Start Jewish New Year on sweet note
8/30/12 Foodstuffs pastry chef Laura Bosford's apple cake with caramel buttercream, and two apple cakes awaiting frosting, in Evanston | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Apple Cake with Caramel Buttercream
(From Laura Botsford)
2 ½ cups bread flour
2 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Granny Smith apples, chopped
2 sticks butter, unsalted
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup applesauce
Mix butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs. Add buttermilk and applesauce.
Slowly add in dry ingredients. Stir in apples. Pour into two 8-inch, greased cake pans.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes. Cool cakes completely.
When cool, remove cakes from pans and cut off the tops of the cake to make a flat surface.
1 ½ pounds butter, unsalted
½ pound vegetable shortening
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup caramel sauce
Whip butter and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, powdered sugar and mix well, scraping down bowl periodically. When mixture returns to light and fluffy, add vanilla and caramel sauce and mix until well blended. When buttercream is finished, fill cake with two cups in between the two layers.
Frost cake; drizzle with caramel sauce.
Updated: September 13, 2012 8:52AM
Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish new year, begins at sundown on Sept. 16 and ends on Sept. 18, and from those fluffy, brioche-like challah breads to plump galettes loaded with seasonal fruits, bakers everywhere are firing up their ovens to create treats to set the new year off on a sweet course.
While honey, fruits and other foods high in natural sugar content have symbolized a sweet start to countless celebrations, innovative bakers are giving some of those trusty holiday ingredients new play in modern recipes.
Laura Botsford, executive pastry chef at Foodstuffs Gourmet Foods & Catering in Evanston, will introduce an Apple Cake with Caramel Buttercream for Rosh Hashanah. The cake is just one of 13 pastry items on Foodstuffs’ special holiday menu. “Apples symbolize the sweetness of the new year,” Botsford explained. “The round shape of the cake symbolizes the circle of life; this cake is perfect for the holiday.”
Apples dominate dinner tables the world over during Rosh Hashanah, providing opportunities to explore uses for different varieties. Botsford uses lime green-colored Granny Smith apples in her cake. A touch of cinnamon, cloves and ginger works well with the slightly acidic-tasting Granny Smiths. Some apple sauce keeps Botsford’s cake from tasting dry. “It’s a moist cake with chunks of apples and a hint of spice,” she said.
At Deerfields Bakery, where a gluten-free version of challah bread this year joins their Rosh Hashanah menu of sesame seed, poppy seed, raisin and other challah breads, plums star in three desserts. Plum Melba is like a coffee cake made with plums and sprinkled with crumbles on top; Plum Kuchen is similar to a tart. The Plum Galette, which is framed in a rustic crust with the edges coarsely folded around, is similar to a tart, but with a sweeter crust. Deerfields Bakery makes their galette with prune plums. Sometimes called Empress Plums, this European variety is oval-shaped and dark blue in color. Prune plums have higher sugar content and lower water content, making them ideal in coffee cakes.
Warren Lauer, a baking manager who has crafted sweets at Deerfields Bakery for 35 years, shared a tip for making pie crust as flaky as possible: mix the dough with ice water. “Just long enough so it is tender and flaky,” he said. The ice water keeps the fats in the dough cold, preventing them from melting and losing the qualities that help them make a flaky crust. Some bakers even freeze butter and other fats before using them for baking.
Bakers at Glenview House in Glenview will sweeten a cream cheese frosting with that quintessential Rosh Hashanah ingredient — honey — to top off a grilled carrot cake muffin. The dessert will be part of a four-course holiday menu that will be served Sept. 16-18.
And for those who lack time to bake at home, a plate of symbolic fruits with a honey dipping sauce is a simple, suitable and sweet Rosh Hashanah dessert.
L’Shanah Tovah! (Good new year to you!)