How to dip your Apple in honey [VIDEO]


Apples and honey


One of the most meaningful customs at each Rosh Hashanah meal is the dipping of apples into honey. By doing so we make a sweet fruit, the apple, taste even sweeter.

Obviously this symbolizes our yearnings for a very sweet year for us, our loved ones and, indeed, for everyone.

The use of two sweet objects may echo the biblical use of doubling for emphasis and the later rabbinic interpretive use of plural forms not merely for emphasis but also to evoke multifold and even untold multiplication — in this case, the multiplication of the realization of our unspoken hopes for the coming year. Nonetheless, we gain more insight by examining the specific choices here.

First, the apple: We received the Torah at Mount Sinai, which the midrash compares to an apple tree. Our sages comment that just as the apple tree ripens its fruit in the month of Sivan, so the Torah was given to Israel during Sivan. Indeed, when the Bible states, “under the apple tree I awakened you” (Song of Songs 8:5), the Talmud claims that this refers to Mount Sinai (Shabbat 88a). The apple, then, connotes all the mystery and majesty of the Sinai experience, all spiritual wisdom and insight we can glean from Torah, and the possibility of a relationship with God.

The rabbis further suggest a comparison of the apple tree to the Holy One. They cite Song of Songs 2:3, “As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved.” The mystical tradition expands upon this, suggesting the various ways in which the comparison is apt (Zohar, Leviticus 74a).

The apple, compared to the Mount Sinai experience and to Hashem, thus symbolizes the “spiritual,” the search for God, for Torah, for meaning, for holiness, for spiritual encounter, for direction for our life’s path.

Honey, on the other hand, symbolizes the search for the “material,” for security, for comfort, for home, for livelihood, for physical health. As the psalmist writes, “They will be fed the best of the wheat; and with honey from the rock, I will satisfy them” (81:17).

This week we read Nitzavim, the portion always read on the Shabbat preceding Rosh Hashanah, where the Holy One assures us that the possibility of holy living is not unattainable, but is “in our mouth” (Deuteronomy 30:14). On Rosh Hashanah,  we dip the apple into honey to symbolically fulfill this verse, a verse that also hints at the possibility of the fulfillment of our deepest spiritual yearnings.

So we dip the apple, symbolic of the spiritual, into the honey, symbolic of the material, and thereby sweeten that which is already sweet. But notice that the material blessings of honey mean nothing unless and until they attach themselves to the solid, pleasing, emotional and spiritual core of the apple, one of the hardiest fruits. Our spirituality, like the apple, must have a nurtured core, for it, not our accumulation of material goods, is what truly and enduringly sustains us.

Our dipping thus expresses our hope that we can combine our more immediate concern for comfort, for home, for livelihood and for health with our more primal quest for the spiritual, for God, for Torah, for connection, for meaning. A full life combines both while recognizing that the spiritual is primary.

And since each person dips his or her own apple into the honey, we symbolically declare that we shall each take responsibility for our own spiritual direction and for our personal sense of wholeness. This dipping into our own potential to chart our lives thus raises the act beyond a mere hope: The charting of our lives this year, the potential for spiritual moment, holy encounter and balanced living is “in our mouths,” a project whose realization is attainable — a challenge, surely, but one that grants us our dignity and the sense that life is precious.

Yehi ratzon mil’fanecha Adonai Eloheinu veilohei imahoteinu va-avoteinu, she-t’chadesh aleinu shanah tovah u-m’tukah um-lei-a v’rachah.

May the Holy One grant you and yours a year in which you will feel spiritually as hearty as the apple tree, where through seeking God and Torah, your branches grow rich fruits of holy connection and deep spirituality. And may your souls be drenched in the honey of home, comfort, health and livelihood. And finding the apples of your souls drenched in the sweet honey of your surroundings, may you experience this year — and all of life — as one of goodness, sweetness and blessing. Amen.

How sweet it is


Apples, honey and a freshly baked round challah are traditionally served at the beginning of our Rosh Hashanah dinner. The shape of the challah represents unending happiness, and foods sweetened with honey symbolize a sweet and happy new year ahead.

Just before Rosh Hashanah, I start thinking of recipes featuring apples and honey, and what better way to combine them but in an assortment of desserts?

Apples come in so many colors, shapes and sizes, and their flavor can range from crisp and tart to soft and sweet. You can use most apples for baking, but the different varieties produce different results. And when it comes to honey, you will find the best selection of honey at the local farmers markets. Even hard-to-find varieties such as chestnut or buckwheat honey, which are dark in color and have a pungent malt flavor, are available.

Over the years, I have prepared many different apple-honey desserts, but this year I have asked chefs, family and friends to share their favorites.

Amy Tidus Zeidler, my daughter-in-law, shared her grandmother’s recipe for their family’s Apple Cake.

“It’s very simple and easy to make,” she said. “Grandma was a great baker and often didn’t use a recipe, but this is what my mom and I have come up with to replicate it.”

Growing up in Los Angeles, she said it was special when her grandparents, who lived on the East Coast, would come to visit several times a year.

“Some of my fondest memories of my grandmother were when she baked for us. My brothers and I loved her cookies and cakes, but the apple cake was our favorite,” she added.

