Bobby’s Apple Cake

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We’re up for another round of The Kosher Connection Link up thingamabob, and with Rosh Hashana right around the corner, this months theme is apples. So ever since I was a little kid I can remember my grandmother making this thing we all called apple cake. For some reason, I never really questioned the idea of how this became known as “apple cake,” as you’ll soon see. Well this apple cake really was always made for Sukkos, and my grandmother had this special sheet pan that she used for it, in fact I think it’s the only thing she made in the pan. Anyway, suffice it to say that it was awesome. It would sit behind my kitchen table, half covered in aluminum foil, but really anyone who passed it, for some reason, had this innate need to just even out the edges. You know – a little slice off the edge to make sure the edge was even…all in the name of science. Last year I decided it was time for me to try and make this “cake.”

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The reason I call this a “cake” is because it’s really more like a pie than a cake. There’s whole apples, mixed with spices, sandwiched between two enriched doughs. Sounds like a pie to me, but for some reason, it’s always been known as apple cake in our house

So last year I ventured out to make it, and got the recipe from my grandmother through my sister in law, which means my grandmother probably left something out, so we wouldn’t make it as well as she does. (I once asked my grandmother for her recipe for meatballs, and she pretty much just told me to throw a can of tomato sauce in a pot with the formed meatballs…after I did that with unwavering faith, and the meatballs were terrible, I asked her, and she was like “well what about the ketchup, sugar, and more water? Of course you have to put that in also!”)  Getting a recipe from my grandmother is like playing broken telephone with some one speaks broken english and can’t hear that well. It’s not always easy. Here’s what I ended up with:

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First thing is to make the dough. I said it was with enriched dough, and by that I mean there’s added fat. In general, you can categorize doughs as just plain old flour, water, yeast, and salt; or you can enrich said dough with different types of fats. This enrichment, obviously effects the taste, but it also preserves the dough, and effects the texture of the dough. You can see the difference when you compare homemade bread (without any added fats), and homemade kokosh, or cinnamon buns. There’s an inherent richness to the dough, but the dough will also be fluffier, and actually last longer. (I say homemade dough, as opposed to store bought dough, because all store bought bread will have different preservatives in it…it’s not natural for a loaf of bread to last more than 3 days). There’s also eggs in the form of yolks, which also add richness, along with color, and other properties that I’m not in the mood of getting in to (read: I’m not really sure, and not in the mood of doing the research).

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Allright, let’s get some margarine a-melting. About 1 pound of fat, which is 4 sticks of margarine/butter. Once the melted margarine is cool, whisk in the eggs. Set aside, and work on the rest of the dough. Add the flour and sugar, and whisk together, and combine remaining sugar, yeast, and tepid water, and whisk to combine. Add yeast mixture and fatty fat fat mixture to the flour, and using the paddle attachment (or a wooden spoon) to mix until it just comes together, and then switch to a dough hook, and knead until it pulls away from the bowl, and a tacky, but not sticky dough forms. Allow that dough to rest in the fridge over night (or up to 3 days).

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On the day you’re ready to make your apple cake, allow the dough to come to room temperature for at least an hour. While the dough is coming to terms with it’s surrounding, make the filling. My grandmaw’s recipe calls for 10 apples, 1/2 cup of sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon juice. You shred the apples, and wring out any excess liquid, and then mix everything together. DSC_3641

You then roll out half the dough, put it on bottom of the sheet pan, place the apple mixture in (leaving about a half inch around the borders) cover with other dough, and crimp the whole thing shut. Brush some egg over top, and let it bake until golden brown and delicious.

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So I actually made this last year for Sukkos, and luckily was able to dig through the archives of all the food I take pictures of (it’s a lot…like, I take pictures of everything, and then I’m too self conscience to post anything about it…but I’ll just save that last part for the couch…aaaanyway…), and if I could critique it, I would say, I would treat this “cake” more like a pie, and would definitely add some sort of thickening agent; flour, corn starch, potato starch, tapioca, whatever. Also, I would consider mixing the apples with sugar, allowing it macerate, and then taking the liquid, and cooking it down and adding that concentrated apple flavor back in. Those are the modifications I’ll probably do this year.

