Favorite Holiday Recipes

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These recipes accompanied the article “This Holiday Season, Eat — Nevermind” in Volume 85, Issue 4 of The Shakerite.

King Cake

Serves 12

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s 2008 recipe for The Food Network

A staple of Mardi Gras celebrations hailing from New Orleans, King Cake provides a delicious, bright alternative to plainer desserts. Lemony-vanilla glaze and purple, green and gold sugar — representing justice, faith and power — adorn the circular cake, which is made from a rich, bread-like dough. Fillings vary between almond paste, cinnamon swirl and vanilla cream cheese; this recipe includes almond paste, my personal favorite. Another King Cake quirk: each one has to include one small, plastic baby Jesus. The toy is entirely harmless to both the cake and the eater. According to tradition, whoever gets the baby Jesus in his slice of cake has to make the King Cake for next year’s celebration — or he just gets a year’s worth of good luck. Most people choose the latter interpretation. You can order a King Cake baby online, or use a pecan half or uncooked dried bean instead. – Abby White, Print Managing Editor

Materials:

Large baking sheet, parchment paper, assorted sized bowls, mixing utensils, food processor.

Ingredients:

Dough:

½ cup warm water (105-115 degrees)

On Mardi Gras, the day before Lent, some Christians feast to prepare for the 40-day holiday and make such traditional dishes as the colorful King Cake.

Andrew Boyle
On Mardi Gras, the day before Lent, some Christians feast to prepare for the 40-day holiday and make such traditional dishes as the colorful King Cake.

2 packages dry yeast (equivalent to 2 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons sugar

4 cups flour

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)

½ cup melted unsalted butter, cooled

5 egg yolks

1 King Cake baby, pecan half or uncooked dried bean (optional)

Filling:

1 ½ cups blanched almonds

1 ⅔ cups powdered sugar

¼ cups egg whites

Glaze:

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

Purple, green and gold (or yellow) sugar crystals

Preparation:

Filling:

1. In a food processor, grind the almonds into a fine powder, approximately 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and blend well. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, blend in the egg whites until smooth.

2. On a flat surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, roll out the almond paste into a long, flat, vaguely rectangular shape. Cut the paste into strips, about one inch wide apiece. Wrap the strips in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready for use.

Dough:

1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar. Mix these ingredients well and set aside to a warm place for about 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 4 cups of flour, ½ cup sugar, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Then add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks and the yeast mixture. Beat the mixture until it becomes a smooth dough.

2. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead flour into the dough until it stops being sticky. Then, continue kneading for about 10 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

3. Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn the dough once so the greased surface is on top. Then, cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for about 1½ hours, or until it doubles in bulk.Once the dough has finished rising, place it onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down. Knead the dough lightly. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a long, flat, vaguely rectangular shape. Press the strips of almond paste into the dough so that the paste covers the dough evenly. Then, roll the dough into a cylinder about 30 centimeters long, pinching edges together. Place the cylinder onto a buttered baking sheet. Shape into a ring, placing a well-greased, small, oven-proof bowl in the center to keep its shape; pinch the cylinder’s ends together to seal the ring. Press the King Cake baby or substitute into the ring from the bottom so that the dough hides it completely. Cover the ring with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until it doubles in bulk.

4. Bake the cake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the center bowl immediately. Allow the cake to cool before applying glaze.

Glaze:

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and water and beat until smooth.

To finish the cake, drizzle it with glaze and sprinkle the sugar crystals over it, alternating colors.

 

 

Matzah Brei, Pancake/Souffle Style

Serves 4

Zachary Nosanchuk

This delicious Passover breakfast provides an alternative to French Toast. The salt rounds out all the flavors; the cloves add extra complexity, but can be omitted. If the pancake falls apart during cooking, simply push it back to its shape and the cooking of the egg will keep it together. – Zachary Nosanchuk, Staff Reporter

Materials:

Medium-sized skillet, large whisk, 2 large bowls, spatula, serving plate.

Ingredients:

5 eggs

¼ cup milk (any type)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves (optional)

½ teaspoon vanilla

Matzah Brei, a traditional Jewish dish served during Passover, sits next to Passover symbols representing the Ten Plagues and food on the seder plate, as well as Matzah.