Apple Rosemary Tart is a new find from chef Bruce Marder’s new bakery, Red Rooster, in Santa Monica. A delicious pie crust is filled with sliced apples and rosemary, then topped with crisscrossing strips of pie dough resembling latticework, creating a dramatic effect. As intimidating as it might look, making a lattice pie crust top is actually quite easy to do.

Josiah Citrin, chef/owner of Melisse restaurant in Santa Monica, shares a recipe for Apple Tart “Classique,” from his new cookbook, “Pursuit of Excellence.”” The recipe makes four individual tarts and can be doubled. I have also included his recipe for Crème Fraîche Ice Cream, or it can be garnished with whipped cream.

Our family standby, baked apple, is a perfect Rosh Hashanah dessert and is simple to make. Serve it with a scoop of ice cream on the side, or, for an Italian touch, top it with sabayon sauce accented with honey. 


GRANDMA MARTHA’S APPLE CAKE

Grandma Martha’s Apple Cake. Photo by Dan Kacvinski

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Batter:
1/2 pound unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly
4 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Brush an 8-by-8-inch pan with butter and flour and set aside.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nuts; set aside.

For batter, in the large bowl of an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and mix well. Combine flour and baking powder and add to batter alternately with the milk; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Arrange sliced apples over the top, sprinkle with prepared topping and drizzle with honey.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


APPLE ROSEMARY TART

Apple Rosemary Tart. Photo by Judy Zeidler

For a flakier crust, it is important to mix the ingredients just until they begin to form a ball (do not overmix).

Pie crust:
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 cup ice water

Filling:
2 ounces unsalted butter
10 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, diced in 1-inch squares
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Granulated sugar to sprinkle on crust

Preheat oven to 325 F.

For pie crust, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. Remove dough from machine and divide in half. Knead each half into a flat disc.

Roll out 1 disc to fit a 9-inch pie dish. Lightly press it into the pie dish, leaving enough dough to hang over the edge. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll out the other disc of dough, cut into 1/2-inch strips, and form strips into a lattice top. Arrange on wax paper, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place a sheet of wax paper on top of crust in prepared pie dish and fill with pie weights, rice or beans. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove weights and wax paper; bake 10 minutes longer or until golden brown. Let cool.

For filling, melt butter in a large sauté pan. Add apples, lemon juice, honey, sugar, rosemary, cinnamon and salt; sauté for 20 minutes until soft. Mix cornstarch with water, stirring until all lumps disappear, and add to apple mixture; simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Spoon the apple filling into partially baked piecrust. Brush edge of crust with egg yolk/water mixture. Invert unbaked lattice top onto baked crust. Press edges together and trim to fit pie dish. Brush lattice top with egg yolk/water mixture and sprinkle with sugar.

Place tart on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


APPLE TART CLASSIQUE

Crème Fraîche Ice Cream:
4 cups whole milk
11 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 2/3 cups crème fraîche

Apple Tart:
1 sheet puff pastry (12 by 12 inches)
4 large pink lady apples, peeled
1/2 cup clarified butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound unsalted butter, cut into medium dice
2 teaspoons fleur de sel

For ice cream, bring the milk to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the yolks, sugar and cinnamon. Slowly whisk the boiled milk into the yolk mixture. Strain the mixture through a chinois and into a stainless steel bowl; set that bowl over a bowl of ice. Stir to chill. Whisk in the crème fraîche. Churn the mix in an ice cream maker and reserve in the freezer.

For apple tart, lay the puff pastry on a flat surface. Cut out four circles using a 4 1/2-inch cookie cutter. Place the pastry circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Put the tray into the freezer until the pastry is hard.

Using an apple corer, remove the cores from the apples. Cut the apples in half down the core. Slice the apples on a mandolin slicer into 1/8-inch-thick half-rings.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Arrange the apple slices by fanning them out on the frozen puff pastry. Brush each apple tart with some of the clarified butter, and dust with some of the powdered sugar. Bake the tarts for 15 minutes. Brush the tarts again with clarified butter, dust with powdered sugar and bake for another 15 minutes. Repeat this process two more times for a total of four coatings and dustings and 60 minutes of baking time.

For caramel sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, honey and water. Put the pan over high heat and let the sugar boil until it turns brown (about 12 minutes). Once the sugar has reached a caramel stage, remove the pan from the heat and, in a gentle stream, carefully whisk in the cream. Whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time. Add the fleur de sel, mix well and strain through a chinois. Keep warm. (If making a few days in advance, refrigerate, then reheat in the microwave when ready to serve.)

To serve, heat the apple tarts in a preheated 350 F oven for 7 minutes. Heat the caramel sauce in a small saucepan. Place a tart on the center of each plate and spoon the caramel sauce around the edge of the tart. Place a quenelle of the Crème Fraîche Ice Cream on top of the tarts and dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 4 servings.


OLD-FASHIONED HONEY BAKED APPLES

Old-Fashioned Honey Baked Apple. Photo by Dan Kacvinski

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
6 Granny Smith or Rome Beauty apples, equal size
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 teaspoon-size pieces
1/4 cup honey
1 cup apple juice
6 sprigs fresh mint, optional

Preheat oven to 325 F.

