You've never heard of the popular musical Grannie Gets Her Fun? That's probably because you weren't on the Jonahs' Jerusalem rooftop terrace a couple of weeks ago helping Alice celebrate a special birthday with, among other things, a spirited performance of this Annie Get Your Gun spinoff, sung lustily and with great originality by family members and one friend (me).
The "other things" included, naturally, food, with the accent on desserts. One I really liked was brought along by Valerie Jakar, Alice's neighbor and friend for the last 27 years. The recipe comes from the original Good Housekeeping Cookery Book and makes 20 cookies.
2 Tbsp. raisins
1 Tbsp. dried or glace cherries
6 dried apricots, chopped
2 Tbsp. walnuts, chopped
2 Tbsp. lightly toasted hazelnuts
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. almond nibs or flakes
3 Tbsp. Branflakes
2 Tbsp. flour or ground almonds
4 Tbsp. cane or light brown sugar
150 gr. dark chocolate
1 Tbsp. mixed peel (or grated orange peel)
1 heaped Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. sweet cream
2 Tbsp. Brer Rabbit molasses (from a health food store)
Put the sugar and butter in a pan on a low flame until the sugar melts. Add all the dry ingredients except the chocolate and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. (Don't worry if it doesn't seem to blend.) Add the cream and mix thoroughly, keeping the flame low. Add the molasses, mixing all the while until the mixture agglomerates.
Have handy two smallish spoons and a baking tray covered with baking paper (niyyar afiya). Spoon blobs of the florentine mixture, packing it together between the spoons, onto the tray. Bake for around 8 minutes in the middle of a preheated 180 oven.
After about 4 minutes take out the tray and, using the spoons, pack the fruit together if it seems to be spreading apart. Make sure the raisins don't burn.
Take out the tray and leave until the florentines are absolutely cool. Peel off the paper, and turn them over.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, covered, for 1 minute. Pick up each florentine, hold it over the chocolate bowl and spoon chocolate over its smooth side, spreading as you go. Replace on the tray to set, chocolate side up.
IT HAPPENS that between bouts of leaving their opponents cowering under the table, players at the Sam Orbaum Jerusalem Scrabble Club wander over to me to chew the fat about various recipes, sharing their successes and smiling ruefully at their failures.
Recently, Heather Rockman, who confesses to a fascination with luscious chocolate confections, described an unusual cake she had made which contains no flour or raising agent.
"Most of my wicked chocolate desserts use at least 200 grams of chocolate and butter each, and cream as well, while this one uses only half that. It was a big success over Shavuot."
CHOCOLATE-POPPY SEED PIZAZZ
100 gr. butter
100 gr. bitter chocolate
1 Tbsp. brandy
5 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
160 gr. ground poppy seeds
1 cup crushed walnuts
Frosting (optional) :
50 gr. chocolate
1â„2 cup sweet cream
Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave. Beat the whites and yolks separately, adding half a cup of sugar to each. Add the poppy seeds and nuts to the yolks. Stir one ladle of the whites into the yolk mixture, then fold the yolks into the rest of the whites. Bake in a 27.5-cm. springform pan for 30 minutes in a 180 oven.
Frosting: Melt the chocolate and add to the (heated) cream.
WRITES DVORA Waysman: "My sister in Australia sent me this amazing recipe. I've tried it and it's great."
INCREDIBLY SIMPLE FRUIT CAKE
1 kg. mixed dried fruits (raisins, glace cherries, figs, apricots, nuts, dates, etc.)
6 tsp. instant coffee
3 cups hot water
3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup brandy (optional)
Day 1: Dissolve the coffee in the water and soak the fruit overnight (with the brandy, if using).
Day 2: Add the flour and mix well. Place in an 18 cm. x 18 cm. greased tin and bake in a 180 oven for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to lowest setting and bake for a further hour.
WRITES Esther Herskovics: I made Herb-Roasted Potatoes (June 1) and they were delicious. I just wanted to point out that the baking paper wrapper warns you to use an oven no hotter than 180, and your recipe called for 230 . I used aluminum foil instead.