Sukkot delicacies

Tishrei is my favorite month by far, since there are so many holidays and therefore opportunities to cook and bake a variety of delicacies for friends and families.

Sukkot recipes (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Sukkot recipes
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Tishrei is my favorite month by far, since there are so many holidays and therefore opportunities to cook and bake a variety of delicacies for friends and families. Now that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have passed, it is time to look forward to leaving our homes and spending time in our temporary sukkot, which we’ve decorated with the seven species and into which we welcome the ushpizin, the seven supernatural guests.
The foods we serve for Sukkot should be warm dishes that will not cool down too quickly, since they will be eaten outside in the sukkah. Stuffed vegetables work well, such as stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage rolls or stuffed peppers and squash.
Below, you’ll find three recipes for dishes that involve stuffed or filled foods. The first one is a pastilla chicken pie, which features prominently in Moroccan cuisine. It is traditionally prepared using handmade cigar pastry dough, but you can certainly use store-bought dough, too. In the pictures included here, you can see the different textures of the two types. The pastilla filling is made from shredded pullet, nuts, raisins, almonds and herbs. The top is sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
The second dish is a grape leaf pie baked in a loaf pan. It includes beef, rice and sunflower seeds. The third dish is a delicate strudel made with apples or quince.
Pastilla chicken pie
Use a 22-cm diameter pan.
150 g peeled almonds
100 g walnuts
150 g raisins
½ cup olive oil
3 large onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. salt
½ Tbsp. black pepper
500 g pullet, cut into thin strips
½ Tbsp. cinnamon
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp. ginger, peeled and chopped
2-3 strands of saffron, crushed (optional)
2-3 Tbsp. honey or sugar (depending on how sweet you want dish to be)
1 package filo dough or 10-12 homemade dough cigar sheets
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 egg yolk, to help secure the dough
½ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
Add the almonds, walnuts and raisins to a blender. Pulse to blend. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and blend until crumbly. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat the rest of the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Sauté until golden. Add the salt and pepper and mix well.
Turn up the flame and add the pullet strips. Sauté on all sides until browned well. Add the cinnamon, parsley, cilantro and ginger. Taste and adjust seasoning. Let cool.
Transfer the mixture to the blender, add the saffron and mix until coarse. Alternatively, you can shred the pullet pieces.
Mix well and add the honey or sugar and mix.
Grease two 22 cm diameter pans or one 30-32 cm diameter pan. Line the pans with the dough, leaving extra dough hanging over the edge. Pour the mixture on top and sprinkle with the sliced almonds. Fold edge of dough over the pie and add more dough to cover the top. Brush with egg yolk to seal.
Bake for 30 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180° until golden brown. Let cool and then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Time: 20 minutes
Type: Meat
Stuffed grape leaf pie
Use a 30 cm x 9 cm x 12 cm loaf pan.
14-26 grape leaves from a can, rinsed well or fresh leaves
2 cups of basmati rice, soaked for 60 minutes in water with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, rinsed and drained
¾ cup olive oil
4 onions, chopped coarsely
400 g ground beef
50 g pine nuts
50 g roasted sunflower seeds
50 g pistachios, peeled
50 g unsweetened cranberries
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup chopped mint
½ cup chopped parsley
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Baharat
1 large egg
1 cup water
Line two loaf pans with two layers of grape leaves, leaving them hanging over side of pan, plus another few leaves to place on top.
Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion until they turn translucent. Add the rice and beef and mix until the meat turns gray. Add the pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pistachios and cranberries. Sauté and then add the lemon juice, herbs, salt and Baharat. Mix and then remove from the flame. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the egg and mix well.
Pour into the loaf pan on top of the grape leaves and cover with more grape leaves. Press down. Drizzle the water on top and sides. Add another layer of grape leaf and seal well. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 35-40 minutes.
Take a serving platter and place it upside down on top of pan. Gently flip over the pan and plate together so that the grape leaf pie is now sitting upside down on top of the serving platter.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Time: 20 minutes
Type: Meat
Makes 2 loaves.
4 cups flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. soybean oil
¾-1 cup water, at room temperature (depending on absorption of flour)
Oil for dough
Plastic wrap
3 Tbsp. dark rum
1 cup dark raisins
2 kg red apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly (or quince that were softened ahead of time)
1 cup sugar
2 packets vanilla sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Juice from 2 lemons
125 g melted butter
125 g bread crumbs or biscuit crumbs
½ cup powdered sugar
Add the flour to the bowl of an electric mixer. While mixing, add the salt, oil and water. Mix well. Cover the ball of dough with oil and wrap with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 1 hour.
Soak the raisins in the rum. Put the apple slices in a bowl and pour sugar, vanilla sugar, the soaked and drained raisins, cinnamon and lemon juice on top. Mix well.
Roll out the dough until its super thin by using your palms. Carefully keep stretching it. Place it on a cloth and stretch it even more.
Brush with melted butter and then sprinkle with bread or biscuit crumbs (not along edges). Add the apple mixture and then roll up into a strudel.
Place strudel on a lined baking tray and brush with melted butter. Bake for ten minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 200° and then lower to 180° and bake for another 40 minutes.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Time: 20 minutes
Type: Vegetarian
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Text and styling: Pascale Perez-Rubin