In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar; set aside.

Core the apples, making sure not to puncture the bottom of the apples so the juices will remain. Remove skin from 1/2 inch around top of each apple at the opening. Fill each cavity with an equal amount of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Top each apple with a drizzle of honey and a teaspoon of butter. 

Place apples in casserole dish and pour apple juice and any remaining honey around them. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven, garnish with fresh mint, drizzle with additional honey, and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Judy Zeidler is the author of “Italy Cooks,” based on 35 years of travel to Italy, “The Gourmet Jewish Cook” (Morrow, 1988) and “The International Deli Cookbook” (Chronicle, 1994). She teaches cooking classes through American Jewish University’s Whizin Center for Continuing Education. Her Web site is judyzeidler.com.

Sweet season: Apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah


Among the familiar customs of Rosh Hashanah is the dipping of apple slices in honey — but what is its origin?

King David had a “cake made in a pan and a sweet cake” (II Samuel 6: 15, 19) given to everyone. Hosea 3:1 identifies the “sweet cake” as a raisin cake.

Honey also may have been used in the cake, but the honey of ancient eretz Yisrael was made from dates or grapes or figs or raisins because the land at the time had no domestic bees, only Syrian bees. To extract honey from their combs, it had to be smoked. Still, honey was of importance in biblical times because there was no sugar.

During the Roman period, Italian bees were introduced to the Middle East, and bee honey was more common.

The Torah also describes Israel as “eretz zvat chalav u’dvash,” the land flowing with milk and honey, although the honey was more than likely date honey, which many Sephardic Jews use to this day.

Today, Israel has some 500 beekeepers who have some 90,000 beehives that produce more than 3,500 tons of honey annually. Kibbutz Yad Mordechai is the largest producer of honey — 10,000 bottles a day.

According to an article from a few years ago, the average Israeli eats 125 apples and 750 grams of honey a year, most of it around the High Holy Days.

Among Ashkenazim, challah is dipped in honey instead of having salt sprinkled on it for the blessing, and then the blessing, “May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year,” is given over the apple, which is dipped in honey.

Dipping the apple in honey on Rosh Hashanah is said to symbolize the desire for a sweet new year. Why an apple? In Bereshit, the book of Genesis, Israel compares the fragrance of his son, Jacob, to “sadeh shel tappuchim,” a field of apple trees.

Scholars tell us that mystical powers were ascribed to the apple, and people believed it provided good health and personal well-being.

Some attribute using an apple to the translation of the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit that caused the expulsion from paradise.

The word honey, or “dvash” in Hebrew, has the same numerical value as the words “Av Harachamim,” Father of Mercy. Jews hope that God will be merciful on Rosh Hashanah as He judges us for our year’s deeds.

Some Moroccans dip apples in honey and serve cooked quince, which is an apple-like fruit, symbolizing a sweet future. Other Moroccans dip dates in sesame and anise seeds and powdered sugar in addition to dipping apples in honey.

Among some Jews from Egypt, a sweet jelly made of gourds or coconut is used to ensure a sweet year, and apples are dipped in sugar water instead of in honey.

Honey is also used by Jews around the world not only for dipping apples but also in desserts. Some maintain that in the phrase “go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet” (Nehemiah 8:10), sweet refers to apples and honey.

The recipes below will help make your Rosh Hashanah sweet.


CHICKEN WITH HONEY FRUIT SAUCE

3 to 4 pounds cut-up chicken
3/4 cup apricot jam
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water
6 ounces dried apricots
6 ounces prunes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a baking dish. Place chicken parts in dish. Set aside.

Place apricot jam, orange juice, red wine, ginger, garlic powder, thyme and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to reduce to 3 cups.

Stir in cornstarch and water and blend. Add apricots and prunes. Pour over chicken. Bake 45 minutes or until chicken is done.

Makes 6 servings.


POPPYSEED HONEY DRESSING

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Beat honey, mustard and vinegar in a bowl or shake well in a jar with a lid.

Add oil and poppy seeds and shake some more. Use in a salad with mixed greens and fruit such as grapefruit.

Makes about 1 cup.


APPLES AND HONEY CAKE

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 cups grated, unpeeled apples
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup oil
1/3 cup non-dairy creamer or pareve whipping cream
1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a bundt pan.

In a mixer or food processor, blend flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add apples.

Add eggs, vanilla, oil, non-dairy creamer and honey and blend slightly. Pour into greased Bundt pan.

Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan.

Sybil Kaplan is a journalist and food writer in Jerusalem.

Rosh Hashanah ‘in the house tonight’ dances into the new year


Aish brings together rhythm, beats and davening for their Rosh Hashanah ‘in the house tonight’ dancing spectacle that parodies LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem.  Here’s the chorus from the lyrics, but be sure to watch the video for the full effect.

Rosh Hashanah’s in the house tonight
All the world is passing through the light
Let’s all get written in the book of Life
Shana Tova—it’s High Holiday time

 

Atoning for the sin of rushing dinner to get to Kol Nidre


I consider Yom Kippur eve the sandwich holiday. Not because I would ever serve my family and friends sandwiches before going to synagogue on the eve of a solemn fast. I see the start of Yom Kippur this way, because it’s sandwiched between two days of Rosh Hashanah celebrations and the Day of Atonement. Not to mention the eight-day festival of Sukkot, which rushes in four days later.
 
