Pascale’s Kitchen: Post-fast treats

This year, I’m bringing you four recipes for cookies, cake and jam that you can eat immediately after the Yom Kippur fast ends. 

 Biscotten torte (sponge cake) (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Biscotten torte (sponge cake)
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Every year at the end of Yom Kippur, after we’ve heard the shofar and the fast is finally over, my family gathers together at the dining room table as we slowly sip our warm drinks. Then, we eat cookies and cakes with jam to stabilize our blood sugar levels. We only start eating our post-fast meal a couple of hours later. At that meal, I usually serve a light soup, such as clear chicken broth with noodles or kreplach, and then for the next course, chicken and cooked vegetables. 

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This year, I’m bringing you four recipes for cookies, cake and jam that you can eat immediately after the fast ends

The first recipe is for a torte, which is a light sponge cake also known as biscotten, leikach or zucker leikach. In Tunis, the biscotten cake was baked in a type of Wonder Pot in the oven. In Polish and Romanian cuisine, the leikach was also baked in a special tall pan. All of these sponge cakes are incredibly light and airy and are perfect sprinkled with powdered sugar and eaten with a hot cup of tea. 

The second recipe is for rifat cookies, which are made with fennel seeds. These Moroccan cookies are commonly eaten during the week with a cup of lemon verbena herbal tea. Over the years, I’ve found that this cookies and tea combination is perfect for after the Yom Kippur fast. You’ll see in the following description that I’ve described the traditional way of making these cookies with a serrated dough cutter. They look so amazing stacked on a platter placed in the center of the table so everyone can break off a piece to eat. 

 Rifat fennel cookies (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Rifat fennel cookies (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The third recipe is for tahini and silan cake, which is one of my all-time favorites. The juxtaposition of tahini, silan and cream is just incredible. 

The fourth recipe is for quince jam, which I included in my column a few years ago and am including here once again since I’ve had so many requests to repost this recipe. I like preparing it for eating before the break-the-fast meal after Yom Kippur, since this is the time of year when quince can most easily be found in markets. To soften the fruit, I recommend chopping them into pieces, cutting out the core and seeds, and then soaking them in water for a day or two. If the quinces are top quality, it’s enough to soak them for a few hours. The quince jam comes out sweet and thick.

May we all be inscribed for a good year. 

Biscotten torte (sponge cake)

Use a Wonder Pot with a diameter of 24 cm. or 26 cm.

  • 5 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 cups (350 gr.) flour
  • 2 cups (350 gr.) sugar
  • 30 gr. chopped almonds
  • 1 packet baking powder

Whip the eggs and the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl (by hand or with an electric mixer). Slowly add the sugar and water. 

Fold in the flour gently. Fold in the almonds and baking powder gently. 

Grease a Wonder Pot and pour the batter into it. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to medium heat for 40 minutes. 

Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 1 hourStatus: Parve

Rifat fennel cookies

Makes 40 small rectangular or 6 large round cookies.

  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water or orange juice
  • 1 ¼ cups oil
  • 4 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. whole fennel seeds
  • 2 packets baking powder
  • 1 kg. flour, sifted
  • 3 eggs

Pour the sugar and water into a pot and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, sesame and fennel seeds and mix well. 

Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed. Form a well in the center and add the eggs. While mixing, gradually add the dissolved sugar. Mix until smooth. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little flour. If it’s too crumbly, you can add a little water. 

Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is ½ cm thick. Use a plate to cut out six circles with a 20 cm. diameter with a serrated dough cutter. Then make three light cuts in each circle so there are six “pizza slices,” but make sure the circle remains intact. Alternatively, you can cut out strips that are 6 cm. x 10 cm. Dock all the cookies with the tines of a fork. 

Arrange the cookies on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180°. Let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container. 

Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 50 minutesStatus: Parve 

Tahini and silan cake

Use a 30 cm. loaf pan.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 7 Tbsp. raw tahini
  • 1/3 cup silan (date honey)
  • 1 container sweet whipping cream
  • 1 ½ cups flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Toppings:

  • ½ cup almonds slivers
  • ½ cup string or shredded halva 

Syrup:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. almond rosetta syrup

Whip the eggs with the sugar with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. 

In a small bowl, mix the tahini with the silan until creamy and there aren’t any lumps. Add the tahini mixture to the eggs and whip until mixed well. 

Add the cream and whip until smooth. 

In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder. Gently fold in one-third of the flour mixture, then another third, then the last third. 

Pour the batter into a greased pan. Sprinkle the almonds and halva on top, then bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with crumbs on it. Make sure not to over-bake so that the cake does not become too dry. 

To prepare the syrup: Heat the water and sugar in an uncovered small pot over high heat, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and add the almond syrup. Stir, then let it cool. Pour the syrup over the cake while the cake is still hot. Let the cake cool for one hour. 

Level of difficulty: Easy-mediumTime: 75 minutesStatus: Dairy

 Quince Jam (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Quince Jam (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Quince jam

Makes 1 liter jar.

  • 1 kg. quince 
  • ½ kg. (2½ - 3 cups) sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 4 cinnamon sticks

Clean and rinse the quince skins. Slice the quince into ½ cm-thick slices. Cut out the core and seeds, then place the pieces in a bowl of water and let them soak for 4 hours so they can soften before cooking. 

Add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a large pot. Cook over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Then, add the cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. 

Drain the quince slices and add them to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook over a medium-high heat for 1 hour or until the fruit has softened and turned golden. If you want your jam to be thicker and darker, you can cook it for up to another 1½ hours uncovered. Let the jam cool. Store in a jar. 

Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 2 hours + soaking timeStatus: Parve

Translated by Hannah Hochner.