Pascale’s Kitchen: Festive Sukkot apple desserts

After the last couple of weeks of preparing festive dishes for the High Holy Days, it’s time to prepare special apple desserts that are perfect for serving in the sukkah.

  APPLE PIE with whipped cream. (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
APPLE PIE with whipped cream.
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

While there aren’t any specific foods or dishes connected with Sukkot, the holiday falls during one of the Land of Israel’s harvest periods, so it is customary to make dishes using vegetables and fruits, both raw and cooked, that ripen in the early autumn. And you can make sweet salad dressings using pomegranate seeds, raisins, dates and figs. 

After the last couple of weeks of preparing festive dishes for the High Holy Days, it’s time to prepare special apple desserts that are perfect for serving in the sukkah. In general, there are three types of apples that are commonly found in stores here – hard, crunchy and soft. Granny Smith, for example, which originated in Australia, is a firm apple that has a light green skin and a tart, acidic flavor. On the other hand, the Grand Alexander is a sweet apple with a yellow base and red color on top. Red Delicious apples, which hail from North America, have a dark and intense crimson color and are sweet. Other types of apples include Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Gala and Pink Lady.

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The first recipe I’m bringing you this week is for apple tartlets with almond cream, honey and allspice. This impressive-looking dessert is actually quite easy to make. Each person gets their own personal tartlet made from puff pastry filled with almond cream, slices of apple that are sweetened with honey and flavored with allspice. 

The second recipe is for apple cake that does not require much time at all to prepare. It also freezes well, so you can make it ahead of time. You can add dried fruits or nuts, as well as cinnamon and cloves. 

The third recipe is for apple pie with whipped cream. The filling is creamy, the crust is light and crispy, and the chopped almonds add great flavor. All of these ingredients combine to make a fabulous festive apple pie. 

 APPLE TARTLETS with almond cream, honey and allspice. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) APPLE TARTLETS with almond cream, honey and allspice. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The last recipe is for an extremely famous apple dessert: tarte Tatin. You begin by preparing the apple slices in a caramel sauce, then pour the batter on top of the apple mixture, and flip it over onto a serving platter once it has finished baking. 

Each recipe included here has a different level of difficulty, and some of them can be made parve or dairy, according to your needs. 

Apple tartlets with almond cream, honey and allspice

Makes 6 mini tartlets.

Crust: 

  • 200 gr. puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Filling: 

  • 100 gr. (1 cup) ground almonds
  • 100 gr. cold butter or margarine, cut into cubes 
  • 100 gr. (1/2 cup) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ - 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. instant pudding powder

Apples: 

  • 3 Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Spiced honey:

  • 3-4 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
  • ¼ cup dark honey
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice 

Toppings:

  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds

To prepare the crust: Flour your work surface and then roll out the puff pastry until it’s ½ cm thick. Line your greased tartlet pans or a muffin pan with the dough. Press it down into the pans. Brush the dough with the beaten egg, then place it in the freezer for 30-40 minutes. 

To prepare the almond cream filling: Add the almonds, butter (or margarine), sugar and salt to a food processor, and blend until mixture is crumbly. Add the egg, cinnamon and vanilla pudding powder and blend until mixture is creamy. 

Peel and core the apples, then slice thinly. Add the apple pieces to a bowl and add the lemon juice. Set aside. 

To prepare the spiced honey: Mix the melted butter (or margarine) with the honey. 

Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each frozen tartlet. Arrange the apple slices on top so that they completely cover the filling. Drizzle the honey mixture on top generously, then sprinkle on the allspice. 

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 20-30 minutes or until the dough turns golden brown and the apple pieces have softened. 

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle more honey on top and serve with pomegranate seeds. 

Level of difficulty: Easy-mediumTime: 30-40 minutes Status: Dairy/parve

 APPLE CAKE. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) APPLE CAKE. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Apple cake

Makes 2 loaf pans 10 cm. x 30 cm., or 1 rectangular pan. 

  • 2 cups of apple pieces
  • 100 gr. raisins
  • ½ cup sweet red wine
  • 2 Tbsp. Cognac 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 packet baking powder
  • ½ cup sugared pecans, coarsely chopped

Topping: 

  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Mix the apple pieces, raisins, wine and Cognac together in a bowl and let mixture sit for 30 minutes. 

Mix the eggs, sugar and oil together in a mixer until mixture is light and airy.

Turn the speed down to low and add the flour, baking powder and pecans. 

Fold the apple mixture into the egg mixture, then pour the batter into the pan(s).

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. 

Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

Level of difficulty: Easy-mediumTime: 30-40 minutes Status: Parve

Apple pie with whipped cream

Use a 26 cm. diameter pan.

Dough:

  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 100 gr. butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar

Filling:

  • 5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 4 Tbsp. demerara sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. instant vanilla pudding powder

Icing: 

  • 1 ½ containers (375 ml.) sweet whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar

Topping:

  • ¾ cup almonds, chopped

To prepare the dough: Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor until it’s smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour. 

Take the dough out of the fridge, roll it out into a circle and then press it down into the pan. Poke holes in the dough with a fork. 

Bake the dough in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 20 minutes until it has turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool down. 

Add the apple pieces, sugar, water and lemon juice to a pot and cook until the apple pieces have softened. Mash the apple with the liquid, then add the pudding powder and stir. Transfer the apple mixture onto the cooled crust and then place in the fridge. 

Whip the cream with an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar until well mixed. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag with a serrated tip. 

Squeeze cream onto the apple mixture. Top with chopped almonds. Place in the fridge for 3-4 hours to let the pie set. 

Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 30-40 minutesStatus: Dairy

 TARTE TATIN. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) TARTE TATIN. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Tarte Tatin

Use a 28 cm. diameter, oven-safe pan.

Dough: 

  • 1 ¼ cups flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 115 gr. cold butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup ice water

Filling: 

  • 6 Granny Smith apples
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cold water
  • 60 gr. butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

To prepare the dough: Use a mixer with a steel blade to blend the flour, salt and sugar for a few seconds. Then add the butter and process for 10 seconds until the dough is crumbly. Gradually add the water, and process for 30 seconds until the dough is just mixed. (Don’t overmix, as that will reduce the crust’s flakiness.) Form the dough into a ball, then flatten it a bit and cover with plastic wrap. Set it in the fridge for at least an hour. 

To prepare the filling: Peel and core the apples, then cut into quarters. Reserve one apple half to place in the center of the tart. Add the sugar and water to a pan and bring to a boil over a high heat. Then lower the heat to medium and cook until the sugar turns amber. (Don’t stir the sugar, just shake the pot a bit every once in a while.) Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter. 

Place the half apple in the center of the pan. Arrange the apple quarters in concentric circles in the pan, with the round sides facing down. Cook for 20 minutes over a low heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat. 

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a circle on a floured surface so that the circumference is a tad larger than that of the frying pan. Place the dough circle on top of the apples in the pan, and press the extra dough around the edge down into the pan. 

Place the pan in an oven that has been preheated to 190° (you can cover the handle with foil) for 15-20 minutes until the crust has browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. 

Place a serving plate upside down on top of the tart, then flip it over. Serve immediately. 

Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 40-50 minutes Status: Dairy/parve

Translated by Hannah Hochner.