With the emphasis that night, as it should be, on getting to Kol Nidre services on time, sometimes little thought is given to this very important meal whose menu should be in perfect balance to ready people for the fast ahead. Ideally dinner on Yom Kippur eve should be hearty but light, nourishing but satisfying, tasty but not too luxurious. The challenge is daunting at a time when school and fall activities have just begun, and the Jewish calendar is so full.
 
I recall one year when I was still peeling potatoes an hour before eight people were expected for dinner on erev Yom Kippur. I panicked, fearing that we’d never get to Kol Nidre services on time.
 
Fortunately my husband always comes to the rescue whenever I’m in a jam. He microwaved the potatoes, threw together a salad and broke into a sweat basting the chicken. I set the table, barking orders, as our 9-year-old daughter scampered to her room to avoid my tension. I swore I’d never do that again. Since then, I’ve given much thought to organizing this special dinner to save time, lower stress and serve foods that will facilitate a meaningful fast.

 
With Yom Kippur beginning this year on a Sunday night, people who observe the Sabbath have additional considerations. If possible, they should complete the bulk of their organizing and food preparation by Thursday, leaving Friday free to focus on Shabbat cooking. After Friday evening, their next opportunity to address the Yom Kippur eve meal is Sunday morning, when the countdown begins. Although I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’ve solved this dilemma by imitating a staple of women’s magazines — the make-ahead menu. The day after Rosh Hashanah, while I’m sipping coffee and drizzling honey over a piece of challah, I start planning for Yom Kippur eve. I fine-tune my menu and compose a shopping list.

 
On each of the following days, I prepare a dish and freeze it, or I make most of the steps in the directions, refrigerating foods until I’m ready to proceed. On the day of Yom Kippur eve, I have only a few last-minute touches to handle. I glide into the holiday with a sense of serenity, a far cry from the frenzied person I used to be. For peace of mind, I now serve the same menu every Yom Kippur eve. It meets my most important criteria: healthy, appealing and easy to execute. This menu can be expanded to include additional dishes, but it’s filling enough to stand alone.
 
Inspired by Greek Jews, who often partake in stewed chicken and tomatoes before the Yom Kippur fast, I created my own version of this traditional dish. The chicken is sautéed and then poached in plum tomatoes, which simmer into a sauce that moistens the chicken. However, this dish is fairly bland and doesn’t cause undue thirst the next day. The ample tomato sauce calls for a bed of rice. Throughout the world, chicken and rice are served on Yom Kippur eve, because they are filling and easy to digest. However, many people, particularly when pressed for time, have difficulty finessing rice, which needs some tender loving care. They end up with a sticky ball of starch, rather than a pot of fluffy rice. My recipe, relying on a bit of olive oil, comes out perfectly every time.
 
Roasted Autumn Root Vegetables are a medley of seasonal produce flash-cooked at a high temperature. You can prepare this dish three days in advance, finishing it quickly just minutes before serving dinner.
 
Filled with dried fruits, flakes of oatmeal and a dollop of honey, Baked Stuffed Apples is not an indulgent dessert. For that reason, it’s a nutritious and appropriate way to end the pre-fast meal.
 
When it comes to Yom Kippur eve, my motto is to do as much as possible as soon as it’s feasible. On the morning after Rosh Hashanah, finalize your Yom Kippur eve guest list. Decide what you want to serve. Select which linens you will place on the table. White is traditional on Yom Kippur. If you’re using the tablecloth and napkins from Rosh Hashanah meals, make sure they’re washed and ironed or back from the dry cleaner on time.
 
If you’re expecting a crowd, you may have to expand your dining table. Know in advance how many leaves you’ll require. If you need a folding table, make sure it’s clean and in good condition. If you have to borrow a table and chairs from a family member or friend, organize this well in advance.
 
I suggest setting the table after breakfast that morning. Eat lunch in your kitchen or on the living room coffee table. To make life easy, order a pizza. Although it goes against my creative nature to be repetitive, under certain circumstances, it makes sense.
 
On Yom Kippur eve, I’m a big proponent of the preset menu, one you can follow year after year. Select a combination of recipes you can manage. Of course you can make reasonable substitutions, such as casseroles or other make-ahead dishes. But with so much going on, Yom Kippur eve is not the time to strike a new course or leave things to chance. It’s the time to be methodical and calm, to guide yourself and your family into a peaceful fast.
 

Poached Chicken Breasts and Tomatoes

 
3 tablespoons olive oil, or more if needed

7 Days in the Arts


Saturday the
16th

The JCCs’ Celebrity Staged Play Readings, produced and directed by Alexandra More, have been going strong for 11 seasons. Consider taking in the first of their 12th season’s selections. The comedy/drama, “Brooklyn Boy,” by Pulitzer-winning author Donald Margulies, plays this weekend, starring Stephen Macht as Eric, a Jewish author in his late 30s grappling with sudden huge success.

Sept. 16: 7:30 p.m. $12-$16. Valley Cities JCC, 13164 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 786-6310.