As usual, click on the funny frog looking guy right below this paragraph to see what actual talented people did.

Bobby’s Apple Cake

I know that when I made this last year, I ended up with two whole apple cakes, but I can’t remember if that was because I doubled the recipe. So if you see that there’s a lot of dough, then instead of using half to line the sheet pan, use 1/4…knowwhatimsaying?

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup tepid water
  • 4 sticks margarine
  • 4 yolks
  • 1 whole egg

For the Apple filling:

  • 10 apples (I like to use a mixture of yellow, green, and another apple, to get a good mix of texture and flavor out of the apples), shredded
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Directions:

For the Dough:

  1. Combine flour, and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Combine the vanilla extract, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, yeast, and water in a bowl, and stir to combine until frothy.
  2. Melt the margarine, and when cool, add the yolks and egg, and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the flour mixture, the yeast mixture, and margarine mixture to bowl of a mixer, and with the paddle attachment, mix until everything is combined. Switch to the dough hook, and knead on medium-low until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Place dough in an oiled container, cover, and place in the refrigerator over night and up to 3 nights
  5. On the day of baking, allow the dough to come to room temperature for at least an hour before handling.

For the filling:

  1. To shred apples, peel and core the apples, and run through food processor’s shredding blade.
  2. Combine apples, sugar, and lemon juice, and let sit over colander set in a bowl for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Take reserved apple juice, and set in a pan over medium-high heat and reduce liquid until syrupy.
  4. Add syrup back to apple-sugar mixture, along with corn starch, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, and mix to combine.
  1. Divide dough in half, and roll out half the dough, and spread on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Spread apple mixture over bottom half of dough, leaving a 1/2 inch space around the borders
  3. Roll out other half, and cover everything cinching it all closed.
  4. Whisk remaining egg, and brush over dough
  5. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown and delicious (I can’t remember how long it took, but if I had to guess, it was probably 30 minutes? I dunno, let your nose decide)

Vietnamese Ice Coffee Pops – Kosher Link Up. Blog swap, Plus a Giveaway

Hey friend, guess what…it’s another kosher connection link up thingy that we do every month. And would you believe it if I said it’s the one year anniversary of the whole Kosher Connection Link ups? Of course you would believe me, it would be weird of me to lie like that…anyway, in celebration of the whole shebang, we’re doing a blog swap and of course giving out prizes. I guess let’s start with the prize details (because we know that’s really why you’re here)

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Ready for a fun giveaway to celebrate one year of Kosher Connection? We are giving away two prizes from Emile Henry. A Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random.

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Contest Fine Print:

The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18

Now to the blog swap. So we were all assigned another persons blog, and given the task to recreate something they made. I was assigned the difficult task to try and recreate something from the fabulous website by Hindy G – Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker, which if you’re reading this blog and you haven’t been over there, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Anyway, you might not know me that well, but if you’ve read the blog more than zero times, you can probably guess how good I am at making decisions. Well needless to say, trying to decide what to make from the myriads of awesome stuff on Hindy’s website was an attempt in futility . Just look at all the awesome stuff on her recipe index. Add to this confusion, the fact that it’s nearly as hot as the surface of the sun in my apartment, and I pretty much had to hone in on something that wouldn’t fry my brain any more, so the oven and stove were off limits. At first I wanted to make her homemade KitKat bars, but my doctor asked me not to. So I had to settle for some sort of frozen concoction. After perusing the few recipes listed, I knew is had to be Vietnamese Iced coffee popsicles. Why, you ask? Well mainly because, I like coffee, and it didn’t require too much work.

Confident Cook’s Vietnamese Iced Coffee Pops

There are different ways of getting your caffeine fix with iced coffee, and the Vietnamese version really is just adding sweetened condensed milk to the coffee instead of milk and sweetener. When it comes to making the actual coffee, Hindy used some espresso, but I decided to go with my cold brewed coffee, because I love me some cold brewed coffee.

I ground up some fresh beans, and placed in my french press, poured in water, allowed it to seep overnight, and filtered out the grind.

