Recipes: The sweet taste of the holidays

Celebrity chef Micky Shemo has a new cookbook with lots of recipes for the holidays.

October 1, 2011 08:54
challah with raisins

challah with raisins 521. (photo credit: Dan Lev)

A new book by master baker Micky Shemo is cause for celebration. The book, beautifully designed and photographed, Shabbatot Vehagim is divided into chapters, each dedicated to a holiday, and in each chapter one can find clearly marked “easy” recipes, as well as gluten-free ones.

Shemo adds a few words to each recipe, inviting readers to share his memories, inspirations and fancies. The book was published by Al Hashulchan magazine.


Makes two 30-cm. loaves

This is a gluten-free honey cake that can be enjoyed by everybody. The tapioca-meal makes it a little less coarse than other cornmeal cakes. Douse the cake with syrup as soon as it is out of the oven, and it will stay moist for a week.

✔ 2 large eggs
✔ 1⁄2 cup sugar
✔ 2 Tbsp. honey
✔ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
✔ 1 cup tapioca flour
✔ 1 sachet baking powder
✔ 1⁄4 cup oil
✔ 1⁄2 cup orange juice
✔ 1⁄4 cup pine nuts

For the syrup:
✔ 1 cup sugar
✔ 11⁄4 cups water
✔ Zest of 1⁄4 orange

Make the syrup:

In a small saucepan bring to a boil the sugar, water and orange zest.

Lower the heat and simmer about 1 minute until syrup thickens a little. Cool to room temperature.

Heat oven to 160º and oil the baking pans.

Prepare the cake:

Beat eggs, sugar, honey and vanilla at medium speed about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Lower speed and add the flour, baking powder, oil and juice. Mix until smooth.

Pour into baking pans, smooth tops and sprinkle pine nuts. Bake 25 minutes or until done. Pour the syrup on the cakes as soon as they come out of the oven. Store covered for about a week.


Omit pine nuts and add to the batter 8 chopped dry dates.


Makes 3 large hallot

More a cake than a bread, this halla is perfect for the holidays.

✔ 50 gr. fresh yeast or 1 sachet dry “shimrit”
✔ 3⁄4 cup sugar
✔ 2 cups + 2 Tbsp. cold milk
✔ 1 kg. flour
✔ 2 eggs
✔ 150 gr. butter, cut into cubes
✔ 1 level Tbsp. salt
✔ 1⁄2 cup dark raisins
✔ 1⁄2 cup light raisins
✔ 1 egg for brushing

Prepare batter:

Place yeast and sugar in a mixer bowl and dissolve in cold milk.

Add flour, eggs and butter and mix with kneading hook about 10 minutes on medium- low speed until smooth.

Add salt and knead 1 more minute. Add raisins and knead until evenly spread in the batter.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or moist kitchen towel and leave to rise about 1 hour.

Take out of the bowl, divide to 6 parts, roll each part into a 30-cm long “sausage.” Shape the hallot using 2 parts for each.

Place in paper-lined baking sheets, cover with kitchen towels and let rise for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 175º, brush hallot with beaten egg and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden in color.


Makes two 25-cm long loaves

Add cardamom to your apple cake, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

✔ 3 large eggs
✔ 3⁄4 cup white sugar
✔ 3⁄4 cup light brown sugar
✔ 21⁄2 cups flour
✔ 1 sachet baking powder
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
✔ 1⁄4 tsp. cardamon
✔ 1 cup sour cream (200 gr.)
✔ 50 gr. melted butter
✔ 2 green apples, peeled and cubed
✔ 1 cup chopped pecan nuts

Heat oven to 170º and grease pans with oil.

Beat eggs with both sugars about 5 minutes at medium speed until fluffy. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamon in a separate bowl.

Change the attachment of your mixer to kneading hook and add sour cream and flour mixture, alternating the two. Add melted butter while kneading. Then add the apples and nuts and mix only until smooth.

Pour into baking dishes and smooth top.

Bake about 45 minutes or until done.


Add 1⁄4 tsp. dry ground ginger or 1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves to the flour mixture. For a fluffier texture, sift dry ingredients just before mixing into batter.


Makes 12 muffins

The combination of orange and pistachios is refreshing and makes these muffins perfect for breaking the fast.

✔ 2 eggs
✔ 1⁄4 cup canola oil
✔ 1⁄4 cup orange juice
✔ Zest of 1 orange
✔ 1 cup flour
✔ 1⁄3 cup sugar substitute
✔ 1 sachet baking powder
✔ Halved pistachio for garnish
✔ 1⁄4 cup shelled pistachio

Heat oven to 180º. Grease a muffin tin with oil. Beat eggs in a bowl, add oil, juice and zest and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

Pour egg mixture into the dry mixture and mix until smooth. Add pistachio and mix a little. Pour into the baking tin, up to 2⁄3 deep.

Sprinkle a few halved pistachio nuts on each muffin.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until done but not dry. Keeps in an airtight jar up to 3 days.

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