Sept. 17: 2 p.m. $12-$16. Westside JCC, 5870 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 938-2531, ext. 2225.

” TARGET=”_blank”>www.venice-arts.org.

Wednesday the
20th

Get in touch with your child, and your inner child. Quality time with the family comes courtesy of Barnes and Noble in Aliso Viejo, today. A special “Rosh Hashanah Storytime” with Chabad of Laguna’s preschool director, Perel Goorevitch, includes storytelling, a guitar sing-along and arts and crafts.
4 p.m. 26751 Aliso Creek Road, Aliso Viejo. (949) 362-8027.

Thursday the
21st

Morocco’s Jewish and Muslim cultures, and the social and physical spaces they inhabit, are explored in UCLA Fowler Museum’s new exhibition. “Liminal Spaces: Photographs of Morocco by Rose-Lynn Fisher.” It opens this week, with an opening reception Sunday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. It remains on view through Jan. 14.

Free. Fowler Museum, UCLA campus, Westwood. (310) 825-8655. ” TARGET=”_blank”>www.laemmle.com.

Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Meal


The apple, even more than the bibical pomegranate, has become the symbolic first fruit to be eaten during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which will be observed at sundown, Wednesday, Sept. 15.

During Rosh Hashanah, tradition calls for a perfect apple to be pared and cut into as many pieces as there are people present. A piece of the apple is dipped in honey and passed to each person at the table before the meal begins to symbolize a sweet and joyous New Year.

Apples go into the making of countless dishes in most countries throughout the world for this holiday, and they often are included in every course. So let apples and honey dominate your dessert table this year.

The pie crust for the Apple Meringue Tart is made from a cookie-like dough, which is rolled and baked, then filled with honey-glazed apples and garnished with a toasted meringue topping.

The Apple Upside-Down Cake is a simple version of Tart Tartin, a wonderful French apple dessert.

Everyone loves homemade cookies and the combination of spices — ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg — compliment the Honey-Glazed Apple Cookies, making it impossible to eat just one cookie. This recipe makes six or seven dozen depending on the size of the cookies.

To ensure a "good and sweet year" add these apple desserts to your Rosh Hashanah menu, along with the tradition of serving sliced apples dipped in honey.

A Word About Apples

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• Look for apples that are firm and bright in color. Avoid any that feel soft or have bruised areas.

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• Depending on the variety, apples will keep two weeks or more in the refrigerator.

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• After slicing, green apples do not turn brown as rapidly as red apples.

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• Cook apples in a noncorroding saucepan: stainless steel, enamel or glass.

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• Peel apples with a stainless steel vegetable peeler or knife.

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• Granny Smith and Pippin apples are firm and tart and require more baking or cooking time; they also require more sugar.

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• Red or Golden Delicious apples need less sugar and take less time to cook.

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• Roman Beauty apples hold their shape and are good for baking.

Apple Meringue Tart

1 (11-inch) sweet pastry crust (recipe follows)

8 to 10 apples, peeled, cored, sliced

Lemon juice and grated peel

1 cup apple juice or water

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup apricot preserves

3 egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch salt

3/4 cup sugar

Prepare sweet pastry crust and bake according to directions.

In a glass baking dish, place sliced apples in a single layer. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

In a heavy saucepan, combine apple juice, sugar, apricot preserves and juice and rind of one lemon. Cook over moderate heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring syrup to a boil and simmer for five minutes or until thickens. Pour over apples and bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes or until apples are soft but firm. Cool.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar, salt and continue beating until whites are stiff, not dry. Add sugar, a little at a time, beating well until stiff peaks. Fill pastry tube with meringue, using (48) rosette tube.

With a slotted spoon, transfer cooled apple slices to baked pie crust. Cover surface of apples completely with meringue. Bake for 10-15 minutes or place under broiler for a few minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned.

Sweet Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons milk or water

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Blend in the milk until the dough begins to come together. Do not over-mix. Knead the dough into a ball, wrap it in waxed paper and chill it for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Roll pastry out, on two large sheets of floured waxed paper, to a round large enough to cover and overlap an 11-inch flan pan with a removable bottom. For easier handling, cover the pastry with another sheet of waxed paper and fold pastry in half. (The waxed paper protects the center of pastry from sticking together.)

Lift the pastry from the bottom waxed paper and place on half of the flan pan. Unfold the pastry and remove the waxed paper that covers it. (At this point the pastry can be covered with plastic wrap and foil and stored in the refrigerator or freeze for several days.)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Bring the pastry to room temperature. Spread a light coating of butter on a sheet of waxed paper and place it, coated side down, inside of the pastry, overlapping around the outside. Cover with another piece of waxed paper with the cut ends in the opposite direction. Fill the center of the waxed paper lined pie shell with uncooked rice or bakers jewels. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sides of the pastry begin to brown. Carefully remove the waxed paper with the rice and continue baking until the bottom of the pastry is lightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

Makes one (11-inch) Pie Crust.

Apple Upside-Down Cake

Honey and apples make this simply delicious Upside-Down Apple Cake symbolic of the New Year.

Apple Topping:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing cake pan

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

3 large tart apples, (Granny Smith or Pippin), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices

Cake

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1 to 1 1/2 cups sifted dark brown sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.

