With Succot here, you are likely entertaining some crowds – and not in the most luxurious of accommodations. Three good ideas for individual dishes and snacks will keep everyone crowded around your Succot table happy and well fed. Having mini quiches, tarts or rolls enables everyone to grab their own and dig in right away, hopefully minimizing the mess on your patio or balcony.
Savory tartlets are a great idea for an appetizer or a side dish, and everyone around the table will enjoy getting their own serving. The basic dough in the recipe can be used for fillings made of meat, vegetables, cheese and even sweet applications. Some sauteed spinach topped with a little grated cheese would be a nice appetizer, or mini mushroom and zucchini quiches. For sweet applications, add two tablespoons of sugar to the dough recipe and fill with lemon curd, pastry cream or chocolate ganache and a variety of fruits.
While making your own puff pastry will provide the most delicious results, using store-bought is a great help when you have many other things to make. The recipe for potato and mushroom pinwheels is pleasing to the eye and the stomach and can be adapted for a variety of fillings. To get the most flakiness out of your pinwheels, make sure the dough is cold right before going into the oven. If you get distracted and it sits out for too long, stick the trays back in the fridge for about 10 minutes before baking. Also, make sure your oven is fully preheated before you bake them.
Making bread is something I did not do very often before I spent three weeks on breads at The Jerusalem Culinary Institute as part of their pastry curriculum. There I learned a whole host of tips and tricks that are crucial to successful bread-making. First is the importance of resting time both before and after shaping the loaves or rolls. Without this, the bread will not have time to develop and will have a tough texture.
Another crucial point is not to rip pieces of the dough off during the shaping process. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the dough to your size specifications, thereby minimizing the tearing of the gluten strands that have been so carefully developed.
Lastly, you should cut a slash in the top of each loaf or roll before baking. This will guide the bread to expand where you want it, instead of tearing randomly and will provide a pleasing final shape. You can cut an X shape into the top of each roll or one straight line.CAULIFLOWER AND LEEK TARTLETS Makes 20 to 24 tartlets or two 10-inch tarts
✔ 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter or margarine
✔ 21⁄2 cups flour
✔ 1 tsp. kosher salt
✔ 4 Tbsp. ice water
✔ 1 large head of cauliflower, washed and chopped into small, uniform pieces
✔ 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
✔ 2 stalks leek, washed and diced
✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 1 egg, beaten
✔ Bread or Cornflakes crumbs
Using a pastry cutter, food processor or a fork, cut the butter into the flour and salt until only small pieces of butter remain.
Add the water, a Tbsp. at a time, until the dough starts to come
together (you may not need all four). Gather the dough together in a
ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Press the dough into the bottom of two tart pans or 24 muffin tins. If
you’re using muffin tins, a tool for pressing down the dough, called a
tamper, is sold in cooking stores, but a shot glass does about the same
job. Freeze the tins for 30 minutes.
While the tart shells are in the freezer, heat one Tbsp. of olive oil in
a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring
regularly, for 30 to 40 minutes, until dark brown and caramelized.
While the leeks are cooking, toss the cauliflower and garlic together with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
Spread in a single layer on a metal baking sheet (better to use two than
to crowd it) and roast at 230º C for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing
occasionally and checking to make sure the vegetables do not burn. Set
Lower the oven to 190º C and bake the pie shells for 20 minutes.
Mix the cauliflower and leek together and add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix in the beaten egg and divide the mixture evenly among the pie
shells. Sprinkle the tops of the tarts with bread or Cornflakes crumbs.
Return the filled shells to the oven and continue baking for 30 minutes.
POTATO MUSHROOM PINWHEELS
Makes about 40 pinwheels
If you need to work in advance, you can follow the recipe until you roll
up the loaves, then store them in the fridge for up to 2 days before
slicing and baking them fresh.
✔ 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
✔ 5-6 medium potatoes
✔ 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
✔ 1 tsp. salt
✔ 1⁄4 tsp. ground pepper
✔ 1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
✔ 8 ounces mushrooms
✔ 1 onion
✔ 4 cloves garlic
✔ 1 egg, lightly beaten
Defrost the puff pastry. Peel and dice the potatoes into 2-cm. pieces.
Cook the potatoes in boiling water until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
Peel and dice the onion and the mushrooms. Peel and finely mince the garlic cloves.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms with onion and garlic, 15 to 20 minutes.
Mash the potatoes with the mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Stir in the mushroom mixture.
Roll each puff pastry sheet out slightly, to about 40 x 30 cm.
Divide the potato mixture in two, spread each half on one puff pastry
sheet and roll it up, starting on a short side, being careful not to
press too hard and have the filling ooze out.
Freeze the loaves for 15 minutes, then using a sharp knife slice each into 1-cm.
pieces, lay them flat on a baking sheet and brush lightly with beaten egg.
Bake at 200º C for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.RYE ROLLS WITH CARAWAY SEEDS
Makes about 16 rolls
The molasses adds a rich, earthy flavor to the dough; but if you need to substitute it, try honey for a lighter flavor.
✔ 11⁄2 cups water (370 gr.)
✔ 2 tsp. sugar (12 gr.)
✔ 1 Tbsp. salt (14 gr. )
✔ 1 Tbsp. oil (12 gr.)
✔ 1⁄2 Tbsp. molasses (12 gr.)
✔ 32⁄3 cups (450 gr.) bread flour
✔ 11⁄3 cups (140 gr.) rye flour
✔ 11⁄2 tsp. (7 gr.) instant dry yeast
✔ 2 Tbsp. (8 gr.) caraway seeds
In a large bowl add the water, sugar, salt, oil and molasses. Add both flours on top, followed by the yeast.
If using a mixer with a bread hook attachment, mix the ingredients on
low until just combined, then beat for 8 minutes – you should have a
smooth dough that springs back when poked lightly. Add the caraway seeds
and mix just to disperse them.
If mixing by hand, use a wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients until
the dough comes together, then knead the dough for 10 to 12 minutes
until it springs back when lightly poked.
Add the seeds and mix lightly.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cover with cling wrap or a
cloth and let rest for 20 minutes until doubled in size. Now it should
hold an indentation when gently poked.
Cut (don’t rip) the dough into 16 even pieces, should about 60 gr. each.
With one hand, gently move each ball in circles on your countertop until
a tight ball is formed. Continue with all the pieces. Cover the rolls
and let rest for 20 minutes.
Using a sharp knife or blade, cut a slash into the top of each roll and
brush the top of each with water, then sprinkle with some additional
caraway seeds and a touch of salt if desired.
Arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 220º C for 15 minutes. Amy Spiro is a food writer and reporter.
She is currently a pastry student at the Jerusalem Culinary Institute, and blogs at bakingandmistaking.com