Showing posts from March, 2014

Getting “back” to normal… On baking in Israel.

Decorating challahs with kids makes me feel "normal," like we're at home, no matter where we happen to be living... We are starting to get into a bit of a routine, but things are still difficult.  I don’t know; the ingredients are all the same, for the most part, but a lot of what I bake just doesn’t turn out “normal.”  I had a few weeks of making lemon bars that were just awful, like practically inedible.  Part of the problem is the pan size – you can’t get 8 x 8 or pie pans here, so you have to adapt recipes or they will turn out wrong.  The lemon bars, for instance – I was making them in a bigger pan and it just didn’t work.  They were too thin and overbaked.  Last week, I hauled out my one 8x8 pan, which is dairy, and made the whole lemon bars dairy just so I could use the pan.  (Well, they were pareve, but used dairy things for cutting and squeezing and grating and mixing the lemons.) Other things just taste weird, or disappointing.  I made blueberry buns a f

Which are you: moon or prune?

There are only two kinds of hamentaschen for those who don’t mess around:  moon and prune. This is a truth I learned as a small child, growing up in a home where, for whatever reason, the Two Kinds (let’s capitalize them for convenience) were the Only Kinds. Moon = poppy seed.  Prune = dried plums. (the word moon = my father’s variation on the Yiddish/german mohn ) A few years back, my sister, who’s a baker, offered for sale a pastry she’d made with “dried plums” because it sounded way classier than saying “prunes.”  It sure does.  In Hebrew, there’s no distinction.  “Dried plums” is the only thing you can call them. But they do mess around a LOT, with all kinds of flavours, from chocolate (okay) to halva (kind of okay) and many others… but they also don’t call them hamentashen – they’re called oznei haman; haman’s ears.  For those who don’t mess around, they’re hamentaschen – haman’s pockets . My way or the highway.  A lesson I learned from my father, who considered eve

Giant Cinnamon Bun for Shabbos

It’s no secret that I’ve been searching years for the perfect pareve cinnamon bun.  When I saw this recipe , for a Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake, mentioned on a facebook group last week, it looked sort of perfect – simple, low-key and kind of pretty, to boot. I didn’t use the dough recommended in the recipe – I just made my regular challah dough a bit sweeter than usual. ROLL IT OUT.  Roll it out into a “rectangle” (okay, not exact, but you can tug at the corners gently to make it prettier). SPREAD YUMMINESS.  The cinnamon spread was easy, and I was impressed that it didn’t have a ton of margarine in it.  I used butter-flavoured.  Use fresh cinnamon, if at all possible! TIME TO STRIP. Now, you’re supposed to cut the dough into nice, neat strips.  Theoretically, the recipe asks you to use a ruler and make sure they’re equal so your “cake” doesn’t look all lumpy and bumpy.  My philosophy is that it all tastes the same anyway (probably not true, exactly, because if you have

More delicious kosher morsels!