Mixed the coffee with some sweetened condensed milk to taste (you will probably need less than half of the can)

and poured it into the ice pop molds

I placed them in the oven at 350 for 100 hours, and then barbecued the ice pops over indirect …just making sure you’re paying attention…I placed them in the freezer, d’doy, and when frozen I ate them.

All right, so now’s the part where you want to know how they were right? Well, here’s the thing, this was possibly a last ditch attempt for me to like ice pops. There’s something about eating an ice pop…or let me rephrase that, because you never really eat an ice pop, in fact you never really do anything to an ice pop…you lick it? And then invariably you try to eat it…it’s just, in my humblest of opinions, not really the best vehicle for jamming food down my gullet. Now don’t get me wrong, I ate it, and enjoyed it, but I just don’t understand it…Anyone else out there in internet land understand where I’m coming from? Now one possibility where I went wrong was with the amount of sugar. Since the final result was mainly iced coffee, and a little condensed milk, it was for all intents and purposes, water, which means the final pop, was more like an ice cube than an “ice pop.” I didn’t really measure how much condensed milk I added, but I don’t think I could have added more, so if I make these again, I would probably add some simple syrup to boost up the sugar content, and make more of a slushier ice concoction. Just a thought.

Ok first thing first – don’t forget to head on over to all of the other amazing websites to see what actual talented people do by clicking on the link right below.

And as for the giveaway that we had mentioned above, click on this link to enter, a Rafflecopter giveaway…however if that doesn’t work, just  head on over to http://www.joyofkosher.com, and enter there.

 

Vietnamese Ice Coffee Pops

adapted from Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of Iced coffee (you can follow my instructions on how to make cold brewed, or you can just make a large batch of coffee)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Once you have your cold coffee, it’s just a matter of pouring in enough sweetened condensed milk to taste (I used maybe less than half of the can). (Now as a side point, the way I measured how much coffee I would need, I have 6 ice pop molds, and measured how much liquid one held, multiplied that by 6, and then subtracted a little to compensate for the milk.)
  2. Pop it in the freezer over night, and then enjoy.

Eclairs – January Kosher Link Up

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Another month, and another Kosher Connection Link-Up thingy. This month’s theme – Miniatures, which is great, because I made these here eclairs a little while back, and it was totally on purpose that they came out way smaller than I was expecting. Well then, let’s get going shall we?

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Of course we shall, what a ridiculous question.

Anywhoo, so eclairs, they’re pretty much awesome, correct? So why aren’t we making it more often? Well I don’t know, I guess most people assume that they’re pretty difficult to make, well I’m here to tell you not to assume (you probably think I’m going to say not to assume because it makes an ass out of you and me right? Wrong! You never assume because it makes an ass out of Uma Thurman, and that’s never a good thing). An eclair is simply baked pate a choux, filled with pastry cream, and topped with chocolate, and I intend to tackle each one starting…now.

Pate a choux, which translates into cabbage paste, luckily stuck around even after those damn Frenchies gave it that ridiculous name. Choux paste in it’s most simplistic form is melted butter with some water mixed together with flour, and then mixed together with eggs. It’s really a thing of beauty; It relies on the simple conversion of water to steam to deliver its lift, and what ends up happening is you end up with one giant bubble stuck inside the final product, which is perfect for filling.

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In order to make choux paste. First butter is melted in some water, and when ready, flour is added, and cooked for a little to remove any flour-y taste.

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The resulting batter is left to cool, and then eggs are added and mixed in, which will take a little time to fully incorporate,  and the resulting dough will go from the consistency of a paste to more like a thick pancake batter.

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The batter can then be “cooked” in a few different ways, and one of those ways is to bake it for eclairs/profiteroles. (frying would be another great way which would get you beignets, but that’s another post). I based the recipe off of Michael Ruhlman’s ratio for pate a choux, which means you need a scale (I’m telling you, if there’s one piece of equipment you really should have, it’s a scale, but you know me, I’m not preachy). The ratio he uses (in his book Ratio, which is a great book by the way) is: 2 parts water: 1 part butter : 1 part flour : 2 parts eggs. For me the eggs are usually the rate limiting step, and I base how big/small the recipe will be on the eggs. Since one large egg weighs 50 grams, if you use 1 large egg, you end up with: 50grams water, and 25 grams butter and flour (besides salt, and other flavorings like sugar and vanilla if you want).

