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Yom Kippur Break The Fast Recipes

Originally published Oct. 7, 2008.

Editor's Note: In many Jewish communities it is traditional to eat a dairy meal for the break-fast after Yom Kippur. For some reason, Jews have a longstanding belief that dairy food is lighter and easier to digest after the 25-hour fast.

Sheilah Kaufman has graciously shared with us a video showing how to prepare three classic Jewish recipes for hallah, noodle kugel and apple cake. We've included the recipes below the video, plus two more recipes you might like for your break-fast meal. Like most of Sheilah's recipes, you can make them in advance. Which is pretty much essential after an exhausting day in synagogue without food.

EILEEN'S FABULOUS NOODLE KUGEL

I have never been a big lover of pasta/noodles or kugels, until I tasted this one.

It was addiction at first bite. When I first had it at Eileen's she gave me some to take home. The next morning while rummaging in the refrigerator for breakfast I spied the leftover kugel and decided to nuke a piece. Around 11 a.m. I needed a snack and nuked another piece. Of course I had to have another for lunch and dinner and then it was gone.

The secret to this kugel is the tiny noodles. There are not a lot of them in the recipe so you are mostly eating a fabulous custard. This freezes beautifully.

8 oz. tiny (soup) noodles
5 large eggs (or egg beaters)
1 lb. cottage cheese (regular or low fat)
2 cups sour cream (regular or low fat)
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened to room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese (regular or low fat), softened to room temperature
cinnamon to taste
 

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cook the noodles for five minutes in boiling salted water.

Drain well. Let noodles cool to room temperature or they will curdle the eggs. This takes about 20 to 30 minutes; toss the noodles occasionally with a fork.

In a bowl, beat the eggs.

Combine the remaining ingredients and stir in the noodles and eggs using a hand beater.

Grease an ovenproof baking dish (9-by-13-inch or a lasagna-size pyrex dish) and pour in the mixture. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and bake at 450°F for 5 minutes. This sets the custard.

Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking for another 45-50 minutes or so (depends on size of your pan) until lightly browned on top.

Freezes beautifully after cooling to room temperature.

Serves 8 to 12. If using larger pan, can serve 16.

HINT: Adding salt to the water raises the boiling point of the water, making it hotter, and cooks the pasta more consistently.

JACKIE BEN EFRAIM'S HALLAH

Baking challah is a great activity for parents and children to do together. The bread does not need to be perfect. Jackie likes to make individual small loaves and put one on a small plate for each guest.

According to Freda Reider in her book The Hallah Book, the word hallah refers to "a small portion of prebaked dough that the Jews of the Temple period gave as a weekly Sabbath offering to their priests who devoted all their time to ritual, study, worship and Temple service. The shape was originally round, white, and sweet. When the Temple was destroyed, the bread-offering to the priests ceased. To commemorate the ancient law of setting aside hallah, many Jews to this day separate a small portion of prebaked dough which they bless and burn. This small piece of separated dough is now called 'hallah' which means "offering," and the sweet white bread itself is now also known as hallah."

1 Tbs. yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
pinch of saffron
1 large whole egg
1 egg white, save the yolk
1/4 cup cold water
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. water
 

Mix the yeast and sugar together and dissolve in 1/2 cup warm water.

Dissolve the 1/2 cup sugar in 1/2 cup boiling water, then stir in the vegetable oil, salt and saffron.

Beat together the whole egg and egg white.

Stir the 1/4 cup cold water into the sugar mixture. When cool, add the beaten eggs.

Place the yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl (of an electric mixer) and add the egg/sugar mixture, mixing well with the dough hook.

Stir in 5 to 6 cups of flour, mixing until dough begins to hold together.

Knead dough for three minutes in the mixer (or by hand for 10 minutes) and then knead another minute by hand.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let it rise for an hour in a warm place.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a log, and roll out one log at a time (using your palms) on a lightly floured surface. Leave the center of the log thicker and roll until the log is about 24 inches and the ends about 1 to 2-inches thick.

Braid or coil dough into 2 loaves, cover with a towel and let them rise again for another hour. If using raisins, place them in as you coil the bread.

