Compiègne Cake

Compiègne cakeCompiègne Cake was created by Antonin Carême, in honour of the marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise of Austria in 1810. It wedding took place in the city of Compiègne, hence the name given to the cake. At her dinner, Queen Victoria served small sized versions of this cake, what we today would call cupcakes. I found a recipe from the era, which gives the base recipe for the dough, and then offered several variations, adding different candied fruits, etc. to the dough and as decoration. The recipe below uses fresh pineapple and candied fruit (though maraschino cherries would work just as well). This cake will serve 8-10 people. I hope you enjoy!

Compiegne CakeIngredients:

Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
3 small eggs
3 egg yolks
2 ½ teaspoons fresh yeast
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cream
⅔ cup softened butter

Syrup:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup rum*
1 tablespoon of instant coffee (vanilla flavoured preferable)
1 orange, juiced, or ⅓ cup of juice
1 lemon, juiced, or 2-3 tablespoons of juice

Garnish:
1 pineapple
½ cup brown sugar
½ to 1 cup candied fruit or maraschino cherries

* Click here to see the list of kosher alcohols.

Directions:

Remove the butter from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before starting the cake. Cut into cubes and leave it at room temperature.

In a bowl (or food processor), combine the flour, sugar and yeast. Add the eggs, yolks and cream. Mix slowly until you have formed a smooth dough. Add the softened butter and mix being careful not to overmix the dough. It will be quite liquid and elastic.

Pour the batter into a Bundt pan or Kouglof mould if you have one, and let rise 1 hour in a warm place, such as next to the oven while it is roasting the pineapple. The dough will rise over this time.

To prepare the garnish, heat the oven to 350 degrees, and slice the pineapple into thin rounds, and then cut them in half to make a half moon shape. Lay the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and scatter the brown sugar on top. Roast the pineapple until it’s cooked through and slightly dried and caramelized.

After the hour of rising, bake the cake in the 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until when you knock on the cake it sounds slightly hollow.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, mix the sugar and water together in a saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Remove it from the heat and add the juices of the orange and lemon, the coffee and the rum. Mix to combine.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it completely cool before unmoulding. This cake will be served crown shape up, so you may have to trim the base of the cake so that it will remain level on your serving platter.

Warm the syrup slightly and pour it over the cake. You might find it easier to pour a little syrup back in the cake pan, then put the cake back in the pan, and gently pour the remaining syrup over the cake. Let stand a few minutes to absorb the syrup, and then remove the cake from the pan again, and let it sit on a cooling rack to drain any excess syrup.

Place the cake on serving plate and make shallow slices around the cake in order to insert the roasted pineapple. Decorate with candied fruit alternating around the cake and piled up in the centre hole.

Note: To make this cake pareve or non-dairy, replace the butter with margarine and the cream with non-dairy creamer.

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Orange Coconut Passover Torte

TorteThis dessert calls for the use of an Orange Liqueur. I suggest using the Sabra brand, as it is Kosher for Passover. Make sure and check that the bottle you have has the correct Passover symbol on it before using. This torte will serve 12.

Ingredients:

6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
2 cups unsweetened dried shredded coconut
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup orange liqueur (such as Sabra Chocolate Orange Liqueur)
1 bittersweet chocolate square (to garnish)
or dust with icing sugar (make sure it is kosher for Passover)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with ½ cup sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Without washing the beaters, beat the eggs yolk in a separate small bowl with the rest of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the yolks to the whites but do not stir. Add the walnuts and gently fold the ingredients together. Do the same with the coconut, one cup at a time.

Pour the cake batter into a greased 9-inch spring form pan, and bake for 45 minutes until lightly brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Mix together the orange juice and orange liqueur. Pour over the cake while it is still in the pan. When the cake has cooled, place it in the refrigerator until it is time to serve. Just before serving, garnish with bittersweet chocolate shavings. Store in the refrigerator.

