The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook:
Contemporary Kosher Kitchens
- A Dairy Good Holiday!
a two-day festival that celebrates the giving of the Ten Commandments
on Mount Sinai. Before the revelation at Mount Sinai, the Bible
describes Shavuot as an agricultural festival, a feast of the summer
wheat harvest, as well as a feast of the first fruits. This was the
start of the agricultural cycle that ends with Sukkot, the final
harvest of the year.
Shavuot, we decorate our homes with
flowers, plants and fruits. Traditional dairy dishes include tender
cheese blintzes, plump kreplach and crispy knishes topped with sour
cream and fruit, creamy cheesecakes and cheese-filled noodle kugels. Mediterranean Jews celebrate by eating
with feta cheese or spinach-cheese fillings.
I also discovered a
superb selection of dairy dishes that are perfect to serve on Shavuot
in The Hadassah Jewish Holiday
Contemporary Kosher Kitchens (Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, $29.95
U.S., $49.50 Cdn.). This excellent book was edited by Joan
Michel, the senior editor of Hadassah magazine. She is the author of
several cookbooks, including The Foods of Israel
Today, Good Enough to
Eat and The Woman’s Day Cookbook.
Based on the Jewish festival
calendar, the book is divided seasonally. It begins with Shabbat
and works through the traditional Jewish festivals, from Rosh Hashanah
in the autumn to Shavuot in the spring. There are introductions and
personal reminiscences by several well-known Jewish authors, including
Joan Nathan, Claudia Roden and Steven Raichlin.
The Hadassah Jewish
Holiday Cookbook contains a collection of 250 of the best Kosher
recipes, with wonderful family heirloom recipes submitted by Hadassah
members from throughout the U.S. and Israel. You’ll find the
usual traditional classics, plus many modern variations, including a
wide range of Ashkenaz and Sephardic dishes for the major Jewish
festivals. An excellent reference book which took two years to compile,
this large format cookbook contains fabulous photos that look good
enough to eat!
This beautiful book deserves a place on the cookbook
shelf in every Jewish kitchen. It makes a great gift for new brides as
well as seasoned cooks and is a perfect gift from mothers to their
daughters, or vice versa. You’ll find ideas for an abundance of holiday
feasts to carry you throughout the year.
Enjoy the new tastes of tradition in this super selection of
dairy recipes for your Shavuoth celebrations. I wish you and your
families a ‘dairy good’ Shavuot!
Blima's Light & Luscious Cherry Cheesecake
Banana Strawberry Layer Cake
package frozen phyllo dough
1 pound feta cheese
2 pounds pressed
cheese or pot cheese (dry cottage cheese)
1 tsp. salt, or to
Oil for brushing
1. Defrost phyllo sheets according to
package directions. Put between 2 pieces of wax paper and cover with a
lightly dampened towel.
2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Crumble
feta into small pieces and blend well with pressed cheese, eggs and
3. Remove 2 phyllo sheets at a time, keeping remainder
covered. Place on a flat surface and brush very lightly with oil. With
narrow end facing you, cut lengthwise into 3 strips. Fold each in half
lengthwise and brush lightly with oil again.
4. Put 1 tbsp.
cheese mixture on bottom right-hand corner of strip. Fold over to left
side in a triangular shape and continue folding right to left, left to
right, as in folding a flag. Lightly oil top of finished triangle and
put on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and cheese
5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Serve
Serves about 18.
To vary this recipe, a
10-ounce box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, may be
added to the cheese mixture.
Alternatively, generously oil a 13 x 9-inch
pan. Line with half the phyllo sheets, each oiled lightly. Spread
cheese mixture over and top with remaining pastry sheets, each oiled
lightly. Bake at 375°F 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden; cut
into 3-inch diamonds. Best when served
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
pound farmer cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick)
unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°f. Grease 9 x
5-inch loaf pan. Mix all filling ingredients and set aside.
Make batter: Cream butter with sugar, then add eggs, milk, flour,
baking powder and salt. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread
filling over batter and cover with remaining batter. Bake 45
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup (4 tbsp.)
melted unsalted butter, plus additional as needed
pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Desired Topping (see
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Set rack on center shelf.
Lightly butter sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
make crust, combine all ingredients and pat evenly over bottom of
the pan. Using pie weights on wax paper, bake 15 minutes. Remove from
oven, remove pie weights and wax paper, and lower oven temperature to
3. Make batter: Gradually combine all ingredients in
mixer until smooth. Pour into pan and bake 1 hour. Turn off heat and
leave cake in oven with door closed 1 hour longer. Let cool, then top
with fruit, or serve plain.
This needs time to set; refrigerate several
hours before serving.
Serves 10 to 12.
Tip: The hour in the
closed oven allows the cheesecake to cool very gradually, reducing the
likelihood of splitting.
Currant Jelly-Berry Topping
1 hefty tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. water
4 cups ripe
Heat jelly. Put through sieve and bring to a simmer. Blend
cornstarch with water and stir into jelly until clear. Let cool.
Arrange fruit on top of cheesecake and brush with cooled
Sour Cherry Topping
16-ounce can pitted sour
cherries, drained, liquid reserved
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Add water to cherry liquid
to equal 3/4 cup. Combine sugar and cornstarch; blend in with cherry
liquid. Simmer 5 minutes and add lemon juice and cherries. Let cool,
then spread over cake.
Sour cherry juice is an old folk remedy
for easing arthritis pain because anthocyanins, the pigment that gives
them their vibrant hue, offers 10 times the anti-inflammatory relief of
aspirin without irritating
Norene Gilletz is a cookbook author, teacher and food consultant who lives in Toronto. For updated information, call 416-226-2466 416-226-2466 or visit her website at
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