Treats for Independence Day

Vanilla cream cake (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Vanilla cream cake
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
For a few weeks now I’ve been mulling over ideas for this week’s special 70th Independence Day column. Naturally, I kept coming back to desserts – tall, colorful cakes decorated with Israeli symbols – or fun, simple cakes full of fruit and chocolate.
But nothing really got me very excited. So I went back in my mind to the 1970s and 1980s and thought about all the cakes and dishes that were popular in cafés and at weddings in those days.
In the end, I picked two savory dishes and two desserts that I remember fondly, which I think are particularly fitting for Israel’s 70th birthday. I’ve left the recipes exactly as they were, without making any alterations that would modernize them.
The first dish is a Waldorf Salad, which was served at every wedding in those days. This was one of the first dishes to be served in Israel that combined fruit and vegetables in the same bowl. Other such juxtapositions included Chicken à l’orange or chicken cooked with Coca-Cola. The second dish is puff-pastry cups filled with chicken and mushroom sauce.
In the dessert category, the most popular items were cream cakes, especially the Black Forest cake that had layers and layers of cream inside and out. While I was searching through archives, I came upon articles I wrote for Ma’ariv back in 1984 and 1985, and I couldn’t resist using the old photos I took back in the day, which come with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Happy birthday, Israel!
Makes six to eight servings.
3 Granny Smith apples
Juice from ½ to 1 lemon
5 or 6 slices of canned pineapple slices, drained
5 stalks of large, American-style celery
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2-3 Tbsp. pineapple juice (from can)
1 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
Peel and cut out apple cores. Cut into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle lemon juice on top and mix (the lemon juice will preserve the brightness of apple pieces and prevent them from browning).
Cut the canned pineapple into small pieces and add to bowl. Clean celery well and remove fibers. Cut into small pieces about the same shape and size as the apple slices and add to bowl. Drain out all the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add the mayonnaise, pineapple juice and walnuts. Mix well and serve.
You can prepare pastries yourself or purchase prepared puffs in the freezer section of stores.
Makes 12 to 16 portions.
Filling and sauce
3 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
2 large onions, chopped coarsely
300 gr. chicken gizzards, cooked in water until soft, drained and cut into small pieces
300 gr. chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1 large package mushrooms, cut into strips
1 Tbsp. onion soup powder
½ Tbsp. chicken soup powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ Tbsp. turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. cornflour
¾ to 1 cup water
Pastry dough
A 400-gr. package of ready-made pastry puffs
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion until it turns golden brown. Add the chicken pieces and fry until they change color. Add gizzards and mushrooms and fry for three to four minutes. Add the soup powder, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix cornflour with water, then add to pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To prepare pastry puffs from a roll of pastry, roll out pastry and then use a small glass to cut out circles with a 10-cm. diameter. On half of the circles, cut out another circle with an 8-cm. diameter. On greased baking paper, place the 10-cm. circles and brush them lightly with water and then place the rings cut out from the other half of the circles on top. Press down lightly.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to high for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
If you bought a package of prepared puffs, follow directions on packaging.
Just before serving, pour a couple spoonfuls of filling onto each puff.
The name of the Sabrina Cake comes from the French savarin sponge cake made with rum that is topped with cream. The easy version of this cake became extremely popular in Israel in the ’70s and ’80s.
Makes 18 to 24 individualized cakes.
5 medium eggs
¾ cup sugar
1¾ cups flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Oil spray
Metal cupcake holders
Icing bag with serrated tip
2½ cups water
1 cup sugar
2 drops lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. rum
Filling and topping
A 250-ml. container of sweet cream (if you like a lot of cream, you can add another half container)
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 cup of red jam diluted with a little water (to make it easier to spread)
With an electric mixer, whip entire eggs. After stiff peaks appear, slowly and gradually add sugar. Mix for eight minutes until light and fluffy.
Fold in one-third of the flour, baking powder and vanilla. Mix. Add the second third, mix and then the last third, and mix. Transfer to an icing bag. Lightly spray the cupcake holders with oil. Cut off end of icing bag and fill cupcake holders so that they are ¾ full.
In an oven that was preheated to 180°, bake cakes for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. You can also check to see if a toothpick comes out dry. Cool.
To prepare syrup, add all the ingredients to a pot and cook for 15 minutes until syrup starts to become a little sticky.
Whip cream with a mixer. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
Remove each cupcake from holder and turn them all upside down so that the flat side is facing up. Take a knife and make a deep incision in each cupcake, but don’t cut all the way through. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of syrup on top of each Sabrina (or more if you want). Spread a layer of red jam on top of each Sabrina.
Add whipped cream to icing bag with serrated tip. Open up each incision and squirt in cream.
Makes two cakes.
4 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
½ cup + 1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 container sweet cream
1 cup milk
1 package instant vanilla pudding
A 120 gr. package of sweetened cherries, or fresh fruit such as strawberries or kiwifruit
1¼ cups coconut flakes
Icing bag with serrated tip
Whip entire eggs with electric mixer. When stiff peaks form, slowly and gradually add sugar and vanilla sugar. Mix for five minutes until light and fluffy.
Add flour and baking powder and mix gently. Add oil and vanilla and mix gently.
Line a pan with baking paper and pour in batter and flatten. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Let cake completely cool before rolling up. Remove cake from paper as you roll up cake into a tight roll.
With an electric mixer, whip the sweet cream with the milk and instant pudding until smooth. Transfer half of the cream to an icing bag with a serrated tip. Open the cake and spread the other half of the cream on top. Sprinkle with cherries or fresh fruit and roll back up tightly.
Decorate top of cake by squeezing cream in swirls. Put a cherry in the middle of each swirl. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. Store in fridge until serving.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.