The sweet smell of fall is in the air, and the High Holidays are upon us. It's the time for fresh fruits and vegetables like apples and squash, pumpkin and pomegranates.
As orange is the color du jour, carrots also make their mark in the form of a warm tzimmes.
What you might try that's a bit different are the Israeli crêpes, with a special Sabra sauce. These can also work as a nice dairy dish to break the fast at Yom Kippur if you have time on your hands, and your guests aren't too famished.
And if you have a large group, whip up the honey cake below. You can prepare it beforehand and freeze it, though it's always best freshly done the same day. Not only is it fit for a crowd, but it's a real crowd-pleaser to boot!
2 lbs. brisket or short ribs
1 quart water
1 onion, sliced
1 rib celery
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
5 sweet potatoes, peeled
5 white potatoes, peeled
5 carrots, peeled
1 cup prunes
2 Tbsps. flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. citric acid
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place the brisket or short ribs in a large pot.
Add the water, onion, celery, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender.
Add sweet potatoes, carrots and white potatoes. Cook until tender.
Place into a greased baking dish. Add prunes.
Make a paste of some of the liquid with flour, brown sugar and citric acid. Pour over top and bake for 1 hour.
Serves 5 to 6.
Israeli Crêpes and Sabra Sauce
3 Tbsps. flour
2 Tbsps. sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 drops vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
3 Tbsps. butter
2 Tbsps. sugar
3 Tbsps. orange juice
1 tsp. orange peel, grated
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup Sabra liqueur
To Make Crêpes: In a bowl, mix flour and sugar for crêpes.
Add beaten eggs, salt, vanilla nd milk. Beat until smooth.
Butter a small frying pan over medium heat. Add enough batter to thinly cover the bottom (tilt the pan to get it covered).
Loosen the edges of the crêpe as it cooks and turn over when brown. Remove to a heated plate.
Continue frying and piling them up, but keep covered while each new one is being fried. Fold crêpes in quarters.
To Make Sauce: Melt butter in a large hot frying pan. Add the sugar, orange juice and orange peel; mix. Add the crêpes and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Add 3 tablespoons brandy (reserving about 1 tablespoon) and Sabra liquor, allowing them to heat until bubbling.
Optional: Heat a little brandy in a large spoon and light it, then spread the flaming brandy over the mixture. Stir while flaming. When flame dies out, serve.
Serves 4 to 6.
Honey Cake for a Crowd
21/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
11/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 lb. honey
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup oil
2 Tbsps. (heaping) apricot jam
Preheat oven to 325°.
Grease and flour a rectangular 9×12-inch baking pan.
Sift flour and baking soda together in a large bowl.
Add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
Make a well in the center. Add the honey, beaten eggs, warm water, oil and jam. Mix well.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle slivered almonds on top.
Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cut into squares when cool.
Recipes courtesy of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (www.uscj.org).