Parshat Devarim inspiration:
“And the Lord heard the sound of your words (the scouts and those who believed them), and He became angry and swore, saying: ‘The men of this evil generation will not see the good land which I swore to give your forefathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh he will see it, and I will give him the land that he tread upon, and to his children, because he has completely followed the Lord.’”
Caleb (Kalev in Hebrew, which can translate to all-heart) is said to have been brave, sincere and loyal to Hashem. In short, full-hearted. Caleb and Joshua are the only two men who were in slavery in Egypt and, 40 years later, made it into the land of Israel.
In honor of Caleb, we made Full (of raspberry jelly) Hearts.
Many of my readers know that I live in Oklahoma so I can’t just go buy kosher sufganiyot. But years ago my rebbetzin told me her secret: Rhodes dinner rolls. And now you can whip up semi-homemade sufganiyot whenever you feel like it.
Frozen Rhodes Bake-N-Serv® Dinner Rolls
Hot oil for frying (I used peanut oil)
Raspberry jam or jelly or preserves
Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
These items will also make it easier: parchment paper, cooking spray, plastic wrap, a candy thermometer, clean scissors, a skimmer or long spoon, paper towels, a new medicine syringe and a skewer.
1. Defrost the rolls for 2-4 hours on parchment paper. Spread them out with about 2 inches between them, spray them with cooking spray and cover lightly with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out while thawing and rising. Prepare a large platter with a couple of layers of paper towels to absorb excess oil.
2. When they look nicely puffy (they should at least double in size), start heating the oil in a deep pot. The oil needs to be at least 3 inches deep, and if you are making 24 or more doughnuts, it probably should be about 5-6 inches deep. Use a candy thermometer to measure when the oil gets to 375°F.
3. When the oil is ready, snip a ~1” cut from the edge of a dough roll. Pinch the opposite side so that the dough is now shaped like a heart. Drop the dough into the hot oil. The doughnut will pop to the top and float half-submerged. You can cook 3-4 doughnuts at a time, but don’t crowd the pot.
4. After about 2 minutes, flip the doughnuts over. They will have browned nicely on the submerged side. After another 2 minutes, use a skimmer to remove the doughnuts with as little extra oil as possible, and place them on the paper towels to cool.
5. Repeat with another batch of dough hearts until done.
6. Fill up the syringe with raspberry jam. I find it fastest, but messy, to take out the plunger to fill it. Pick up a cooled heart and use a skewer to make a small hole in the tip of the heart, or in the center, and wiggle a little to make a space. Insert the syringe into the hole and gently fill the heart with raspberry jam. Repeat with the rest of the hearts.
7. When ready to serve, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
Parshat Va’Etchanan inspiration:
“And you shall, hearken, O Israel, [to these statutes and commandments] and be sure to perform [them], so that it will be good for you, and so that you may increase exceedingly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, told to you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Therefore, I made a dessert flowing with honey. Baklava. I made it pareve with margarine, but if you use dairy butter, it would meet both specifications. Absolutely delicious either way.
Prepared 16-oz phyllo dough, defrosted according to package directions
- 15-16 oz margarine, melted in a saucepan and set aside to cool
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup honey
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 5 whole cloves (or a shake of ground cloves)
- Juice of 1 lemon (or 3 Tbsp lemon juice)
- 5-6 oz shelled pistachios
- 5-6 oz walnuts
- 5-6 oz hazelnuts (any similar nut combo will do—I also like pecans in this dish)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
1. Make the honey syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the honey, orange juice and cloves and stir gently to mix without splashing. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool. When cool (you can continue with the other steps in the meantime), add the lemon juice and remove whole cloves if you used them.
2. Make the nut mixture. In a large food processor with a metal blade, add all the nuts. Pulse several times to chop them. There should be a mixture of small crumbs and larger pieces, the largest pieces about the size of a frozen pea. Transfer the nuts to a mixing bowl and add the sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves and mix together to combine.
3. Scoop out 1/3 cup of the nut mixture and set aside to use as toppings when ready to serve.
4. Heat the oven to 350℉.
5. Brush the inside of a 9x13 baking pan with melted margarine. Set a clean dish towel on the counter and unfold the phyllo dough on top of it. Cover the phyllo dough with another clean dish towel. Between using the phyllo sheets, try to keep the stack covered with the towel. This really helps prevent excessive tearing of the thin and fragile sheets.
6. Carefully align a phyllo dough sheet and set it into the 9x13 pan. Brush the sheet with margarine. Add another phyllo dough sheet and brush it with margarine. Repeat for a third of the package (For me, that was 13-14 sheets, but depending on brand of phyllo dough, it may be as few as 8 sheets. You can count your sheets if you want, or just estimate.)
7. When about a third of the dough sheets are in the pan, spread about half of the nut mixture onto the top sheet. Layer it evenly so the top is very flat and the mixture extends to all corners. It should be a fairly thick layer of nuts.
8. Gently place another phyllo sheet on the nut layer and brush it with melted margarine. (This is the most finicky sheet, in my opinion. But it doesn’t matter if it tears as it will be completely covered up.) Repeat with another third of the dough sheets, alternating with melted margarine.
9. Top this second dough layer with the rest of the nut mixture, spread very evenly across the dough.
10. Finish with the final third of the phyllo dough, still brushing between layers with melted margarine.
11. Brush the top sheet of phyllo dough with melted margarine.
12. Using a sharp knife, cut the pre-baked pastry into diamond shapes (3-4 for horizontal lines, then 5-8 diagonal lines). You should cut all the way down if possible, but they do not need to be perfect clean cuts—don’t move the pieces around. The edge pieces will be a little funny, but don’t worry, you can taste-test these after baking, before it is time to serve.
13. Bake the pastry for 35-45 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown and a skewer in the middle should come out totally clean.
14. As soon as you remove the baklava from the oven, set it on a solid surface and pour the honey syrup all over the hot pastry. It will bubble appetizingly. It stays very hot for a long time; don’t touch.
15. Allow the baklava to sit for a couple hours before serving it. Cut through the earlier slices and serve with a garnish of the nut mixture. Become the most popular baker on your street!
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