With lots of other projects keeping me busy, I may only be baking on Sunday mornings for a little while. As I’ve mentioned in the last two cake posts, I’m finding Jewish recipes for our cake & coffee time to go along with a series of sermons on the Feasts of Israel.
I can get very indecisive when I’m picking something to bake, so having some parameters to work with and people to cook for makes it more fun as I try new things. I’m not terribly familiar with kosher cooking, much less the extra restrictions that come with Passover, but I do find working within limits can help jog some creativity.
I could find some of the basic specialty ingredients – matzo meal and matzo cake meal and potato starch at the local grocery store. I didn’t find vanilla sugar (can’t use extract because of the alcohol base) but I did find a mixed-fruit cobbler recipe that had a few variations suggested.
It started as an apple-rhubarb recipe, but I decided to make it with cranberries instead of rhubarb, since we had a bag in the freezer that I’d just noticed. I didn’t think cinnamon would be as complementary to the cranberries, so, thinking of my favorite applesauce recipe, I decided to use ground cloves with the filling and ground ginger in the topping. Since I didn’t have vanilla sugar, I grated the zest from one of the oranges and put that in the topping instead.
Apple Cranberry Cobbler
- 4-5 baking apples, peeled and chopped into chunks (tart apples like Macintosh or Jonathan work well)
- 1 cup cranberries (can be defrosted frozen ones)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange worth)
- 2 Tbs potato or corn starch
(Don’t care about Kosher passover restrictions? See my note below)
- 1 1/2 cups potato starch
- 1 cup matzoh meal
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp grated orange peel (about 1 orange worth, just the bright colored zest)
- 1 large pinch ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup orange juice (about 1 orange worth)
Preheat oven to 350°. Keep the butter papers to grease a 9×13″ rectangular or 10″ circular baking pan.
Prepare the fruit and mix together, then set aside so the sugar draws out the juice (this is called “macerating” – which sounds much more violent than it is). Apples can turn brown quickly if you leave them sitting out and I was doubling the recipe, so I used a large bowl of water with a bit of lemon juice sprinkled over them as they bobbed around to keep them looking fresh.
Mix together the flours and spices, then rub in the butter until it is well mixed and crumbly. Stir in the orange juice lightly with a fork until it sticks together. Pack the dough down in the bowl and draw a line down the center, then separate in half.
Grease the pans and put in half the dough, pressing it out into an even layer with your hands. Pour the filling into the crust and crumble the rest of the dough, sprinkling it over the top of the fruit.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for at least 30 minutes – it may take 40 minutes. You want the juice from the fruit to boil and thicken and the topping to strart to brown a bit (or just turn slightly golden).
I doubled the recipe and found it took longer to cook, but I also had to pull it out of the oven and bring it to church, then return it to the oven, which made it take longer overall. Basically, look to see if the juice is still really thin and keep cooking until it thickens and the top is crispy and the fruit softened.
If I wasn’t making this with kosher ingredients, I would use corn starch to thicken the fruit filling and a mix of regular flour and quick oats to get the crumbly crust/topping.
Author: Marcy Goldman
Source: A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, 1st edition (1998), p. 290