For the pastry cream filing, I based it on another ratio in Ruhlman’s book, the ratio for Creme anglais. Creme anglais is a loose custard (whereby custard is defined by – a mixture of eggs and a liquid, which can either be free standing [eg – quiches, cheesecakes…] or not [ex – creme anglais, which includes French style ice creams, creme brulee, pastry cream]). For the non free standing types, there are different ways to thicken the resulting cream, and for our pastry cream (or Crème Pâtisserie if you want to be fancy) it gets thickened by a starch (cornstarch being the first choice since it’s pure starch, but flour, potato, tapioca/cassava would also work). The ratio he uses for creme anglais is: 4 parts Milk/cream: 1 part yolk : 1 part sugar.

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The general idea for making any type of custard usually is to mix the eggs and sugar together, to start dissolving the sugar, and to lighten the eggs with thorough whipping.

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Then the milk is heated up, along with your vanilla bean.

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In our case, I used some ground vanilla bean, which I got so graciously from Bakto Flavors via Kosher Scoop because I’m one of the taste testers…more on that in the future.

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Once the milk is at the desired temperature, it’s slowly added to the eggs a little at a time to temper the eggs (temper means to slowly bring the temperature of one thing that’s colder to the temperature of another thing that’s warmer, but done slowly and gently to avoid overcooking), once tempered, the remaining milk/cream is added to the eggs, and then it’s all poured back into the pot to cook a little more, and if needed strained out. In our case, to incorporate the starch, you first have to mix the cornstarch with some cold milk until it makes a slurry, and then you add the slurry to the heating up milk, and it will then start to thicken (starch only thickens at a specific temperature, which is also why you don’t want to dump it all in dry, because it will begin to thicken the second it hits the hot milk, and form clumps). Set aside to allow to cool.

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To cook the eclairs, preheat an oven to 450, transfer the batter to a piping bag (what you really need is a tip coupler, which can turn any cut ziploc bag into a real piping bag), and pipe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, although you might want to pipe them a little bigger than I did. (You can push down any irregularities, by dabbing at it with a wet finger)

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Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, and then lower to 350 for the last 10-20 minutes, until nicely browned. Take out of the oven, and pierce with tip of paring knife to allow steam to vent out. When cooled enough to handle, use the star tip to pipe the pastry cream inside the eclairs (this will be hard if you don’t have the tips). Set aside on cooling rack.

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To make the chocolate topping, melt a whole bunch of chocolate in a double boiler with a little bit of some sort of fat (butter, vegetable oil, whatever), and dip eclairs into the chocolate. Allow the chocolate tool cool and it will slightly harden, but not too much because of the addition of the fat. (I tried making a ganache by mixing equel parts chocolate and hot milk, but it didn’t work as I had planned, but if I were to make it now, I would do it this way)

Comments: So I made a few mistake – From the beginning in order of appearance:

  1. The tip I have for my tip coupler was too small, resulting in these “mini” eclairs (which I guess wasn’t that bad of a result, but not what I was trying to do).
  2. I forgot to poke a knife in the eclairs as they were cooling, so they deflated (whomp, whomp)
  3. The pastry cream was way too thick. I think maybe because when I made the pastry cream, I forgot about the starch, so I had to heat it back up, and add the cornstarch slurry, but I think I added to much starch, plus I’ve never used ground vanilla bean, and I wonder if it also thickened the sauce more than anticipating.
  4. Because I forgot the deflate the eclairs, it made them soggy, so it was very hard to pipe the already thick pastry cream into it..so that didn’t really go over so great.
  5. I thought I’d be better off making a chocolate ganache…I’m not really sure why, but I made the ganache, that was too thin, and had to make it thicker, and whatever it didn’t work out either.