Fish Cakes with Citrus “Tartar” Sauce

Citrus Fish Cakes

This recipe will make fish cakes for a crowd, and is a nice alternative to traditional gefilte fish. The citrus in this recipe lightens up the dish, taking away from the fried aspect of it, and would make it a great idea for a lunch meal! Before you start wondering where you’re going to get such small amounts of freshly squeezed juices, simply use the lemon and orange that you just zested!

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)*
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)*
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch sugar
Pinch cayenne

Fish Cakes:
2 pounds carp (or perch or bass) fillets, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley**
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
⅓ cup matzoh meal
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup or more oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon sea salt

* Click here to see my tips on zesting citrus.
** Click here to see how to properly clean fresh parsley.

Directions:

To make the sauce:
In medium bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill.

To make the fish cakes:
Line large baking sheet with waxed paper. Working in 2 batches, in food processor pulse the fish until coarsely ground (do not purée to paste). Transfer to large bowl and add onion, parsley, mayonnaise, egg, lemon juice, and orange juice. Mix gently until well blended, then add matzoh meal, salt, and pepper and mix gently until incorporated.

Using wet hands, roll mixture into 1 ¼ inch-diameter balls and press into ½ inch-thick patties. Arrange on baking sheet with additional waxed paper between each layer of patties. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

In large heavy skillet over high heat, heat ¼ inch oil. Working in batches of 5 and adding more oil as needed, fry patties until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt while still hot. Serve warm with sauce.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

Chewy Ginger CookieThese big, soft cookies are extremely addictive! You have been warned! This recipe will make about 2 dozen, though I suggest doubling it due to the aforementioned addictive quality!

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water, orange juice or liqueur of your choice
¼ cup molasses*
2 tablespoons white sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Warning, this is a very sticky batter. It is best to let the dough sit for a bit (maybe 30 minutes or so) so that the sticky factor gets toned down some. Alternatively you can stick them in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or use a little bit of oil/oil spray on your hands when rolling them.

Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an un-greased cookie sheet, and flatten.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

* A quick tip for when measuring molasses (or honey or other sticky ingredient), lightly coat your measuring cup with oil/oil spray first. This will let the molasses slide easily out.

Sauce 3 – Espagnole Sauce

Please note that these recipes call for the use of butter and “brown stock” aka beef stock. Kosher regulations would not permit this, as we cannot mix dairy and meat together. The alternatives in this case are to either use margarine in place of the butter or to use imitation beef stock, which is pareve, and is not considered to be meat.

espagnole sauceEspagnole Sauce

In cooking, Espagnole sauce is one of Auguste Escoffier’s five mother sauces that are the basis of sauce-making in classic French cooking. These types of sauces were already gathered in different Spanish cooking handbooks of the late 19th century. Escoffier popularized the recipe, which is still followed today. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

½ cup onions, diced
¼ cup carrots, diced
¼ cup celery, diced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups brown stock
2 tablespoons tomato purée
——– For Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Add the mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) and sauté for a few minutes until it’s lightly browned. Don’t let it burn, though. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the mirepoix a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated and forms a thick paste or roux. Lower the heat and cook the roux for another five minutes or so, until it’s light brown. Don’t let it burn! The roux will have a slightly nutty aroma at this point.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the stock and tomato purée to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps. Bring to a boil, lower heat, add the sachet and simmer for about 50 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about one-third, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Remove the sauce from the heat and retrieve the sachet. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth. Serve hot. If not serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Demi-GlaceDemi-Glace Recipe

Demi-glace (pronounced “demi-GLASS”) is a rich and deeply flavorful sauce that is traditionally served with red meats. Demi-glace is made by reducing a mixture of half basic brown sauce and half brown stock. Demi-glace is also the starting point for many so-called “small sauces” that are derived from the espagnole. For more flavor, you can add a sachet d’epices while reducing the demi-glace, but this is strictly optional. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups brown stock
2 cups brown sauce (espagnole)
——– For Optional Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems

Directions:

Combine the brown sauce and the brown stock in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer, add the sachet and reduce for about 45 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by half. Remove pan from heat and retrieve the sachet. Carefully pour the demi-glace through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.

