Sukkot desserts are a distinct genre in Jewish cuisine. Traditional holiday sweets are made with fall fruits such as pears, plums and late-season berries.
Holiday pastries are studded as well with dried fruits, nuts and seasonal spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom. Fruits that are abundant in seeds — notably pomegranates — also are popular in Sukkot baking. Their plentiful seeds symbolize fertility and hopes for a bountiful harvest.
Quarter Pound Lemon Cakes
(Dairy or Pareve)
Original recipes for pound cake called for a pound each of butter, flour and sugar, which is how this pastry acquired its name. This recipe is smaller in scale. An etrog can be used in place of lemon, if desired.
nonstick vegetable spray
1⁄2 lb. (2 sticks) sweet butter at room temperature (If using margarine, keep it refrigerated)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp. grated lemon peel, or more, if desired
1⁄4 tsp. lemon extract
1 and 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350˚. Generously coat two aluminum loaf pans with nonstick spray.
Place the butter (or margarine) in a large mixing bowl and beat it until it turns pale yellow and almost fluffy, about 2 minutes on an electric mixer’s high speed.
Add the sugar a little at a time and beat until mixture appears even fluffier. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon juice, lemon peel and lemon extract, mixing until well incorporated.
Mix in the flour a little at a time, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl a couple of times. Beat until well incorporated.
Pour half of the batter into each prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until tops of cake are light brown and a tester inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.
Cool to warm and slice or serve at room temperature. Cake freezes well.
Each loaf yields 10 slices.