Tu Bishvat – what a glorious holiday for desserts! Choose from an endless array of dried and fresh fruit, nuts and different types of flour and bake away. With all the rich offerings, it’s easy to bake for guests with special diets such as sugar-free, gluten-free or vegan.

Master baker Oren Becker offers us a few recipes for cakes and cookies that are rich in texture, color and flavor for a very happy Tu Bishvat.

Gluten-free pear and red berry cake

For a 9x25 cm. bread mold

✔ ½ cup sugar
✔ 2 eggs
✔ 1 Tbsp. honey
 ✔ ½ cup potato flour
✔ ½ cup whole (brown) rice flour
✔ 125 gr. butter, melted
✔ 2 Tbsp. juice of pear preserve
✔ 2 preserved pears, cubed
✔ 1 cup red berries fresh or frozen and thawed (strawberries, raspberries)

For the syrup
✔ 1 cup water
✔ ½ cup sugar
 ✔ 2 Tbsp. juice from the preserved pears

For the garnish
✔ 1 preserved pear, sliced
✔ 1 Tbsp. red berry or raspberry jam
✔ Powdered sugar

To prepare the syrup: In a small pot, bring sugar and water to a boil. Remove from heat, let cool and add the juice. Set aside.

Heat oven to 160°.

In a mixer bowl, whip eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add honey and continue whipping.

Fold in the flours. Add butter and pear juice and mix until a soft batter is formed.

Mix together the pear cubes and red berries.

Transfer about half the batter to a greased baking form. Sprinkle the mixed fruit evenly and cover with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 35 minutes or until cake is golden.

Let cool for 15 minutes, then pour ½ cup of the syrup on the cake and garnish with pear slices and red berries. Finish with a little powdered sugar.

Vegan ginger cookies
Makes about 10

For the syrup
✔ 5 Tbsp. sugar
✔ 4 Tbsp. water For the dough
✔ 155 gr. margarine
✔ ½ cup + 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
✔ 2 cups + 3 Tbsp. flour
✔ 1 Tbsp. baking powder
✔ 1 heaping Tbsp. cinnamon
✔ 1 Heaping Tbsp. ground ginger
✔ 1 tsp. ground cloves

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