Treats for Shabbat morning

Pascale's Kitchen offers recipes that can be a nice addition to dishes you’re already preparing for Shabbat with your family and friends.

Mini borekas (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Mini borekas
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Many Jewish families have a small kiddush on Shabbat morning, and some Israeli families have even gone so far as to call this meal brunch since it usually takes place in the late morning.
I usually prepare rolls in diverse forms and flavors for my family to eat Shabbat morning. Every once in a while I splurge and make a full-blown traditional Tunisian Shabbat morning meal that includes lots of small salads, eggs that have turned brown after being cooked in cholent, and stuffed meat balls.
Every community has its own special delicacies they eat on Shabbat.
Some serve lots of small salads, others eat fish or other goodies that were cooked in the cholent pot. Often this meal is accompanied by pastries, bread or special dumplings. These days, a modern version of the Shabbat morning meal is eaten in many Israeli homes.
This week, I am offering my readers recipes that can be a nice addition to dishes you’re already preparing for Shabbat with your family and friends. One dish involves puff pastry and ground beef that comes from the Balkan Sephardi tradition (vegetarians can substitute fried onion and mushrooms). If you’re short on time, you can prepare one long roll that can be cut at the table.
My children are also crazy about the small potato dish I make. The only problem is sometimes they eat so many of them straight off the hot tray that not much is left over for Shabbat morning.
And, Shabbat morning would not be complete, of course, without cake.
This week I’ve included a rich, creamy cheese cake with apricots, syrup, jello and cream.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Small potatoes with thyme
Makes 4-6 portions
■ 1 package of small potatoes ■ Leaves from 3-4 sprigs of thyme ■ Kosher salt, according to taste ■ Quality olive oil
Wash and dry the potatoes well. Cut them lengthwise and put in a bowl.
Add the thyme leaves, sprinkle with salt, and add a generous amount of olive oil until all potatoes are well covered. Pour onto a pan that is covered with baking paper. Spread out potato pieces.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180°-190° for 30 minutes.
Check potatoes, stir them around a little, and then roast for another 5-10 minutes until they come out brown and crispy.
Meat borekitas
Makes 20-22 borekitas
Borekitas, also referred to as pastelikos, are made from phyllo dough and can be filled with meat, cheese or vegetables. Whichever direction you want to take, the main idea is to fill them with spicy stuffing. Pine nuts, walnuts and raisins are also a nice addition. The meat version happens to be my favorite.
■ 4 Tbsp. oil ■ 2 large onions, finely chopped ■ 400 gr. beef, finely ground ■ 1 clove garlic, crushed ■ Salt and pepper to taste ■ ¼ cup cinnamon ■ 100 gr. pine nuts or walnuts, chopped ■ 2 Tbsp. golden raisins ■ 1 egg ■ ¼ cup parsley, chopped ■ 1 package (400 gr.) store-bought phyllo dough
Egg wash:
■ 1 egg, beaten with ½ tsp. oil
■ ½ cup sesame seeds ■ 1 Tbsp. nigella seeds
Heat oil in a wide pan and fry the onion until it’s golden brown. Add the beef, break it apart and fry until it turns gray. Cover pan and cook for 6-7 minutes over a medium flame until all the liquids have dissolved.
Add salt, pepper and cinnamon. Fry another 1-2 minutes. Remove from flame, add pine nuts, raisins, egg and parsley. Mix well.
Roll out dough on a floured working surface into a thin rectangle, and cut into 11 cm. x 11 cm. squares.
Grease a muffin pan, and place each square of dough in each muffin hole. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of meat mixture onto the center of each square. Take two diagonal corners and squeeze them together above the mixture. Then take the other two corners and press them together above the other closure. Make sure dough is completely closed around beef.
Prepare the rest of the borekitas in the same fashion. Brush with egg wash and then sprinkle with sesame and nigella seeds.
Bake at 250° for 10 minutes. The moment the borekitas begin to rise, lower the temperature to 200°, and continue baking for another 30 minutes.
Apricot cheesecake
This light and airy cheesecake with apricots and jello has an ice cream-like texture.
(Use 24 cm. x 26 cm. greased and floured pan)
■ 3 containers ½% white cheese (750 gr.) ■ 1 container sour cream ■ 5 eggs, separated ■ 3 packages vanilla sugar ■ 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, grated ■ 3 Tbsp. flour, sifted ■ 1 cup sugar ■ 10-12 apricot halves from a can, drained ■ 1 package apricot flavored jello
■ 1½ cups sweet whipped cream, prepared
In a bowl, add white cheese, sour cream, egg yolks, vanilla sugar, lemon zest, flour and half of the sugar. Mix well until smooth. Whip the egg whites in an electric mixer on high speed. The moment the peaks are stiff, gradually add the rest of the sugar. Whip until smooth.
Carefully fold one-third of the egg whites into the cake mixture, and gently mix. Pour another third and mix, and then the last third and mix gently.
Pour the mixture onto a greased and floured pan and bake at 200° for 10 minutes. Then, lower temperature to 170° and bake for another 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and dry. Let cool.
Arrange the apricot halves on top of the cake. Prepare the jello according to the directions. Let cool for a few minutes, and when it starts to set, pour over apricot halves. Store in fridge. Before serving, separate sides of cake from sides of pan with a knife. Put whipped cream in an icing piping bag with a serrated tip and add swirls or stars around the edge of the cake.
Flavored bread sticks
These sticks are very easy to prepare, and are a perfect addition to festive meals, or just to have around as snacks to munch on in front of the TV. They’re a really fun treat. The sticks are so tasty and crunchy that they usually get eaten up pretty quickly, so I recommend doubling the recipe and storing them in an air-tight glass container.
Makes enough for an entire glass container
■ 1 package high-quality puff pastry, rolled out (can use pieces leftover from borekitas) ■ Salt and pepper to taste ■ 1 Tsp. fennel seeds (or substitute nigella seeds, kosher salt, sesame seeds, coarsely ground black pepper, za’atar, or dried oregano) ■ 1 egg, beaten (optional)
On a lightly floured surface, spread out puff pastry, brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds and seasonings. If you prefer, you can skip egg wash.
Cut into strips that are 1 cm. wide and 20-25 cm. long. Line a tray with baking paper. Take a strip and twist it gently like a screw and then lay it down on the baking paper. Do the same with the rest of the strips, making sure to leave space between each one.
Bake at 220° for 3-4 minutes. Lower heat to 200° and bake until crispy and browned. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in air-tight container.