And there ya have it – eclairs. So it might seem like it’s a lot, with fancy words like: scale, piping bag, temper…oooh that sounds like it’s too much…too much of a patchke…well, it’s not, and you should do it. But do it better than I did.

And to the three people who read this much and haven’t been referred here from another blog (Hey mom, dad, and fan favorite Phoenix Fresser), don’t’ forget to Check out all the other participants in this months Kosher Link-up, by clicking on the funny frog thin-a-ma-bob under here.



Eclairs

adapted from Ratio by Ruhlman

Ingredients:

For the pate a choux:

  • 25 grams butter
  • 50 grams water
  • 25 grams flour
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Pastry cream

  • I used the ratio 4 parts milk/cream: 1 part egg yolk : 1 part sugar, and used 1 yolk, but I don’t remember how much everything else came out…yet another reason to get a scale.
  • Vanilla (if it’s a vanilla bean, you want to cut and scrape the pods into the milk as it’s heating up)
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons milk

For the Chocolate sauce:

  • 3-4 grams bittersweet chocolate chips (I know I’m old, because I find the sweetened ones to generally be way too sweet, and I like the Whole Foods brand which is like 70% cacao, which if I was 15, I would think tastes like bitter terrible-ness, but now I love it)
  • 1-2 teaspoon fat (butter, oil, whatever)

Directions:

To make the pate a choux:

  1. place butter and water in medium sized pot (to be able to accommodate the flour also), and heat over medium heat to melt butter.
  2. Once butter is melted, add all of the flour in at once, and with a wooden spoon, mix together until paste forms. Continue mixing and cooking for another 3-4 minutes to cook out the floury taste. Take off heat and allow to cool, 5-7 minutes.
  3. When cooled, add eggs (one at a time, if using more), and start to mix vigorously. At first it will look like the egg isn’t adding into the dough, but continue beating, and eventually it will all come together…trust me).
  4. Transfer batter to piping bag fittest with widest tube, and pipe large eclair shaped ovals (I guess it’s an oval…)
  5. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350, and cook until beginning to brown (about 10-20 minutes).
  6. When done, place on wire rack to cool, and when cool enough to handle, pierce eclairs on the side with a small knife, to allow steam to escape

For the custard:

  1. Mix together yolk and sugar vigorously until the color of the yolks lighten (we’re after incorporation of air (which lightens the color) and for the sugar to start dissolving into the yolk)
  2. Heat milk or cream over medium heat (I hate heating up milk, because if you turn around for one second it will boil over, and make a big mess…true story…like every time I heat up milk), and if using a vanilla bean, cut lengthwise, and scrape the pods from the inside, and heat up until just about boiling…If using vanilla extract, add it to the egg/sugar mixture…I used ground vanilla bean from Bakto, which I got via Kosher Scoop to test out, and it’s really cool…more on that to come…eventually)
  3. Slowly pour a little of the heated up milk to the egg yolk mixture, and whisk constantly, to heat up the eggs  ever so slightly (ie – temper), and once warm enough, dump the rest in, whisking constantly. When fully mixed, add it back to the pan, over medium-low heat, to heat up some more.
  4. While milk egg mixture is heating up, mix together the 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 2 teaspoons milk, until no clumps are left, and add to the milk-egg mixture, and continue cooking until custard has thickened (when you drag the spatula on the floor of the pan, it should leave somewhat of a trail…does that make sense? meaning – it should take a little bit of time for the mixture to fill in the void the spatula created)
  5. Strain through fine mesh strainer, and set aside.

For the chocolate:

  1. Place chocolate chips on double boiler (that is: you take a medium sized pot, fill it a tiny bit with water (like an inch or so), and heat up to a simmer. Place smaller metal bowl over top of it) and heat up chocolate gently, with the fat in it, constantly mixing with a spatula, and stop just as everything is melted, because it will continue to cook, and you don’t want to burn the chocolate)

To assemble -

  1. With star tip on piping bag, pipe custard into eclairs slowly, while back out, and stop when custard starts oozing out.
  2. Dip each eclair into chocolate mixture, and set aside to cool/harden
  3. Eat every last one of them with out shame knowing full well it’s 100% fat free if you make it yourself

Non-dairy Key Lime Cheesecake Bar with Key Lime Caramel; Plus – A party..and wait, what’s that? A giveaway also?! Who in the what now?? Come on in!

