Pascale’s Kitchen: Hot stuff from the tabun

Over the last few months, I’ve been enjoying my romance with my new tabun, which I purchased after careful consideration.

 Cooking in a Tabun (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Cooking in a Tabun
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

I love my work.

It enables me to express my creativity in the kitchen, to prepare wonderful dishes for my family and friends, and then share all the new recipes I’ve created with my dedicated readers.

For more of Pascale's recipes, click here>>

I love wandering around new markets and specialty shops, in Israel and all over the world, where I can discover new ingredients and flavors. I also love learning how to use new kitchen tools and gadgets that can make our lives easier.

Over the last few months, I’ve been enjoying my romance with my new tabun, which I purchased after careful consideration.

As with any new device, it has taken me time to learn how to use the tabun, and I have really enjoyed the trial-and-error process. One time I burned a pizza, and another time I didn’t heat the tabun properly and ended up having to clean all the soot that had made an awful mess. But with patience, I’ve managed to overcome all the bumps and navigate my way. Lately, every pizza I’ve baked on the tabun has come out beautifully. I even succeeded in baking a challah for Shabbat.

 Thick focaccia with vegetables and olive oil. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Thick focaccia with vegetables and olive oil. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

I can honestly say now that my new toy has become an essential item in my kitchen. Each time I succeed in making something new on the tabun, I get so excited, thinking this is the tastiest baked good I’ve ever made – until the next experiment comes out even better.

This week, I present a recipe for a thick focaccia that is topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, and lots of olive oil. You can prepare the same recipe with sourdough starter. If you don’t have a tabun oven, you can bake the focaccia in your regular oven at home.

The second recipe is for spicy carrots and potatoes. The spiciness comes from the harissa or pilpelchuma (chili paste) that is added to the vegetables. This surprising combination of sweet vegetables with spicy peppers is absolutely amazing. You can use multicolored carrots, which are becoming really popular, or stick to regular carrots. You can also make this recipe just with carrot strips or carrots together with quartered potatoes.

The last recipe this week is a dessert: cheese, pecan, and blueberry muffins, which are full of good, nutritious ingredients. They can be eaten when they are still warm straight out of the oven, or you can freeze them to enjoy on another occasion.

Thick Focaccia with Vegetables and Olive Oil

Makes 3 or 4 medium focaccias or 1 large one.


  • 3½ cups + 1 Tbsp. flour, sifted
  • 25 mg. yeast
  • 1¼-1½ cups water, at room temperature
  • 1 level tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil


  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1-2 spicy green peppers, cut into rings
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

Add the flour, yeast, and water to a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix the ingredients by hand or with the mixer for 2-3 minutes, then add the rest of the dough ingredients. Continue mixing until the dough falls away from the side of the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place for 30 minutes so the dough can rise.

Pull the dough from four sides and then fold it over. Let it rise again for another 30 minutes, and then pull and fold it again. Do this twice more. The last time, let the dough rise for 2 hours until it doubles in volume. The last time you let it rise, place it in an iron pot or the pan you’re going to bake it in. If you’d like to make a few medium-sized focaccias, put some oil on your hands, then separate the dough into 4 parts.

With your finger, press down into the dough in a few spots in the middle of the dough. Add the cherry tomatoes, olives, and peppers, pressing them gently into the dough. Add some rosemary leaves, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle olive oil on top.

Let the dough rise one last time for 10-15 minutes. Bake for 12-15 minutes on a tabun or in an oven that has been heated to 200°. You’ll know it’s ready when the bottom of the focaccia has turned golden brown and is crispy.

  • Level of difficulty: Medium
  • Time: 3 hours, including time for rising
  • Status: Parve

 Spicy carrots and potatoes (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Spicy carrots and potatoes (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Spicy Carrots and Potatoes

Makes 4-6 servings.

  • 5-6 large carrots, cut into strips
  • 2-3 potatoes, quartered or cut into strips
  • 3-4 (or less) Tbsp. harissa or pilpelchuma (chili paste)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4-5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the carrot strips and potatoes pieces together in a bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients, making sure the oil has been distributed evenly over all the vegetable pieces.

Transfer the vegetables to a pan and cover with a sheet of baking paper. Next, cover with a layer of aluminum foil, pressing down the edges to seal them well. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 200° for 30 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 180° and bake another 20 minutes. Remove the foil and the baking paper, then broil the vegetables for 5-7 minutes until they reach the desired level of crispiness.

  • Level of difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 75 minutes
  • Status: Parve

 Cheese, pecan, and blueberry muffins (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Cheese, pecan, and blueberry muffins (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Cheese, Pecan, and Blueberry Muffins

Makes 24 muffins.

  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
  • ½ cup demerara sugar
  • 1 packet baking powder
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ginger
  • 150 gr. white spread cheese
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • 4 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup blueberries (can be frozen)

Crumble topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • ½ cup whole wheat or white flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened

Mix the two types of flour together with the sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together. Gradually add the flour mixture into the cheese mixture. Mix well.

Grease a muffin pan or a disposable aluminum muffin pan. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan so that each section is half full.

In a bowl, mix together all the crumble toppings until it becomes crumbly, then sprinkle on top of the muffins.

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and dry.

  • Level of difficulty: Medium
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Status: Dairy

Translated by Hannah Hochner.