold in the egg whites. Pour into serving dishes and sprinkle with the remaining zest. Chill several hours before serving.

Serves 8

Passover Chocolate Truffle Cake

3 Apr

Passover chocolate truffle cake

Passover is less than three weeks away (yikes) so you’re probably planning your holiday meals.

This recipe isn’t what I’d call easy, but it’s really yummy and it’s gluten free. You can kid yourself that it’s good for you because it’s made with sweet potatoes – which you can’t really taste, but which help make it lighter than most flourless chocolate cakes.

You can gussy it up more than I did in this photo by garnishing with berries and/or whipped topping.

Ingredients:

16 oz. semisweet chocolate, divided
1½ cups baked mashed sweet potatoes at room temperature (or use canned sweet potatoes)
1/3 cup plus ¼ cup sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla sugar or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. very soft unsalted butter or margarine
6 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

Melt 10 oz. of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and let cool.

Using a wire whisk, blend together the mashed sweet potatoes with 1/3 cup of sugar, the vanilla sugar or vanilla and the softened butter until well blended.

Stir in the egg hyolks and then the melted chocolate, mixing to blend.

In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer, starting on low speed. When the egg whites are foamy, add the salt and whip on high speed, slowly dusting in the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture and work in to lighten the batter. Then gently fold in the remaining 2/3 of the egg whites, blending well but taking care not to deflate the mixture.

Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes. The cake will rise somewhat, look dry, and have a slight crack on top. The middle should be soft but firm.

Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then remove the sides from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Chill for at least an hour.

Make the ganache glaze: Chop the remaining 6 oz. of chocolate. Bring ¼ cup of water to a gentle boil and add the chocolate all at once. Remove from heat and stir briskly with a wire whisk until all the chocolate melts and is a thick sauce-like consistency. Refrigerate for an hour.

Invert the cake onto a platter so the flat bottom faces up. Pour the glaze over the cake, using a spatula to even it out and spread along the sides.

Serves 8 to 10

Hamentaschen

8 Mar

HamentaschenI just bought a can of Solo pie filling for my annual hamentasch bake. With Purim coming up in just a few weeks, I thought I’d rerun my recipe for hamentaschen, which I offered you three years ago. It’s a winner! The dough is sweet but not too sweet, and you can roll it out thin.

The Jewish festival of Purim commemorates the events told in the Book of Esther. The three-cornered shape is supposed to represent Haman’s hat, though the word means “Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish.

My mother wasn’t much of a cook, but she baked these hamentaschen every year. She got the recipe from our neighbor in Northeast Philadelphia, Ida Silver. In 2007, I read a Hadassah magazine article by Judy Davis, Ida’s oldest child, called “My Mother’s Hamentaschen.” But the recipe in the magazine was not my mother’s recipe!

I hadn’t seen Judy in at least 40 years but I tracked her down and emailed her. In her response she admitted it the recipe not her mother’s, which she either never had or lost. “But I would love to see my mother’s recipe if you would be willing to email it to me,” she wrote. “I must have had a copy at some time, though I have no memory of it….I love the idea of your mother having used her recipe (it means my mother must have shared some of them with her), and I love that it is being handed down to the next generation.”

I think my daughter has begun making these as well, with help from her daughter, continuing the tradition.

Pinching hamentaschen into a three-cornered shape

Pinch the hamentaschen into a three-cornered shape

Like my mother, I don’t use a board to roll out the dough. I cover the kitchen table with an old sheet and work some flour into it and use that as my workspace.

The recipe can easily be doubled.

Ingredients:

2½ cups flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
⅓ cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 eggs
1 can Solo fruit or poppy pastry filling

Directions:

Sift dry ingredients together. Cream shortening and sugar. Add honey and lemon juice and mix well. Add part of flour, then eggs, then rest of flour. Dough should be soft enough to form a ball but not stickyDirections:

Preheeat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out on a floured board, cut out rounds using a cookie cutter or glass (dip edge into flour). Place a half-teaspoon of filling in the center of each piece, then pinch into a three-cornered shape. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies

 

Gila’s Chocolate Cake

1 Mar

 

Gila's chocolate cakeParve or dairy

I got the recipe for this cake, which could be nicknamed “death by chocolate,” from Gila Semp. It’s very rich and moist, and it’s easy to make, especially with a stand mixer. And even though it’s based on boxed mixes, it tastes homemade.

Full disclosure: I made this cake for guests last weekend, but I neglected to take a photo! This one is by Emily Hill, via Flickr Creative Commons — and I like her addition of shredded coconut and sliced chopped nuts on top, though because this cake is so rich I often make it without the chocolate glaze, and just sprinkle with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Ingredients:

1 box devil’s food or chocolate fudge cake mix
5 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup water
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix (most are dairy, but you can find parve mixes in kosher food stores)
1 package (12 oz.) chocolate chips
1 package (6 oz.) chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, water and pudding mix together with an electric mixer.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bundt pan.

Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Optional glaze:

Combine a 6-oz. package of chocolate chips with ¼ cup of boiling water. Stir to combine.

Add a little more boiling water if the glaze seems too thick. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake.

Serves 12 or more

Brownies from scratch

3 Feb

BrowniesI’m about to make dozens of brownies for my Hadassah group’s dinner dance fundraiser. Mea culpa, I’m using the Ghirardelli mix from Costco — because I have two pouches in my cupboard and another pan of brownies frozen in my freezer.

But when I don’t have a mix, or when I want to make non-dairy brownies, either for a meat meal or to serve to someone who doesn’t eat dairy, I use this terrific recipe which I got more than 40 years ago from Joan Piorkowski, a fellow graduate student at Temple University and a neighbor in the graduate student apartment building where we lived. It’s almost as easy as making brownies from a mix; the only additional step you need to take is measuring the ingredients instead of dumping a pouch into a bowl.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 Tbs. cocoa
½ cup (1 stick) melted butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl in the order listed.

Pour into a greased 8- or 9-inch square pan (melting the butter or margarine in the baking pan before adding it to the bowl is the best way to grease it).

Bake 30 to 40 minutes until the brownies are cracked on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.

Makes 9 to 16 brownies

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

20 Oct

cranberry upside down cake 2

I got this recipe from the Detroit Free Press. It’s a nice dessert for this time of year, when fresh cranberries are plentiful. And it’s not too soon to start planning for Thanksgiving. This would be a great addition to your feast, or a nice coffee cake to serve at breakfast the day after. It seems like there’s a lot of sugar in it, but it’s really not all that sweet because the cranberries are so tart.

Ingredients:

12 oz. cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together cranberries, brown sugar, juice, zest and cinnamon. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld electric beater), beat eggs on high speed until pale, about 2 minutes. Cascade in granulated sugar; beat, 1 minute.

Switch the speed to medium and beat in butter, sour cream, vanilla and salt. Sprinkle in flour. Mix on low, just until combined.

Scrape cranberry mixture into prepared pan. Cover with cake batter. Bake until fruit bubbles at the edges and a toothpick poked in the cake portion comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Invert a serving plate onto cake pan. Slip on oven mitts. Hold plate and pan firmly together and flip so that plate holds cake, fruit side up. Give the pan a sharp rap to loosen any sluggish berries. Lift off pan.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Serves 8