Wow, that’s a mouthful. Anyway, it was quite a hectic weekend, the whole family was down for a kiddush for the daughter, and although I made a whole lot of stuff, I just didn’t have time to take pictures of everything. However, I knew that I had to make at least one thing that I could then post on the blog. I had bought these Key limes a while back, and have been trying to figure out what to do with it.

But before we get cooking, this post is part of this years Rosh Hashana’s Blogger Party, which means a bunch of us weirdos who like food just a little too much, come out with stuff that’s got something to do with Rosh Hashana. What does my post have to do with that? I have no idea, but you could make it and it eat on Rosh Hashana right?

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Plus there’s also a giveaway! Hooray, for free stuff! The people sponsoring this stuff are giving away 3 of Levana Kirschenbaum’s cookbook – Levana’s Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.

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Here are the details -

Welcome to the first ever Jewish Holiday Blog Party, hosted by Jessie of Taste and Miriam of Overtime Cook, and sponsored by Kitchen Aid! As you may know, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is coming up, and Jewish bloggers from all over the world are celebrating with all kinds of twists on traditional Rosh Hashanah foods.
To kick off the celebration, Levana Kirschenbaum is giving away a copy of her fabulous new book, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen to three lucky winners. To enter, leave a comment on this post. Limit one entry per reader per blog so click over to the other participating blogs below for your chance at additional entries! Giveaway ends 5 am eastern time on September 11th, 2012.
Prize is sponsored by Levana and available to readers from all blogs participating in the Rosh Hashanah Blog Party. Prize can only be shipped within the US.
This is the first of hopefully many exciting Holiday Blog Parties, so if you would like to join in the fun, please email holidayblogparties@gmail.com.
Stop by and check out some of these amazing Rosh Hashanah themed recipes on the following blogs:

 

Challah and Bread:

Marlene of The Jewish Hostess made Apple Challah
Amanda of The Challah Blog made Pomegranate Challah
Shelly of The Kosher Home made Apple, Honey and Pomegranate Challah!
Sides, Salads and Starters:
Sarah of Food, Words, Photos made Tzimmes (Rosh Hashanah Carrots)
Tali of More Quiche, Please made Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash
Roberta and Lois of Kosher Eye made Simanim Salad
Chanie of Busy In Brooklyn made Pomegranate Coleslaw
Rivki of Life in the Married Lane made Super Salad
Hannah of Cooking Manager made Beets Marinated with Ginger and Garlic
Sina of The Kosher Spoon made Pomegranate, Almond and Raisin Couscous
Shulie of Food Wanderings made Rosh Hashanah Salad
Hindy of Confident Cook-Hesitant Baker made Warm Roasted Beets with Farro
Sarah of Kosher Street made Sweet Potato Apple Tzimmes
Main Dishes:
Jessie of Taste made Smoked Salmon
Samantha of The Little Ferraro Kitchen made Chicken with Dates
Michele of Kosher Treif Cooking made Coconut Chicken Strips with two dipping sauces
Melinda of Kitchen Tested made Key Lime Glazed Duck
Stephanie and Jessica of The Kosher Foodies made Chicken Braised in Pomegranate
Liz of The Lemon Bowl made Beef Brisket
Estee of Anyone Interested? made Easy Breazy 5 Minute Brisket
Desserts and Drinks:
Miriam of Overtime Cook made Mini Apples and Honey Tarts
Laura of Pragmatic Attic made Fresh Ginger Honey Cake
Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen made Honey Caramel Apple Galette
Danielle of Hugs and Cookies xoxo made The World’s Best Rugelach
Amy of What Jew Wanna Eat made an Apple and Honey Cocktail
Nick of The Baking Process made Apple and Date Honey Squares
Lisa of The Monday Morning Cooking Club made Honey Chiffon Cake and Traditional Honey Cake
Leah of Cook Kosher made Pomegranate Ice Cream
Nossi of The Kosher Gastronome made Non-dairy Key Lime Cheesecake Bar with Key Lime Caramel

