Soon we will all be sitting together in our succot, that are decorated with the seven species and colored paper chains, welcoming the ushpizin (guests) as they join us for Succot meals. Eating seems to be the focus of all of our holidays (except for Yom Kippur, of course), and Succot is a great time to cook up some scrumptious hot stews since they stay warm in the pot as we serve them in the evening in our succot.This week I’m hosting pastry chef Muriel Uzan and focusing on unique desserts, some of which are easy to make and others that are a little more sophisticated.Although Uzan is a registered nurse and has a master’s degree in public administration, she has chosen to focus her energy these days on baking.Uzan says she didn’t choose to be a pastry chef, but that it chose her. She studied at the Lenotre Culinary Institute in France and loves preparing desserts that follow clean, straight lines and creating unique concoctions for events and special occasions.She also offers workshops for groups and loves to learn new tips from world experts whenever she has the time. Uzan has rated her recipes from very easy to medium, so that everyone has something to choose from.Chocolate nut yeast cakeLevel of difficulty – easy Makes 5 loaf pans Ingredients:■ 1 kg. flour, sifted■ 4 eggs ■ 200 gr. sugar ■ 2 or 3 drops vanilla extract■ 30 gr. dry yeast ■ 300 ml. milk ■ 250 gr. butter (room temperature) cut into cubes ■ Pinch of salt Filling: ■ 2 containers (350 gr.) chocolate spread■ 200 gr. pecans or almonds, chopped coarsely Glaze:■ 100 gr. nappage (transparent jelly glaze for fruit and cakes) Decoration:■ ½ cup nuts, halvedIn the bowl of an electric mixer, add all the ingredients except for the butter and salt. Using a kneading hook, mix for five minutes. Add the butter and salt and mix for another eight minutes. Transfer dough to a bowl. Place bowl in a warm spot and let dough rise until it doubles in volume.Separate dough into five balls. Roll out each on a lightly floured surface into a 30 cm. by 30 cm. square. Spread a generous amount of chocolate spread on top, sprinkle with chopped nuts and then roll up into a loaf. Make one long cut down the middle and then twist the two parts together and lay inside the greased loaf pan. Prepare the other four cakes in the same way. Let rise for another 90 minutes.Sprinkle with halved nuts.Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°-200° for 25 minutes. Brush immediately with nappage after taking out of oven. Maple pecan cakeDifficulty level – very easy Makes 1 cake + 5 small cupcakesIngredients: ■ 2 eggs ■ 100 gr. brown (demerara) sugar■ 100 ml. oil ■ 100 ml. orange juice ■ 50 ml. maple syrup ■ 1 tsp. high quality vanilla extract ■ 140 gr. flour, sifted■2 Tbsp. (16 gr.) cornflour ■ ½ tsp. baking powder ■ 50 gr. pecans, chopped coarselySyrup: ■ 100 ml. maple■ 50 ml. water Decoration: ■ ¼ cup nappage or apricot jelly diluted with a little water Topping: ■ 50 gr. roasted walnuts ■ 50 gr. caramelized nuts With an electric mixer, whip the eggs with the sugar for five minutes until peaks become stiff. In a separate bowl, mix oil, orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla. In a second bowl, mix the flour, cornflour and baking powder.Lower the speed of the mixer and add the liquid and dry mixtures intermittently. Mix until smooth.Fold in pecans gently.Grease and line a loaf pan with baking paper. Pour in most of the batter, and then use the rest to make cupcakes.Bake in a pre-heated oven (170°) for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry and clean.To make the syrup, heat the maple and water in a pot and then brush the cake with it immediately upon taking cake out of oven. Let it cool.Heat nappage or diluted apricot jelly and brush on cake (nappage will function like glue). Place a number of different sized circles on the cake (see image).You can use any round object, such as bottle tops.In a food processor, grind walnuts and caramelized nuts and then cover the cake with them. Remove the circles and serve.Petits Fours Lotus brownies Difficulty level – medium Use a 5-cm. diameter half-ball mold silicone tray. Ingredients: ■ 50 gr. butter ■ 100 gr. brown (demerara) sugar ■ 70 gr. bittersweet chocolate ■ 90 ml. milk ■ 1 egg ■ 60 gr. flour, sifted ■ ½ cup crumbled Lotus cookiesIcing: ■ 200 gr. bittersweet chocolate ■ 2 Tbsp. oil ■ 2 Tbsp. caramelized nuts, choppedLotus mousse: ■ 80 gr. lotus cream ■ 15 gr. cocoa butter ■ 5 gr. gelatin dissolved in 25 ml. cold water■ 120 ml. 38% sweet cream ■ 230 ml. 38% sweet creamDecoration:Ready-made chocolate disks or chocolate crunch balls In a medium-sized pot, melt butter, sugar, chocolate and milk. Mix until smooth. Cool for two minutes. While mixing very quickly, add eggs. Fold in the flour and mix until smooth.Pour mixture into half balls in silicone tray. Sprinkle with lotus cookie crumbs. Bake in a pre-heated oven (180°) for 18 minutes. Cool and freeze.To prepare icing, melt chocolate and oil in a microwave. Mix until smooth. Add the caramelized nuts. Mix.Take the half-balls out of freezer and stick a toothpick in the center of each one. Dip them in the melted chocolate and then lay them on baking paper.To make the mousse, put the lotus cream, cocoa butter and gelatin in a medium-sized bowl.Heat 120 ml. of sweet cream. Just before it boils, pour cream over lotus mixture and mix with an immersion blender. Add the 230 ml. of sweet cream and blend. Cover and store in fridge for seven hours or overnight.Transfer cream to an electric blender bowl and whip until stiff and smooth. Spoon into a startipped icing bag and make spirals on brownies. Decorate with chocolate disks or crunch balls.Translated by Hannah Hochner.