Bordelaise SauceBordelaise Sauce

Rich and flavorful, it takes just a small drizzle of this bordelaise sauce recipe to perk up a simple, grilled steak or slow-roasted beef. The tangy, savory red wine sauce is also a great accompaniment to roasted potatoes. This recipe will make about 1 ¼ cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

¾ cup dry red wine
2 shallots, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef stock
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon cold butter or margarine

Directions:

Add the red wine, shallots, thyme, and bay leaf to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to half its original volume. Add the beef stock to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, again. Skim and discard any foam that appears on top of the sauce. Continue cooking the bordelaise until it has thickened enough to coat a spoon. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Use the sauce immediately or, if you are holding the sauce for later, lightly rub the cold butter across the hot surface of the sauce, to prevent a skin from forming.

Madeira SauceMadeira Sauce

The Madeira Sauce is a classic sauce made by adding Madeira wine to a basic demi-glace. The Madeira sauce is an excellent accompaniment for roasts and steaks. Making this sauce is easy enough — it’s simply a matter of stirring some Madeira wine and butter into a demi-glace. It’s making the demi-glace itself that’s the time-consuming part. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint demi-glace
¼ cup Madeira wine*
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the demi-glace to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes. Stir in the Madeira wine and swirl in the butter. Serve right away.

* If you can’t find kosher Madeira wine, or prefer not to use it, you can substitute the ¼ cup called for in this recipe with either 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar or about an equal amount of dry red wine or stock.

Mushroom SauceMushroom Sauce

This classic mushroom sauce can be served with all kinds of roasted or grilled meat dishes, including steaks. It’s made with sautéed mushrooms, shallots and just a splash of sherry, and simmered in a basic demi-glace. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
½ cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sherry**
2 cups demi-glace
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it’s frothy. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté until the mushrooms are soft and the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the demi-glace, bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry, season to taste with lemon juice and serve right away.

** If you can’t find kosher Sherry, or prefer not to use it, you can substitute the 2 tablespoons called for in this recipe with either 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons of either orange or pineapple juice.

Blintz Soufflé

Blintz SouffleIngredients:

1 dozen frozen blintzes, any flavour (cheese, blueberry, cherry, etc.)
1 ½ cups sour cream or yogurt (light or regular)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
4 eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute)
½ cup orange juice
cinnamon, as garnish

Directions:

Place blintzes in a single layer in a sprayed 9” x 13” glass baking dish. Using a steel blade, process sour cream or yogurt, with vanilla extract and sugar for a few seconds. Add eggs and orange juice through feed tube while machine is running. Process until smooth. Immediately remove bowl from the base of machine to prevent leakage. Pour topping over blintzes(can be prepared in advance and refrigerated.) Sprinkle the top with some cinnamon (it looks good AND it tastes good!). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour, until puffed and golden. Serve with sour cream or a sauce that matches the blintz filling; e.g.: cherry, blueberry, etc.

Moroccan Mains: Chicken & Couscous

tumeric chicken

Moroccan Chicken

Serves 8
Ingredients:

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon salt
olive oil
2 onions, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, diced
4 carrots, sliced ¼” rounds
4 stalks celery, sliced ¼” rounds
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
2 zucchini, sliced ½” rounds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat adding a little olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and brown in the saucepan until almost cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and celery in same pan. When tender, stir in ginger, paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and turmeric; stir fry for about 1 minute, then mix in broth and tomatoes. Return chicken to pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and zucchini to pan and bring to a simmer once again; cover pan and cook for about 15 minutes, or until zucchini is cooked through and tender. Stir in lemon juice and serve over the rice, plain couscous or the delicious couscous recipe below.