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So anyway, back to business, I got it in my brain when I bought these, that I wanted to make some sort of cheesecake bar, but I pushed it off, and pushed it off some more, thinking to myself that I wanted to come up with something else, but alas my brain couldn’t come up with anything. Obviously, I could have made Key Lime Pie, but that would have been too obvious, so that was out (plus, traditional key lime pie is made with sweetened condensed milk, which back in the day since the Keys in southern Florida was very inaccessible was the only thing they had to use to make key lime pie (since milk wasn’t available), but I believe I’m in the process of digressing, so I’ll stop now).

I don’t know how well you know me yet, but I couldn’t just look up a recipe for key lime cheesecake bar, because I had to do it my way. I’m kinda stubborn that way. There were really two steps to the cheesecake bar, the “bar” part and the cheesecake part. For the bar part, I decided to go with a shortbread recipe, and followed the ratio of 1 part sugar 1 part margarine, and 3 parts flour.

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Start by creaming the sugar and margarine, and in order to do that properly, the margarine needs to be at room temperature. I find that limes go well with coconuts, so I used half margarine and half coconut oil (which has the advantage of being at room temperature already, and in recent times has been touted as being better for you than margarine). So into your mixer goes 2/3 cup sugar with 1/3 cup margarine, and 1/3 cup coconut oil (which is a little more than 5 tablespoons by the way), and cream away, until a paste forms. The whole purpose of creaming margarine, is to allow the sugar to punch tiny holes in the fat, which will aerate the dough, which is why it’s crucial for the fat to be at room temperature.

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Scrape that down, and add in your flour (2 cups), salt and vanilla, and continue mixing until it just comes together.

DSC_3206 This is very similar to making a streusal topping, but instead of sprinkling all of this over something, we’re going to press it into a pan, dock it (ie poke it a bunch of times with a fork) and bake it at 350 until nice and golden, approximately 15-20 minutes.

DSC_3207  Now for the cheesecake part. Again, my stubbornness was shining through, and I couldn’t just look up a cheesecake recipe, because that’s what normal people do. No, I had to do it by myself, like the 2 year old I am.

So by classification, a cheesecake is really a custard made with cheese. A custard is pretty much any liquid mixed with eggs, that’s cooked gently so the egg can set up into a solid gel. For a cheesecake, the cheese takes the place of the liquid, and in order to aerate it a little, we cream the cheese with the sugar, and then mix in the eggs. Since we’re going to be making this parve, we used dairy free cream cheese, and dairy free sour cream. Again, the cheese needs to be at room temperature in order to cream properly.

The ratio I normally use for a free standing custard is 2 parts liquid to 1 part egg, as in a creme caramel, or a quiche. If you decrease the amount of eggs and increase the amount of liquid, you get a looser custard (think ice cream, [which happens to be thickened by the process of freezing] or creme anglais [which can be a sauce, and thin, or thickened by a starch…]), or if you remove the whites, and just use yolks, you also get a looser custard (eg a creme brulee).

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I started by creaming equal weights of the cream cheese and sugar (8 oz, or 225grams), until smooth, and then added in the 4 eggs one at a time. Then I added 1/4 cup of the key lime juice, the zest (more on that in a bit), some vanilla extract, and about 6 oz of the non-dairy sour cream, and mixed until smooth.

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I poured it over the now cooled crust, and baked in a 300 degree oven, for about 30 minutes (if you can, bake it in a water bath because of how gently it heats it, but my pan didn’t fit in another container). You want to take it out when it’s still slightly jiggly because it continues to cook after it’s out of the oven, and if you take it out when it’s done, by the time it’s finished cooking, it will be overdone.

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That’s it for the cheesecake bar, but wait there’s more!

Didja notice the “with key lime caramel” part of the heading? Were you wondering what heck that was? Well wonder no more my friend. I saw this idea on Gilt Taste, where they were talking about making caramel sauce, and traditionally it’s made by cooking sugar down to the caramel stage (320-350 degrees), and at which point you add heavy cream, to get what we normally call “caramel,” and they talked about instead of adding heavy cream, why not strawberry puree, and make a strawberry caramel sauce. Well that got me thinking, what about adding key lime juice? So guess what? That’s what I did.

