Holiday morning cakes

On the morning of a holiday or Shabbat, pamper your family with fresh, home baked buttery cakes. A great start to a new year or a new week.

Brioche halla (photo credit: Dan Lev)
Brioche halla
(photo credit: Dan Lev)
Apple strudel
✔ 3 defrosted phyllo pastry leaves ✔ 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced ✔ ½ cup sugar ✔ 25 gr. butter ✔ 1 vanilla pod, slit and grated ✔ ½ cup yellow raisins ✔ 2 Tbsp. canola oil ✔ ½ cup ground almonds ✔ 1 egg, beaten for brushing ✔ Powdered sugar, for garnish
To prepare filling: In a wide pot, melt butter together with vanilla. Add the apples and cook for about 1 minute, until apples are coated with butter. Add sugar and stir. Continue cooking for 7-8 more minutes until apples are tender but still keep their shape. Remove from heat, add the raisins and let cool.
Heat oven to 190°.
Lay the phyllo leaves on a clean surface. Place 2 leaves side by side, and then place the third leaf on top in the middle so it overlaps half of each of the bottom leaves. Brush the leaves with canola oil and sprinkle with almonds. Strain the apple filling well and spread on bottom part of the leaves. Roll into a 6- to 7-cm. diameter strudel.
Brush with the egg and bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden.
Let cool and sprinkle powdered sugar before serving.
Note: Strudel goes well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Honey date and almond cake
This is a very dense honey cake that will keep for days.
✔ 12⁄3 cups flour (235 gr.) ✔ 1 sachet baking powder ✔ 1 tsp. cinnamon ✔ 125 gr. soft butter ✔ 1 cup honey ✔ 1 cup sugar ✔ 1¼ cups milk (or non-dairy milk) ✔ 1 egg ✔ 3 dates, pitted and chopped ✔ 100 gr. sliced almonds
Heat oven to 170°.
In a small pot, heat the milk, honey and sugar until smooth.
Using an electric mixer with a kneading attachment, mix together butter, flour, baking powder and cinnamon until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg and honey mixture and mix until smooth. Spread the almonds on the bottom of a lined loaf pan and sprinkle the date pieces on top. Bake for 45- 50 minutes.
Note: You can use walnuts instead of almonds, and prunes instead of dates.
Brioche halla Makes 4 small loaves (No. 3 loaf pan)
This halla is heavier and richer than the regular type.
Master baker Mickey Shemo says he likes to bake it in a buttered and lightly floured baking pan and have it for the holiday breakfast with some honey or jam.
✔ 1 kg. bread flour ✔ 50 gr. fresh yeast or 1 bag granulated yeast ✔ ¼ cup cold milk ✔ ¼ cup sugar ✔ 8 large eggs ✔ 600 gr. soft butter ✔ 1 Tbsp. flour ✔ 1 bag dough improver (optional) ✔ 100 gr. raisins
For decoration: ✔ 1 egg ✔ 100 gr. sugar “pearls”
For the baking pans: ✔ 50 gr. butter ✔ 1⁄3 cup flour
Knead all the ingredients except the butter in the mixer bowl, using the kneading attachment on slow speed.
Gradually increase the speed to medium, adding the butter bit by bit until all the butter is incorporated into the dough (about 5 minutes). Add the raisins and a pinch of salt and continue kneading for 2 minutes. Total kneading time should be around 12 minutes.
Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a moist kitchen towel and let rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 20 parts and roll into balls.
Butter the baking pans and dust with flour.
Place 5 balls in each baking form. Let rise again for 90 minutes. Brush the brioche with egg, and sprinkle with sugar pearls.
Bake in a 180º degree oven for 25 minutes, until slightly browned.
Note: Do not cut the rising time short. Recipes and photos courtesy of Mickey Shemo bakeries,