Parshat Eikev Inspiration:
“Not by bread alone does man live, rather by everything that emanates from the mouth of G-d does man live… For Hashem, your God, is bringing you to a good land … a land of wheat, barley, grape, fig, and pomegranate; a land of oil-olives and date-honey; a land where you will eat bread without poverty…”
My neighbor’s fig trees are bursting with ripe figs, so I made a figgy bread pudding with date syrup drizzle. Wholesome and delicious.
Figgy Bread Pudding
- 5-6 cups of challah, cut into 2” cubes
- 1 ½ cups fresh figs, quartered (to use dried figs, soak them in water for at least one hour)
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups almond milk
- 1 Tbsp vanilla or almond extract
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2-3 Tbsp date syrup for drizzling
1. Prepare a baking dish (8x8 or 9x13) by either spraying with nonstick cooking spray or wiping with margarine. Heat the oven to 350° F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they turn a light, creamy yellow. Whisk in the almond milk, then extract, brown sugar and spices. Whisk until the brown sugar dissolves.
3. Add the cubed challah and figs to the wet mixture and combine well. Allow to soak for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that every piece of challah absorbs the moisture.
4. Pour the wet bread and fig mixture into the baking dish and spread it evenly in the pan. You may need to rearrange some figs so that they aren’t all clumped together. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to back for another 25-30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
5. When ready to serve, drizzle with date syrup and slice!
Parshat Re’eh Inspiration:
“Hashem will surely bless you in the land that Hashem, your God, will give you as an inheritance to possess, if only you will hearken to the voice of Hashem, your God, to observe, to perform this entire commandment that I command you today. For Hashem, your God, has blessed you as He has told you; you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will dominate many nations, but they will not dominate you. If there shall be a destitute person among you, any of your brethren in any of your cities … you shall open your hand to him; you shall lend him his requirement, whatever is lacking to him.”
So we shall act like millionaires and make Millionaire Shortbread. This little treat is so rich and sweet that you will feel extremely generous as you share it with your guests.
This recipe is for a 9x13 baking dish. Just halve the recipe to make it in an 8x8 dish. It is a multi-step recipe, so while not particularly difficult, it does take time to allow for cooling.
- 1 ½ cups margarine, divided
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 6-7 oz full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ tsp sea salt + extra for garnish
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper. Cut it large enough so that it wraps up the sides of the pan. Heat the oven to 350° F.
2. Use a mixer to cream 1 cup of margarine until light and fluffy. Add the white sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add in the flour and mix until it comes together as a dough. It will still be slightly crumbly.
3. Press the dough into the baking dish as evenly as possible. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the top is very lightly brown. Remove and allow to cool.
4. Use a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan to make the caramel; a candy thermometer is useful but not absolutely necessary. On medium-high heat, melt ½ cup of margarine with brown sugar and corn syrup while stirring. When the sugar has melted, add in the coconut milk. Stir constantly to prevent burning. When the mixture comes to an active, foamy boil, keep stirring for about 10-12 minutes. The mixture will gradually become thicker. At 220° F, which is just before the soft-ball stage, a strand of caramel will drip from the spatula (this is also called thread stage) rather than liquid drops of a few moments ago. Immediately remove the caramel from the heat.
5. Allow the caramel to cool for only ~2 minutes, until it is thick but still flows. Pour the caramel onto the cool shortbread and gently coax to the edges by tipping the baking dish or gently using a spatula. Allow to cool for at least 45 minutes.
6. Melt the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a saucepan over medium heat. (The shortening is required to soften the chocolate so that it doesn’t crack too badly when slicing.) Stir until smooth and completely combined. Pour the chocolate onto the caramel, sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, and place in the refrigerator to cool.
7. Take the Millionaire Shortbread out of the fridge, and remove the shortbread from the baking dish by pulling on the excess parchment paper. (A third hand helps.) Let it warm up for at least half an hour before serving, and it doesn’t have to return to the fridge unless you prefer it cold. The caramel is difficult to slice, especially cold. Use a long knife to cut rows and columns (I cut about 1x2 inch slices). Running the knife under hot water before slicing helps a little.
By Victoria Lupia
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