I brought 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water to a boil, and let it cook, until color started to form

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I didn’t use a candy thermometer, but just estimated when it was nice and dark, and added the lime juice. It will bubble like crazy, and that’s normal.

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Then I poured that over the cooled cheesecake, and let it set up

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There’s a lot more to say on the topic of candy making, and the science behind it, but I think I’ve taken up plenty of your time, so maybe another time.

Now for critique – the texture of the cheesecake and the bar, were pretty good in my opinion. I think it was a little too tart partly because of the lime zest (which I would leave out next time), and the amount of lime juice I used (I used a total of 1/2 cup [1/4 cup in the cheesecake, and 1/4 in the caramel sauce]) and I think next time I make it, I would decrease that amount also. Also the caramel sauce never set up into a hard candy like shell, which is what I was going for, and that could also be because I added too much lime juice, and it was more like a creme caramel topping consistency, which isn’t a bad thing, but not what I was anticipating.

Also, I poured it on the cheesecake right away, it to harden, but it never did. I don’t know what I would do differently next time. I would decrease the amount of lime, and possibly, wait a little more before pouring it over the cheesecake. Another thing that happened, was even though I added the caramel after the cheesecake was cool, it formed these cracks in the cheesecake, which was more an esthetic issue then anything else, and since the caramel was slightly runny, it seeped into the cracks. Another option is instead of using 1/4 water, I would use the lime juice. The only problem I see with that is, the whole time you’re cooking the sugar, you’re cooking off the water, so it will all but cook off, but maybe the flavors will stay behind just enough to shine through. I don’t know, but it’s definitely worth a try.

It was still servable, and I think the general consensus was that it was pretty good. Oh well, azoy gaytis, ammiright? Or instead of calling it a “caramel,” I would call it a key lime creme caramel, so it’s supposed to be runny, right? I’m a genius

Well that’s it for now, thanks for joining me for this years Rosh Hashana Blogger Party, and I hope you enjoyed, and don’t forget to comment away, and to visit the other blogs, which I’m sure you’ll be able to get real recipes, that you can actually use…at least you come here for the comedic genius, I know ;)

Non-dairy Key Lime Cheesecake Bar with Key Lime Caramel

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup margarin/shortening/coconut oil (I used 1/3 cup margarine, and 1/3 coconut oil), room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package of non-dairy cream cheese (such as Tofutti brand) – 8 oz/ 225 grams , room temp
  • 6 oz non-dairy sour cream (1/2 a tub), room temp
  • 8 oz sugar (which I think comes out to 1 cup)
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. To make the Crust: Cream the room temp margarine, and coconut oil, with the sugar, until a smooth paste forms. Add vanilla and salt.
  3. Add flour and combine until it just comes together.
  4. Press the dough into a 9×13 pan, and dock with a fork all over
  5. Bake until golden brown. Appx – 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool.
  6. Lower the oven to 300
  7. To make the Cheesecake: Combine the room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar, and cream.
  8. Add eggs one at a time, waiting for each one to incorporate before adding the next one.
  9. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice, and vanilla extract, and combine
  10. Pour over cooled crust, and bake until just barely set, approximately 30-35 minutes. The center should still be slightly jiggly, so keep an eye on it.
  11. Allow to cool, and completely set, before adding the caramel layer
  12. To make the key lime caramel: Combine sugar and water, and bring to a boil, and allow to boil without touching the pot until color starts to form.
  13. Once there’s some color, gently swirl the pan, but avoid sloshing it around too much (if you do, you run the risk of having particles burn on the walls of the pan, but if you do have some sugar on the side, you can always brush it away with a wet pastry brush…).
  14. Lower the heat to medium, and allow to slowly get darker, and thicker, until really dark, but not burnt, turn off heat, and add the remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice. It will bubble vigorously. Wait for it to cool, but still warm, so it doesn’t set, and pour over the cheesecake to allow to (hopefully) set.