Preheat oven to 400°F, brush loaves with the egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon of water.

Bake for 5 minutes at 400°F, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake another 20 to 25 minutes or until bread tests done (knock on it!).

Jackie spritzes the hallahs with water every five minutes while baking, using a plant mister.

Makes 2 hallah or 16 small loaves. If you make one huge hallah it may need about 40 minutes to bake and get the inside done.

JEWISH APPLE CAKE

This seems to be the recipe that I receive the most requests for. I once had a call from India from a student because she had lost her copy! This recipe freezes beautifully.

4 to 6 firm apples, peeled and sliced
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 ¼ cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. vanilla
 

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and grease and flour a l0-inch tube pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the apples with the cinnamon and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the remaining sugar, the flour, baking powder, oil, eggs, orange juice, salt, and the vanilla.

Beat just until the batter is smooth.

Pour a small amount of the batter into the prepared pan, and place a layer of the apple slices on top.

Continue layering in this fashion, ending with a layer of batter.

Bake at 350°F for 1½ hours, or until it tests done.

Cool the cake in its pan for 30 minutes on a wire rack; then turn the cake out onto the rack to cool thoroughly.

Serves 12.

CHEESE FINGERS

These zippy "fingers" will appeal to anyone who loves blue cheese. This is another recipe that can be made ahead, frozen, and reheated without compromising taste. From my book Upper Crusts: Fabulous Ways To Use Bread.

loaf of white bread with crusts removed
about 1 lb cheddar cheese in thin slices
1/2 lb processed blue cheese (suitable for spreading)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups mayonnaise
 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place one slice of cheddar cheese on each slice of bread.

Top with another slice of bread, then spread it with blue cheese.

Place another slice of bread on top of the blue cheese, making 3 slices of bread and two cheese fillings.

Spread all sides of the bread with mayonnaise, and dip all sides in the Parmesan cheese.

Cut sandwiches into "fingers" (cutting bread into 4 equal strips) or squares or triangles and secure with toothpicks.

Place bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a non-stick baking pan.

Bake until golden brown. Cheese should be melted but not burned.

Each "sandwich" makes four fingers.

BAGEL AND CHEESE STRATA

I like to prepare for break-fast ahead of time. This quick and easy winner is prepared the day or night before serving. I make this ahead and freeze it for breakfast, then just defrost it in the refrigerator the night before, and heat and eat when the time comes. Besides being a fabulous brunch dish, the strata can be made lower in fat by using egg substitutes. Also from Upper Crusts: Fabulous Ways To Use Bread.

Canola spray for greasing
7 large eggs (or 1 3/4 cups egg substitutes)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
freshly ground pepper
4 plain bagels, halved, cut into bite-size cubes
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated or Jack with pepper
6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
 

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Beat together eggs, salt, milk, paprika, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Place half of bagel cubes in the baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix the grated cheeses together. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture on top of bagel cubes. Top with remaining bagel cubes and remaining cheese.

Carefully spoon the egg mixture over bagel-cheese layers, poking holes in bagels with a fork or knife to assure that egg mixture seeps in evenly. Cover dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake strata for 1 hour, or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven, and serve hot.

Serves 6 to 8.

Hebrew for "Day of Atonement," the final of ten Days of Awe that begin with Rosh Hashanah. Occurs during the fall and is marked by a 24-hour fast. One of the most important Jewish holidays. Derived from the Greek word for "assembly," a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogue refers to both the room where prayer services are held and the building where it occurs. In Yiddish, "shul." Reform synagogues are often called "temple." A bread that comes in a few different varieties; its most common variation is a braided egg bread, though there are water challahs that don't have eggs, and there are whole-wheat challahs which sometimes also don't have eggs. It is customary to being Sabbath and holiday meals by saying blessings and eating challah. Reform synagogues are often called "temple." "The Temple" refers to either the First Temple, built by King Solomon in 957 BCE in Jerusalem, or the Second Temple, which replaced the First Temple and stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem from 516 BCE to 70 CE.

Sheilah Kaufman is a traveling cooking teacher and author of 25 cookbooks.

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