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Rosh Hashana

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

Rosh Hashana, literally meaning the head of the year, marks the beginning of the yamim noraïm -Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates with the holiday of Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement. These are the “High Holy Days” in the Jewish religion.

When we talk about holidays we immediately talk about eating symbolic foods, as that is part of our religious and cultural culinary tradition. Many communities hold a "Rosh Hashana Seder" during which blessings are recited over a variety of symbolic dishes.

In my family's Sephardic table we usually have a whole fish brought to the table with its head, leek patties, spinach frittada and the 'unforgetable' homemade apple jam with blanched almonds. We also have pomegranates and a delicious walnut pie.

For those celebrating... wishing anyada buena, dulse i alegre (a good, sweet and happy year) May this be a time of meaningful reflection and may you be sealed in the Book of Life.



For the pie:

  • 400g walnuts (roughly chopped, not powdered)

  • 200g breadcrumbs (use your leftover stale breads or Melba toast or Turkish etimek)

  • 2 tsps cinnamon

  • 1 tsp clove

  • 1 tsp nutmeg

  • 20g baking powder

  • 200g plant-based/vegan butter or margarine

  • 150g sugar

  • 6 eggs (separated into whites and yolks)

  • zest of 1 orange

  • 50ml orange liqueur like Cointreau or cognac (optional)

For the syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar (or honey)

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3-4 tbsps orange juice

-Mix the sugar and vegan butter/margarine until smooth and creamy with an electric mixer. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, continue mixing. Add the orange zest, pour in the liqueur (if using) and mix well. Set aside.

-Add the chopped walnuts, the breadcrumbs, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, baking powder into a bowl and mix well. Combine the two mixtures until smooth.

-Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick and glossy. When you lift the whisk long trailing peaks must form. Add the egg whites into the mixture and blend slowly with a spatula from the bottom up.

-Margarine a baking tray, add the mixture, bake in a preheated oven at 180°C, for about 40 minutes, until nicely colored on the outside and baked iside. Let the pie to cool.

-Prepare the syrup: Add all the ingredients into a pot, boil until sugar dissolves. Add the hot syrup over the cold pie, and let it 'drink' the syrup.

-The pie has to cool down before serving.

(This is one of my favorite walnut pies inspired by a Greek touch from the island of Kefalonia, modified to keep the holiday meal kosher)

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