L’shanah tovah! Happy new year! Once again, Rosh HaShanah is upon us. This year it came so very early. So early, in fact, that it is still 80 degrees and no one feels like eating fall food.
Which is handy since this year, for the first time in at least ten years (probably more), I did not host a gathering for the holiday. I started adjuncting (is that a word) at a new college yesterday and was not able to either cancel my class (first one of the semester) or manage to cook for all. I had thought maybe a brunch today but most of those who would attend were working (naturally).
So it was just a small family dinner this time. I made a roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, sautéed greens (leeks, kale and spinach with garlic), cole slaw (I had some cabbage to use up) and cauliflower. Not really holiday food. But the desserts…. those involved the apple and honey that the holiday requires.
I used Mark Bittman’s recipe from his How to Cook Everything book– but I have the app on my iphone– it was free or very, very discounted at one point- and it was ok. Kind of bland so if I were to do it again, I’d probably up the apples and maybe incorporate them into the batter as well. The apple crisp was a total improvisation.
Either way, I wish you all a new year filled with joy, laughter, happiness and love and free from pain, sorrow and hardship. Happy 5774!
Mini Honey Apple Upside Down Cake (Mark Bittman)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few tablespoons of honey
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and use it to liberally grease the muffin tins- along the sides as well as the bottom. You may not use all the butter but there should be a good amount in the tin when you’re done. Sprinkle the brown sugar in the bottom of each muffin slot.
Peel, core and chop your apples.
In a medium bowl, mix the salt, sugar, flour and baking soda. Technically, Mark suggests to mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and to add them gradually to the dry ingredients. I did not do this. Instead, I dump the wet, unmixed, into the bowl and then mixed it all that way. Either way you choose, add the buttermilk, eggs, and the rest of the butter (melted) to the dry ingredients and beat until combined.
Each little cake should release. If it doesn’t, sort of wiggle and shake the pan and if that still doesn’t work, use the soft spatula to scrape out the rest and sort of put it back together with your fingers.
I had lots of apples leftover and so made a sort of shallow dish apple crisp.
Improvised Apple Crisp
1-2 peeled, chopped apples
few tablespoons of honey
dash or two of cinnamon
1/2-1 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar (white)
1 stick of butter, cool, sliced into cubes
Toss your apples with the honey and cinnamon. Add the walnuts and place into a shallow-ish baking dish. I used a pie plate. (Full disclosure- I forgot I had walnuts and added them in on top of the apples but under the topping. If I did it again, I’d mix it in with the apples so this is a case of do as I say, not as I did!)
In a small bowl, mix the flour and sugar. You can add some cinnamon here, if you like. Cube your butter.
With clean hands or a pastry cutter, add the butter. Mush it around until it’s sort of sandy and pebbly feeling.
Spread/sprinkle the topping over the walnut-apple mixture.