Core values: Apples are the stars of sweet and savory Rosh Hashanah recipes


During the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, which begins the evening of Oct. 2, ritual foods play an important part at the family meal. Among the foods served to represent our hopes for a sweet new year are apples and honey, and round loaves of egg challah are baked to promise a well-rounded future (with sesame seeds often added to symbolize fertility).

At our home, when family arrives for the holiday meal, custom calls for a perfect apple to be cut into as many pieces as there are people present. Then a slice of the apple is dipped in honey and passed to each person at the table.

Apples go into the making of countless dishes for this festival, and they often are included in every course, so let apples dominate your Rosh Hashanah table.

Apple and Spinach Salad With Tahini is a good place to start because it can be prepared the day before and refrigerated, with torn spinach leaves tossed into the apple mixture just before serving.

Veal Ragu With Apples and Curry is perfect to make for the holiday because this stew can also be prepared in advance and last all week. If you have a large family, then just double the recipe. Remember that the flavor of stews is enhanced by reheating.

Apple-Filled Egg Challah is a delightful bread for Rosh Hashanah. And to carry on the holiday spirit, serve it with apple slices and honey for dipping — along with my Apple Streusel!

There are lots of surprises in these recipes, and you’ll find them easy to prepare. Just remember: During Rosh Hashanah, sour or bitter tasting foods are omitted in keeping with the hope for a sweet new year. 

L’shanah tovah!

APPLE-FILLED EGG CHALLAH

– Apple filling (recipe follows)
– 1 package active dry yeast
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 4 to 5 cups flour
– 1 cup warm water
– 6 egg yolks
– 1/4 cup oil
– 1/4 cup melted unsalted margarine
– 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
– 1 tablespoon cinnamon-sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Prepare Apple Filling; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the yeast, sugar, salt, 2 cups of the flour and warm water, and mix well. Blend in the egg yolks and oil. Add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, blending with a beater after each addition, until the dough is thick enough to work by hand. 

Gather the dough into a ball. Place it on a floured board and knead 5 to 10 minutes, adding additional flour, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, and oil the top. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough and divide into 3 parts. Roll each part into a rectangle. Brush with melted margarine, top with the apple filling. Roll each rectangle into a long rope. Seal the ends of the rope together and braid. Form the braid into a ring and place it on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Brush with egg yolk wash, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack. 

Makes 12 servings.

APPLE FILLING

– 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 2 tablespoons honey
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, honey and cinnamon. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Drain and use for the challah filling. 

Makes about 3 cups.

APPLE AND SPINACH SALAD WITH TAHINI

– 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
– 3 green onions, thinly sliced<
– 3 stalks celery, diced
– Juice of 2 lemons
– 1/4 cup mayonnaise
– 1/4 cup tahini (ground sesame seeds)
– 2 tablespoons honey
– 1 bunch of spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
– Additional spinach leaves for garnish
– 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

In a large bowl, toss the apples, onions and celery. Sprinkle with the juice of 1 lemon to keep apples from darkening.

In a blender or a small bowl, blend mayonnaise, tahini, honey and remaining lemon juice. Mixture will be thick. Toss with apple mixture. Cover and chill. Just before serving, toss salad with the torn spinach. Serve on a bed of spinach leaves and garnish with sesame seeds.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

VEAL RAGU WITH APPLES AND CURRY

– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 onions, finely chopped
– 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
– 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
– 4 pounds lean veal, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
– 3 tablespoons curry powder
– 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
– 1 (28-ounce) can peeled tomatoes, drained
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
– 1 cup chicken stock

In a large pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions, garlic, celery and veal for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add curry powder and mix well. Add apples, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken stock. Cover and simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Add additional

salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice or noodles. 

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

APPLE STREUSEL LOAF

– Streusel Topping (recipe follows)
– 1 1/4 cups flour
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup unsalted margarine
– 1 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
– 1 cup peeled, cored and grated apples
– 2 eggs, well beaten
– 1/4 cup almond (or other nondairy) milk

Prepare Streusel Topping; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and margarine. Blend until mealy. Mix in walnuts. 

In a small bowl, blend apples, eggs, and almond milk thoroughly. Add to flour mixture and mix until all dry particles are moistened. 

Pour into greased and floured 8-by-4-inch loaf pan, sprinkle with Streusel Topping, and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

STREUSEL TOPPING

– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup flour
– 1/4 cup cinnamon
– 1/4 cup unsalted margarine
– 1/2 cup peeled, cored and chopped apples
– 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Blend brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and margarine until crumbly. Mix in apples and walnuts and sprinkle over batter before baking. 

Makes about 2 cups.


Judy Zeidler is a food consultant, cooking teacher and author of 10 cookbooks, including “Italy Cooks” (Mostarda Press, 2011). Her website is judyzeidler.com.