Turning to Comfort Foods in the Cool of the Evening


Certain comfort foods are definitely at their best when eaten at this time of year, especially in the cool of the evening.

Cherry Pie Without Sugar or Fat
(Pareve or Dairy)

Yes, phyllo dough can be a challenge to work with, but in this recipe the dough is purposely torn, making life just that much easier.

6 sheets phyllo pastry
1 can (16 to 17 oz.) dark, sweet, pitted cherries, well drained
nonstick cooking spray
liquid sweetener to taste (substitute sugar to taste, if desired)

Defrost phyllo pastry according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350˚.

Mix well-drained cherries with artificial sweetener, to taste. Set aside.

Prepare a 9-inch pie pan by coating with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove six sheets of phyllo pastry from the package. Keep covered with a damp towel. Return remaining sheets to refrigerator or freezer for another use.

Take half of one sheet of pastry and arrange in pie dish, fitting it in in any manner. Spray nonstick spray between layers.

If two sheets stick together, that’s fine — you may also tear them into strips or patches, just so they go in and fit the pan. Use about half of the six sheets.

Fill pie shell with prepared cherries. Top with remaining phyllo pastry, in patches, pieces or strips.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until pastry is golden. (Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.)

Serves 8.

Peach Crumble
(Pareve or Dairy)

8 medium, ripe peaches
1⁄2 cup golden raisins
1⁄2 cup oatmeal (uncooked)
1⁄2 cup flaked coconut
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsps. margarine

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Wash, remove pits and slice peaches. Place in a lightly-greased, ovenproof baking dish.

Combine raisins, oatmeal and coconut. Scatter over peaches. Scatter brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Dot with margarine and cover with foil.

Bake for about 40 minutes or microwave at full power for 15 minutes. Spoon into individual serving dishes. (Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.)

Serves 6.

Plum Bread Pudding
(Dairy or Pareve)

Try this old-fashioned dessert to “use up” your leftover bread or challah. Substitute other fresh, well-drained canned or even dried fruits for the plums, but do take advantage now of the last of summer’s bounty.

nonstick cooking spray
8 cups dry challah, crusts removed, cut into 1⁄2- to 1⁄4-inch cubes (about 8 thick slices)
6 plums, pitted and quartered
1⁄2 cup raisins
1 quart milk or soy milk
5 eggs, beaten
2 tsps. vanilla
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
3-4 Tbsps. plum (or substitute other fruit) jelly

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Spray a 4-quart, ovenproof casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Place bread cubes, plums and raisins in casserole dish. Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. Pour over bread cubes mixture. Mix well. Swirl plum jelly through mixture.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until set. Serve warm.

Serves 8.

Honey-Orange Baked Apples

It’s old-fashioned, simple and scrumptious.

6 large, unpared Delicious or Golden Delicious apples
3 Tbsps. raisins
3 Tbsps. granola or chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
1⁄4 cup honey
1⁄4 cup orange juice

Heat oven to 350˚.

Wash and core apples. Pare upper half of each apple. Place in a lightly-greased baking dish.

Fill apples with raisins and granola. Mix grated orange peel with honey and orange juice. Pour over apples. Add water to baking dish until 1⁄4-inch deep.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Baste with the accumulated syrup several times during baking, if desired.

Serves 6.

Rivka Tal is a former Minne­sotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: [email protected]


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