CouscousMoroccan Couscous

Ingredients:

1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 red, green, or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
2 zucchinis, halved lengthwise and cut into ¾” pieces
½ cup golden raisins (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
grated zest of one orange
1 540ml can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup orange juice
1 ½ cups couscous
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint*

Directions:

Place a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir in the cumin, ginger, cloves, cayenne, cardamom, coriander, and allspice; gently toast until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in oil and onion, cook until softened. Stir in the bell pepper, and zucchini; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins, salt, zest, and garbanzos. Pour in the chicken broth and orange juice; turn heat to high and bring to a boil. When the mixture is boiling, stir in the couscous and remove from heat; cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and fold in chopped mint.

*To learn how to inspect fresh mint, click here.

Post-Fast – Indulgence!

Creme Brulee

Crème Brûlée French Toast

I know this goes against what I was saying about not gorging yourself after the fast, but if you’re ever going to eat something rich and calorie loaded like this dish, this is the time to do it! What’s even better about this dish is that it’s even better if you prepare it the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight, having the bread soak up all the flavours, and then bake it right after the fast and eat it hot! This recipe will make 12 servings.

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons corn syrup
1 large challah
10 large eggs
3 cups half-and-half or whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons orange flavoured liqueur or orange juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13×9 inch baking dish, making sure that the pan is at least 2 inches deep. Cut the challah into large cubes. You can remove the crusts or keep them, it’s a matter of personal taste. Arrange the bread cubes in the baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half/milk, vanilla, liqueur/juice concentrate, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Do not toss, as you want the sugar/syrup mixture to stay on the bottom of the pan. At this point you can let the dish sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the egg and milk mixture, or you can refrigerate the bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit, and if you’ve chilled the dish, bring bread to room temperature. Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot french toast immediately. TIP: When you serve this, turn the piece upside down on the individual’s plate, to allow the caramel-y goodness (and the Crème Brûlée aspect of the recipe), run down over the toast!

Pomegranate – רימון

On Rosh HaShannah we eat a pomegranate and say:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁנִּהְיֶה מְלֵאִים מִצְוֹת כָּרִמּוֹן

May it be Your will, Lord our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, that we be filled with mitzvot like a pomegranate [is filled with seeds].

With 613 to choose from, I’m sure we can find a way to be filled with mitzvot and pomegranates this year!

Pom Dip

Pomegranate Pepper Dip

This version of muhammara, a Turkish dip made with red peppers, pomegranate molasses, and walnuts, uses fresh pomegranate seeds instead of reduced pomegranate molasses, and pecans instead of walnuts. It has a fresh, bright flavor and is delicious spread on crackers or pita bread or used as a dip for fresh or lightly steamed veggies.

Ingredients:

3 to 4 red bell peppers
1 pomegranate
1 to 1 ½ cups pecans
1 clove garlic
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Directions:

Use either the broiler method or live flame method, roast the red peppers until they are charred. Let them sit, covered, about 15 minutes. Heat an oven to 350°F. While it heats, seed the pomegranate and set the seeds aside. You should have about ¾ cup. Lay the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Cook until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Set a timer and check frequently – pecans can go from raw to burnt very quickly. Set pecans aside to cool. While the pecans cool, remove the skin from the peppers – the charred skin should slip right off. Feel free to rinse them under cool running water, if you like. Gently rub the pecans with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and lift the pecans off the towels. You won’t remove all the pecans skin, nor do you need to, but it should remove a fair amount of it. Put the peppers, pecans, pomegranate seeds (save a few for garnish, if you like), garlic clove, olive oil, and salt in a blender or food processor and whirl until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add lemon juice to taste and adjust salt to taste. Serve immediately or cover and chill to serve later (the dip will keep for several days). Garnish with reserved pomegranate seeds, if you like.

Pom Relish

Pomegranate Relish

Ingredients:

2 pomegranates, seeded (About 1 ½ cups of seeds)
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons orange juice
Dash of salt

Directions:

Seed pomegranates – see How to Seed a Pomegranate. Be careful because the juice does stain! Combine all ingredients and mix well with wooden spoon. Refrigerate for 4 hours prior to serving. Remove from the fridge about 15 minutes before serving so that it is not ice cold.