For Topping: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, place butter and cook over medium-high heat until foamy. Add honey and sugar and stir to combine, cooking until sugar dissolves, swirling pan occasionally. Add apples and fold with spatula to coat apples. Cook until apples have softened slightly Remove pan from heat and transfer apples, to a flat plate. Return pan to heat and cook syrup until thick and reserve. When apples are cool enough to handle, arrange apples in the prepared pan in a circular pattern.

For Cake: In a small bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk and vanilla and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well. Add butter and beat until crumbly, then add sour cream and beat until dry ingredients are moistened. Add egg mixture and beat until batter is well blended and fluffy.

Spoon batter over apples and gently spread out to an even layer that covers apple. Bake until cake is dark golden brown, and a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted in center, 35-40 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for five minutes. Loosen sides with a sharp knife.

Place serving plate over top of pan and invert cake so apples are on top. Let cake sit inverted for about 1 minute. Gently remove pan and peel off parchment paper. Just before serving sprinkle with sifted brown sugar, place under the broiler and broil until sugar begins to turn dark brown.

Serve about 10.

Honey-Glazed Apple Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

1 1/3 cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup roasted, chopped walnuts or pecans

1 1/2 cups chopped apples (1 large apple)

1 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup apple juice

Honey-Apple Juice Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Prepare the Honey-Apple Juice Glaze and set aside.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and smooth. Then beat in the brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add half of the flour mixture, then walnuts, apples and raisins and mix well. Blend in apple juice then remaining flour mixture, mixing well. Drop, by rounded tablespoonful, 2 inches apart, onto greased baking sheets. Flatten the mounds slightly with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown. While cookies are still hot, spread thinly with Honey-Apple Juice Glaze.

Makes about five- to six-dozen cookies.

Honey-Apple Juice Glaze

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter or margarine

Pinch salt

2 1/2 tablespoons apple juice

In a small bowl, blend powdered sugar, honey, butter, salt and apple juice until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Makes about 1 cup.

Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Meal


The apple, even more than the bibical pomegranate, has become the symbolic first fruit to be eaten during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which will be observed at sundown, Wednesday, Sept. 15.

During Rosh Hashanah, tradition calls for a perfect apple to be pared and cut into as many pieces as there are people present. A piece of the apple is dipped in honey and passed to each person at the table before the meal begins to symbolize a sweet and joyous New Year.

Apples go into the making of countless dishes in most countries throughout the world for this holiday, and they often are included in every course. So let apples and honey dominate your dessert table this year.

The pie crust for the Apple Meringue Tart is made from a cookie-like dough, which is rolled and baked, then filled with honey-glazed apples and garnished with a toasted meringue topping.

The Apple Upside-Down Cake is a simple version of Tart Tartin, a wonderful French apple dessert.

Everyone loves homemade cookies and the combination of spices — ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg — compliment the Honey-Glazed Apple Cookies, making it impossible to eat just one cookie. This recipe makes six or seven dozen depending on the size of the cookies.

To ensure a “good and sweet year” add these apple desserts to your Rosh Hashanah menu, along with the tradition of serving sliced apples dipped in honey.

A Word About Apples

  • Look for apples that are firm and bright in color. Avoid any that feel soft or
    have bruised areas.
  • Depending on the variety, apples will keep two weeks or more in the refrigerator.
  • After slicing, green apples do not turn brown as rapidly as red apples.
  • Cook apples in a noncorroding saucepan: stainless steel, enamel or glass.
  • Peel apples with a stainless steel vegetable peeler or knife.
  • Granny Smith and Pippin apples are firm and tart and require more baking or cooking
    time; they also require more sugar.
  • Red or Golden Delicious apples need less sugar and take less time to cook.
  • Roman Beauty apples hold their shape and are good for baking.

Apple Meringue Tart

1 (11-inch) sweet pastry crust (recipe follows)

8 to 10 apples, peeled, cored, sliced

Lemon juice and grated peel

1 cup apple juice or water

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup apricot preserves

3 egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch salt

3/4 cup sugar

Prepare sweet pastry crust and bake according to directions.

In a glass baking dish, place sliced apples in a single layer. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

In a heavy saucepan, combine apple juice, sugar, apricot preserves and juice and rind of one lemon. Cook over moderate heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring syrup to a boil and simmer for five minutes or until thickens. Pour over apples and bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes or until apples are soft but firm. Cool.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar, salt and continue beating until whites are stiff, not dry. Add sugar, a little at a time, beating well until stiff peaks. Fill pastry tube with meringue, using (48) rosette tube.

With a slotted spoon, transfer cooled apple slices to baked pie crust. Cover surface of apples completely with meringue. Bake for 10-15 minutes or place under broiler for a few minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned.

Sweet Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons milk or water

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Blend in the milk until the dough begins to come together. Do not over-mix. Knead the dough into a ball, wrap it in waxed paper and chill it for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Roll pastry out, on two large sheets of floured waxed paper, to a round large enough to cover and overlap an 11-inch flan pan with a removable bottom. For easier handling, cover the pastry with another sheet of waxed paper and fold pastry in half. (The waxed paper protects the center of pastry from sticking together.)

