Breaking the Fast

Make these delightful sweets throughout the holiday season

Almond-pistachio cream yeast cake (photo credit: BOAZ LAVI)
Almond-pistachio cream yeast cake
(photo credit: BOAZ LAVI)
t is traditional to break the Yom Kippur fast with dry cakes and cookies. But if you want to try something different this year, try the recipes below that were given to us by chef baker Michal Michaeli, who dishes out her delicious creations at Bindella Osteria & Bar, a high-end Italian restaurant in Tel Aviv, one of the city’s hot spots for foodies and gourmets.
We asked Michaeli to suggest cakes and cookies that are traditional but updated.
What she came up with are wonderful desserts that you may want to eat not only before and after the fast but also to serve your guests in the succa.
ALMOND AND LEMON CAKE For a 25-cm. loaf pan
✔ 1 cup (250 gr.) butter, softened
✔ 1 cup (200 gr.) sugar
✔ 4 eggs
✔ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ Zest of 2 lemons
✔ 1 tsp. baking powder
✔ Pinch salt
✔ 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. (120 gr.) ground almonds
✔ 1½ cups (210 gr.) flour Heat oven to 175°. Grease the baking form.
In a mixer bowl with kneading arm, beat butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla gradually while mixing, until completely absorbed.
Add lemon juice and peel and mix.
In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt and almonds).
Fold the dry ingredients into the batter and knead slowly only until smooth.
Transfer the batter to the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until done.
ALMOND-PISTACHIO CREAM YEAST CAKE Makes two loaves For the yeast dough:
✔ 3½ cups (500 gr.) flour
✔ ¾ cup minus 2 Tbsp. (150 ml.) lukewarm milk
✔ 20 gr. fresh yeast
✔ ¾ cup minus 1 Tbsp. (75 gr.) sugar
✔ 2 eggs
✔ ½ vanilla pod
✔ Zest of 1 lemon
✔ 300 gr. butter For the pistachio-almond cream:
✔ 100 gr. butter
✔ ½ cup sugar
✔ 1½ Tbsp. pistachio paste (available at baking shops and gourmet stores)
✔ 2 eggs
✔ 1 cup ground almonds (100 gr.)
✔ 4 Tbsp. flour
✔ ½ vanilla pod
✔ ½ cup chocolate chips To prepare the cream: In a mixer bowl, mix together butter, sugar and pistachio paste until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and contents of half a vanilla pod gradually, while beating.
In another bowl, mix together the almonds and flour. Stop the mixer, add the dry ingredients and turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until cream is fluffy and light. Keep the cream refrigerated until ready to use. To prepare the dough: In a mixer bowl with kneading arm, knead all the ingredients ex - cept the butter for 1 minute. Add butter and continue kneading for 10 minutes. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
Divide the dough in half and roll out each part to a 30x40 cm. rectangle.
Spread the cream and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Roll each rectangle into a “sausage.” Cut the cakes lengthwise in the middle and braid.
Line two loaf pans with parchment pa - per. Transfer to the lined form, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
Bake the cakes at 175° for 40 minutes.
POLENTA AND PINE-NUT COOKIES Makes 20 to 24 cookies
✔ 1 cup flour
✔ ¼ cup polenta (cornmeal)
✔ ½ cup sugar
✔ 150 gr. butter ( 2 ⁄ 3 cup), cut in cubes
✔ 2 egg yolks
✔ Zest of 1 lemon
✔ 1 egg yolk +1 Tbsp. water
✔ ¼ cup lightly roasted pine nuts Mix flour, polenta and sugar in a mixer bowl.
Add butter and mix until a crumbly mix - ture forms.
Add egg yolks and lemon zest and mix until a soft dough is formed.
Remove from the mixer, roll into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to prepare the cookies, heat oven to 175° and line a baking sheet with paper.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a ½ cm. thick leaf. Cut out round cookies using a cookie cutter or cut into square cookies.
Transfer the cookies to the lined baking sheet. Beat the egg yolk with water and brush the cookies. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and bake for 15 minutes until cookies are golden.
✔ ½ cup (45 gr.) ground almonds
✔ ½ cup peeled and lightly roasted hazelnuts
✔ 100 gr. powdered sugar
✔1 egg white In a food processor, grind the nuts and almonds together until mixture is homoge - neous. Keep the food processor working and add the powdered sugar. Gradually pour the egg white into the mixture and continue processing until a soft dough is formed.
Transfer to a clean work surface and roll into the desired shape.
You may coat the individual marzipans with cocoa butter or chocolate to keep it from drying out.
Keep in an airtight container.
✔ 1 cup powdered sugar (140 gr.)
✔ 1 cup ground almonds (85 gr.)
✔ ¼ tsp. almond extract
✔ 1½ egg whites (or 2 small ones) Heat oven to 160°. Line a baking sheet with baking paper or silicone sheet.
Grind together the powdered sugar, almonds and almond extract in a food pro - cessor. Keep the processor working on high speed and gradually add the egg whites.
Stop the engine as soon as the egg whites are absorbed into the dough.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with an 8 mm. tip. Create small cookies and bake for 8 minutes. Let cool and keep in an airtight container.
When cooled, the cookies can be paired and filled with various fillings.
■ Recipes and photos courtesy of chef Michal Michaeli and Bindella Osteria & Bar, 27 Monte - fiore Street, Tel Aviv, (03) 650-0071.