Kabbalists in the 16th century began to celebrate the Jewish New Year for trees, Tu B'Shevat, with a seder service modeled after the Passover seder. They would bless and enjoy fruits native to the Land of Israel, and discuss concepts associated with the holiday. Today, it is becoming more and more popular today to celebrate the holiday with a seder and an informal service.
Since there is no set liturgy for the ritual and no Jewish law dictating the ritual's contents, there is a great deal of variety in Tu B'Shevat seders.
During the seder service itself, the seven species for which the Land of Israel is praised in the Bible — namely, figs, dates, pomegranates, olives, grapes or raisins, wheat and barley — generally play starring roles along side the four cups of wine. The wine can be any color or type.
Following the service itself, almost anything seems to go. The ability to be creative is one reason for the increasing popularity of such programs.
Try the recipe below for a treat on your seder table.
Baked Apples With Dried Fruit and Cherry Liqueur
- 6 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup lemon juice
15 dried plums or prunes (pitted)
15 dried apricots
3 Tbsps. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup wine, semi-dry red
1/2 cup cherry liqueur
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350°.
Wash and peel the apples. Core them, leaving about a 1/2 -inch on the bottom. Pour the lemon juice over the apples.
Put a prune inside each apple. Turn over so that the hole with the prune inside is facing down, and place the apples (prune-side down) in a 11/2-quart baking dish.
Sprinkle the other prunes and apricots around the apples in the dish.
In a bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, wine, liqueur and water. Pour this mixture over the apples.
Bake the apples for approximately 30 minutes, then baste the apples. Turn the apples over so that the prune is now on top of the apple. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the apples are soft when pierced with a fork.
Serve warm or cold.
Recipe comes courtesy of www.aboutjudaism.com.