Lift the pastry from the bottom waxed paper and place on half of the flan pan. Unfold the pastry and remove the waxed paper that covers it. (At this point the pastry can be covered with plastic wrap and foil and stored in the refrigerator or freeze for several days.)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Bring the pastry to room temperature. Spread a light coating of butter on a sheet of waxed paper and place it, coated side down, inside of the pastry, overlapping around the outside. Cover with another piece of waxed paper with the cut ends in the opposite direction. Fill the center of the waxed paper lined pie shell with uncooked rice or bakers jewels. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sides of the pastry begin to brown. Carefully remove the waxed paper with the rice and continue baking until the bottom of the pastry is lightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

Makes one (11-inch) Pie Crust.

Apple Upside-Down Cake

Honey and apples make this simply delicious Upside-Down Apple Cake symbolic of the New Year.

Apple Topping:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing cake pan

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

3 large tart apples, (Granny Smith or Pippin), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices

Cake

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1 to 1 1/2 cups sifted dark brown sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.

For Topping: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, place butter and cook over medium-high heat until foamy. Add honey and sugar and stir to combine, cooking until sugar dissolves, swirling pan occasionally. Add apples and fold with spatula to coat apples. Cook until apples have softened slightly Remove pan from heat and transfer apples, to a flat plate. Return pan to heat and cook syrup until thick and reserve. When apples are cool enough to handle, arrange apples in the prepared pan in a circular pattern.

For Cake: In a small bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk and vanilla and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well. Add butter and beat until crumbly, then add sour cream and beat until dry ingredients are moistened. Add egg mixture and beat until batter is well blended and fluffy.

Spoon batter over apples and gently spread out to an even layer that covers apple. Bake until cake is dark golden brown, and a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted in center, 35-40 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for five minutes. Loosen sides with a sharp knife.

Place serving plate over top of pan and invert cake so apples are on top. Let cake sit inverted for about 1 minute. Gently remove pan and peel off parchment paper. Just before serving sprinkle with sifted brown sugar, place under the broiler and broil until sugar begins to turn dark brown.

Serve about 10.

Honey-Glazed Apple Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

1 1/3 cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup roasted, chopped walnuts or pecans

1 1/2 cups chopped apples (1 large apple)

1 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup apple juice

Honey-Apple Juice Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Prepare the Honey-Apple Juice Glaze and set aside.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft and smooth. Then beat in the brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add half of the flour mixture, then walnuts, apples and raisins and mix well. Blend in apple juice then remaining flour mixture, mixing well. Drop, by rounded tablespoonful, 2 inches apart, onto greased baking sheets. Flatten the mounds slightly with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown. While cookies are still hot, spread thinly with Honey-Apple Juice Glaze.

Makes about five- to six-dozen cookies.

Honey-Apple Juice Glaze

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter or margarine

Pinch salt

2 1/2 tablespoons apple juice

In a small bowl, blend powdered sugar, honey, butter, salt and apple juice until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Makes about 1 cup.

Judy Zeidler is the author of “The Gourmet Jewish Cook” (Cookbooks, 1988) and “The 30-Minute Kosher Cook” (Morrow, 1999) Her Web site is members.aol.com/jzkitchen. l

For the Kids


Rosh Hashanah is upon us. We will use the shofar to blow us into the new year, we will dip apples in honey for a sweet year and our challah will be round just like the yearly cycle. Our new year will be celebrated this on Sept. 26, the 1st of Tishrei.

Here are some weird customs people perform on Rosh Hashanah that you might not know about:

Eating from the head of a sheep and saying: "May we be at the head and not at the tail."

Not napping on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. Why? Because if we do that on Rosh Hashanah we may end up "napping" through the year.

Eating a pomegranate. It is said that the pomegranate has 613 seeds — just like the number of mitzvot in the Torah.

 

Tashlich Time

Another ritual performed during Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich, which is the act of throwing your sins into running water. People use bread crumbs or rocks to symbolize their sins. They go to running water, such as the ocean or a river, because there are fish there. Fish never close their eyes, so they symbolize the ever-watchful eye of God. Cool, huh?

Apples & Almonds

How About This?

Make Rosh Hashanah Cookie Cutters

You will need:

3 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups margarine

1 beaten egg

2 teaspoons almond

extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

bowl

rolling pin

floured board

cookie cutter(s)

cookie sheet

Combine ingredients. Mix, roll and cut out the dough. Bake until lightly browned at 375 F, about 12 minutes.

Miracle of Miracles!


Have you ever experienced a miracle? What’s a miracle anyway? Is it something that only God can do? The rabbis say that it was the Jews who actually created the miracle of Chanukah. They fought to keep Judaism alive when it was in danger of being extinguished. Here, today, in America, we must fight the same battle. Be part of the miracle: Learn about your Jewish roots; study Hebrew; visit Israel; shine the beauty of our religion on the rest of the world by doing works of tzedakah (charity). Keep the miraculous flame of Judaism going. Don’t let the light go out!

 

Well, here’s something else you can do with apples to make great Chanukah gifts!