Andrew Boyle
Matzah Brei, a traditional Jewish dish served during Passover, sits next to Passover symbols representing the Ten Plagues and food on the seder plate, as well as Matzah.

5 pieces of matzah

2 tablespoons butter or enough cooking spray to cover skillet

Jam, maple syrup, cinnamon sugar, or other preffered toppings

 

Preparation:

1. Whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (if using) and vanilla until a uniform yellow color appears. Cinnamon streaks can remain, as they contribute to the dish’s rustic flair.

2. In a separate bowl, crumble the matzah into small pieces and pour enough warm water on top to cover them. Soak the matzah pieces, moving and squeezing the bitsfrequently, for 30 seconds, or until soft. When done soaking, squeeze excess water from crumbled, soft matzah and place the matzah in the egg mixture. Mix together egg custard and crumbled matzah thoroughly.

3. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Alternatively, if using cooking spray, heat the pan on a medium-high heat until the pan becomes hot and then spray on cooking spray. Pour the “matzah brei batter” into the pan, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes or until browned, placing spatula under pancake occasionally to loosen. To flip, slide the pancake onto a large plate. Then, place an upside-down skillet on the pancake and flip it over, so the browned side faces upward.

4. Cover the pan, reduce to medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. This step is crucial: it gives the matzah brei a fluffier, lighter texture and cooks the brei throughout. Slide the brei out of the pan and let it rest for 1 minute. Slice into pie-like slices or quarters, and top with maple syrup, various jams, or cinnamon sugar.

Note:

This recipe can be easily adapted for a scrambled version. Simply pour the matzah brei batter into the buttered skillet, and cook like scrambled eggs, sliding the cooked sides into the center of the mixture. Continue, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked. Serve with syrup.

 

 

Egyptian Lentil Soup

Serves 4

Imam Mohamed Magid

Muslims eat this spiced traditional soup during Ramadan after sundown or during the Eid-al-Fitr feast. This soup is especially popular in Sudan, Imam Mohamed Magid’s homeland, during the holiday. Either vegetable stock or chicken stock works well in this dish. The pita chips are vital for crunch and texture. – Zachary Nosanchuk, Staff Reporter

Materials:

Large saucepan, wooden spoon, medium pot, hand-held immersion blender or regular blender, serving bowls.

Ingredients:

2 cups dried orange split lentils (also called red lentils)

8 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock, more as needed

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 thin-skinned potato (like Yukon gold), cut into a small dice

1 carrot, peeled, cut in a small dice

Egyptian Lentil soup, a common dish in Imam Mohamed Magid’s homeland of Sudan, among Ramadan’s most prominent symbols, including dates and a crescent moon and star cut out of green paper.  Muslims break the fast by eating dates to recall the Islamic prophet Muhammed, who practiced the same tradition, according to Muslim texts. Green is considered a holy color due to Muhammad as well: it was supposedly the prophet’s favorite hue, and the Quran references it often.

Andrew Boyle
Egyptian Lentil soup, a common dish in Imam Mohamed Magid’s homeland of Sudan, among Ramadan’s most prominent symbols, including dates and a crescent moon and star cut out of green paper. Muslims break the fast by eating dates to recall the Islamic prophet Muhammed, who practiced the same tradition, according to Muslim texts. Green is considered a holy color due to Muhammad as well: it was supposedly the prophet’s favorite hue, and the Quran references it often.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Pita chips to garnish*

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Preparation:

1. In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with 5 cups of stock. Add tomato, potato, carrot, and salt and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on top.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes, then turn the heat to  medium-low and cook until golden and caramelized, about 8 minutes. Make sure the onions do not burn, as if they do, they will change the flavor of the soup. Stir in the cumin and turmeric, cook 1 minute. Turn off heat and set aside.

3. Remove the lentil mixture from heat and purée using a hand-held immersion blender or in batches in the regular blender. Add to the onions and spices along with the 3 cups stock, if you prefer a thicker soup, add less. Bring soup to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until flavors meld.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topped with the pita chips and parsley or cilantro.

*To make your own pita chips, simply cut store-bought pita into wedges, mix with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake in a 400 degree oven until crisp. If not, simply buy plain pita chips.

 

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