Pascale's Kitchen: Lots of honey for a sweet year

We dip slices of apple in honey, which signifies our hope that the new year will be sweet. It is also traditional to use honey in all of the dishes we eat at the New Year feast.

 Spiced honey cake (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Spiced honey cake
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

“May you have a sweet New Year”: This is how we greet each other at the dinner table on the first night of Rosh Hashanah.

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We dip slices of apple in honey, which signifies our hope that the new year will be sweet. It is also traditional to use honey in all of the dishes we eat at the New Year feast.

This week, I bring you three recipes that are all sweetened using honey. This has been a difficult year, due to the pandemic, and we can all use a bit of sweetness in our lives. The way we go about our day and how we celebrate the holidays are different now and full of uncertainty. The best way I’ve found to counteract these troubles is by adding lots of honey to my Rosh Hashanah menu.

Honey is made from nectar, which is the sugary juice that collects in the heart of flowers. When you go to buy honey in a store, you will find that there are so many different varieties to choose from, each with its own texture, flavor and aroma. Each honey is different as a result of the unique terroir or environmental factors in which the flowers grow, including climate and soil, in a similar way to how varieties of grapes grown in different locations are used to produce many types of wine.

When it comes to honey, its flavor depends on what region the bees live in, what types of flowers they gathered nectar from and the type of soil in which the flowers grew. Some honeys are made from nectar found in a few different types of flowers.

I didn’t want to include only pictures of jars of honey in the Magazine this week, so I asked Yarden Sharon, who is a beekeeper, if he would be so kind as to send me one of his honey challot – for which he is famous – and he did.

The honey he used on this challah came from the nectar of jujube flowers. Along with the challah, Sharon also sent me a description of the nutritional properties of jujube flower honey. Apparently, eating one teaspoon a day of jujube flower honey can keep us strong and healthy as we embark on the new year.

Below, you will find three recipes that all include honey. The first one is a fusion of baklava, which hails from Balkan cuisine, together with the Moroccan pastilla. But instead of being filled with meat or nuts, it is filled with dried fruits mixed with nuts. And instead of being covered with syrup or powdered sugar, it is brushed with honey.

The second recipe is for a traditional spiced honey cake, which calls for coffee, and can be baked in any size or shape pan you desire: loaf pan, round springform pan or even in muffin tray.

The amount of honey you add will affect the texture and color of your cake – the more honey you use, the darker and denser the cake will be.

Don’t forget to add extra ingredients, such as nuts, raisins, dates or apples, to the cake to make it extra special. Just remember that if you add fruit to the cake, it should be stored in the fridge.

The third recipe is for pull-apart buns, which are called churag in Iraqi cuisine, kazinak in Turkish, Balkan and Romanian cuisine, arani galushkeh in Hungarian and shurik in Egyptian cuisine. The differences between all of these versions are minor.

May we all enjoy a sweet new year, full of joy and happiness.

Shana Tova u’metuka!

Honey challot (NIS 180) can be ordered from Yarden Sharon, 052-583-0480.


Use a Wonder Pot or 2 loaf pans.

¾ cup oil¾ cup sugar4 eggs1 cup honey1 level tsp. ground cloves1 tsp. ground cinnamon½ tsp. ground ginger3 cups spelt flour, sifted1 packet baking powder1 level tsp. baking soda½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped½ cup raisins1 cup prepared instant coffee


½ cup nuts, chopped¼ cup sugar crystals½ tsp. cinnamon

Add the oil, sugar, eggs and honey to a large bowl. Mix well by hand or with an electric mixer.

Add the cloves, cinnamon, ginger, flour, baking powder, baking soda and nuts. Mix well.

Add the cup of prepared coffee to the mixture and mix well.

Grease a Wonder Pot or loaf pans and pour the batter inside. Mix the toppings together and sprinkle on top. Bake for 1 hour in an oven that has been preheated to 180° or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.

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

 Filo dough with dried fruits. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Filo dough with dried fruits. (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)


Makes 25-30 pastries.

6 sheets of filo dough


2 cups dried fruits, chopped finely1 cup pecans or pistachios, ground finely½ cup peanuts, ground finely1 cup almonds, ground finely½ cup sugar2 Tbsp. lemon juice1 Tbsp. zest from an orange½ tsp. cinnamonButter flavor oil spray

Honey mixture:

¾ cup honey2-3 drops lukewarm water½ tsp. citrus concentrate, optional


½ cup pistachio, finely ground

Place the filo dough in fridge to defrost. Place the chopped dried fruits in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix all the nuts, sugar, lemon juice, zest and cinnamon together.

Spread a sheet of filo dough on your work surface and spray lightly with oil. Spread a second sheet on top of the first one, then cut the filo dough into four squares and spray them with oil. Do the same with the other filo dough sheets.

Spray a muffin pan with oil and then line each muffin cavity with one of the dough squares, with the corners hanging over the edge. Add the filling on top of dough. Use leftover dough pieces to cover the filling, and then fold over corners on top of muffins.

Spray each muffin with oil, then bake for 40 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180° or until muffins have turned golden brown.

In a bowl, mix the honey with the water and add the citrus concentrate if desired.

Take the muffin tray out of the oven and transfer the muffins to a serving platter. Brush with honey mixture (you don’t need to add water to mixture if you prefer thick honey). Sprinkle pistachios on top.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 1 hour.Status: Parve.

 Pull-apart buns (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Pull-apart buns (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)


Use a 27 cm. x 35 cm. pan.

25 gr. fresh yeast½ cup water1 Tbsp. sugarA bit of flour½ kg. flour, sifted¾ cup sugar3 eggs3 Tbsp. oil1 packet vanilla sugar1-1½ cups water100 gr. butter or margarine, softened and cut into medium pieces½-1 tsp. turmeric½ tsp. salt100 gr. light raisins

Butter topping:

50 gr. butter or margarine, melted

Egg wash:

1 egg, beaten with a little water or oil¼ cup sesame seedsHoney mixture:¾ cup honey2-3 drops lukewarm water1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, add yeast, sugar and water. Cover and let yeast dissolve and bubble for 15 minutes.

Place the flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Form a well in the center and add the sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla sugar and dissolved yeast mixture. Mix, and while mixing gradually, add the water, butter, turmeric, salt and raisins. Mix well.

Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and let the dough rise for 60-90 minutes until the dough has doubled in volume.

Grease a rectangular pan. Knead the dough again and punch out all the air. Form balls with a 3- or 4-cm. diameter from the dough. Brush each ball with melted oil and place on the baking tray. Place the balls on the tray so that they are all touching each other. Brush with egg wash, then let the buns rise again for 30 minutes.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180°.

Prepare the honey mixture and brush buns with honey the moment they come out of the oven.

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 2.5 hours.Status: Parve or dairy.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.