What You Need

  • Apples

  • Poster paint for paper or fabric paint

  • Paper plate or shallow tray

  • Paper or fabric

  • Knife to cut the apple

How to Make It

Apple printing is always fun there are two very different prints:

  • There are two different apple prints that are easy to make. Cut an apple in half through the stem to make an apple shape. Cut one through the middle to make a circle stamp with a star in the middle.

  • Put some paint on a tray or paper plate. Take your stamp, put it in the paint and then stamp it on a plain tote bag, T-shirt or paper.

  • Get creative by alternating shapes and colors.

  • Remember to put a thick layer of paper inside the shirt/tote to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the back of the fabric.

WUJS Wants A Sweet Year for Israel


When Kim Herzog dips apples and challah in honey this Rosh Hashana, she says she will be reaching extra deep to get some sweetness, because after six months in Israel, she and the country need it more than ever.

"I want to begin this year with a sense of hope, that Israel can find sweetness in this year at a time that is a very bitter time," said the 23-year-old Pacific Palisades native who since February has been enrolled in the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) Institute for Graduate Studies, an Ulpan and Jewish/Israel studies program in this small town in the Negev desert.

Rabbi Aubrey Isaacs, the director of WUJS, looks forward to helping his students tap into "the moment of hope" that New Year’s provides, a moment that "unites all Israelis and goes beyond the religious-secular divide."

He noted that celebrating the holidays in Israel provides a special opportunity for the close to 40 students at WUJS, who come primarily from the English-speaking Diaspora, to "feel part of the mainstream" and to enjoy living in a country where you don’t have to take a day off to observe Rosh Hashana.

Jared Hochman, 23, from Tarzana, said he’s especially excited about the national experience of the High Holidays in Israel, where "they take on a whole new meaning."

"In the states you have to put up with ‘Merry Christmas,’" he said. "Here it’s ‘Chag Sameach.’"

Hochman explained that he came to Israel to immerse himself in life in the Jewish state after anti-Israel sentiment on the Berkeley campus, where he was a student, pushed him to learn about the country’s history and purpose.

"It’s one thing to read about it. I wanted to experience it myself. That’s why I came here," he said.

Isaacs said that many WUJS students have been pulled to Israel for similar reasons. "People feel they are participating in this dramatic period in Jewish history, in Israel. They’re not just sitting at home watching television and worrying about Israel," he said. "They’re sharing the experience of living in Israel as it goes through a difficult time."

After Herzog spent her junior year at Haifa University in 1999-2000, she knew wanted to return; she felt she needed to come now "to learn more about what it means to live in Israel at all times, and to be supportive of Israel and to be with a community of people who feel it’s important to be here now."

But she added that the violence also made it harder to decide to come. "It’s terrifying, what can I say? It’s a very scary time in Israel’s history."

At the same time, she noted, "As an American being in Israel at this time, I get the sense that people here are quite gratified that there are still people coming — and I get some that say, ‘Are you crazy?’"

Hochman hears the same question from people back home, but he responds by pointing to the incident in which two people were killed at the El Al counter at LAX. "I could be in Los Angeles and get shot."

Hochman said he’s considering making aliyah before he loses his army eligibility so he can participate in this essential ingredient of Israeli life.

The threat of terror occasionally creeps into his consciousness, he said, "but then you realize that you can’t live your life like that."

Herzog, who studied history and is fascinated with the historical lessons Israel provides, noted that while "there’s such a memory in Israel" which spans Jewish history from the Torah to the birth of the State of Israel, "you need to have a very short-term memory" to deal with the current spate of violence.

But memories are especially important to Herzog, who recently volunteered at a museum and learning center created by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising who now live on a kibbutz in the Galilee. She’s considering a career in Jewish education and plans to study at a yeshiva this fall partly to pursue this idea: "I need to know it before I can teach it."

At the yeshiva she also hopes to immerse herself in Torah and continue to explore her newfound connection with prayer. Growing up socially — but not ritually — connected to Judaism, she studied the story of Ruth this past Shavuot and was inspired to take a closer look at observance.

"It talked to me in a way that was emotional, that I hadn’t experienced before," she said of the biblical book. "I’ve been finding more of a openness within myself in prayer, and it’s something that I’m very inspired to do."

She praised WUJS for providing a pluralistic community where students follow many different spiritual paths, from Orthodox to secular, but all dialogue with each other.

"WUJS’ aim is not to make people more observant," said Isaacs of the program, which isn’t affiliated with a particular stream of Judaism and provides an optional religious program that features traditional services. "WUJS’ aim is to encourage people to engage seriously with their own Jewishness, and to challenge themselves."

The New Year Giving Tree


Lady Apple Cordials (serves 18)

18 Lady Apples (or other variety of small apple)
18 cubes of brown sugar, or more Scrub each apple until clean and residue-free. With the small end of a melon scoop,
remove the stem and seeds of the apple, being careful not to scoop through the bottom of the fruit.

If you like, with a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, peel away a narrow border of skin around
the round opening. Insert a cube or two of brown sugar into the hollow of each apple. Place the
apples into a shallow casserole dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. The apples
should be soft to the touch, yet still retain their form.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Apple Kuchen (serves 12)

1 prebaked 9-inch pie crust, or 10-inch tart crust
1 pound cored, sliced apples

Filling:
1 jumbo egg
1/3 cup sour cream or Tofutti sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar