Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vegetarian Rosh Hashanah Part I: Jewish Apple Cake

Wow - it's been awhile since my last blog . . . lots of travel and work stuff, so I haven't been doing a lot of cooking or had time in front of a computer.  However, Rosh Hashanah gives me a welcome return to my kitchen and blogging.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah is the start of the Jewish New Year.  In my family, we attended synagogue and then prepared a festive holiday meal.  This year, we'll be hosting my husband's family and I'll be preparing a fully vegetarian dinner. 

Since I'm making multiple dishes, I started cooking right after I got home from shul.  My family always incorporates apples and honey into Rosh Hashanah dinners, a tradition that dates back to medieval times.  Apples and honey symbolize the hope a sweet new year. 

In addition to serving apples and honey before the festival meal, I also like to serve an apple based dessert.  For the past several years, I've made a scratch apple cake.  I use this recipe, which calls for apples, orange juice and vanilla.  The recipe calls for using a tube pan, but I use a bundt pan and it always turns out fine.  The recipe has a cooking window of 75 - 90 minutes, but I find I need the full time, if not more.

Enjoying apple picking at Butler's Orchard
It's made with oil, rather than butter, so if you aren't veg, but keep kosher, you can include it in a meat meal.  However, it does contain eggs.  Vegans, I may eventually attempt it with an egg replacement to make it vegan versus lacto-ovo. 

For the apples, I used three apples from the 20 (yes, 20!) pounds of apples we picked at Butler's Orchard last weekend.  The variety I used is called a Jonathan, which is described as "spicy and fragrant, juicy, sweet-tart."   Look for a more apple experiments in future blogs!

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