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Baklava (Honey and Nut Pastry)

Directions

Baklava is a delicacy found throughout the Arab world. The Jews who came to Israel from Arab countries continue to prepare and enjoy the taste of baklava. This sweet pastry is sold in both Jewish and Arab markets, and comes in a multitude of varieties.

Pastry: Place sheets of phyllo pastry in a 13x9x2 inch pan, brushing every other sheet evenly with butter. When ten or twelve sheets are in place, combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and clove, and spread 1/3 of this mixture over the sheet. Place another five or six buttered sheets of phyllo on top of nut mixture. Repeat this process two more times, alternating nut mixture with five or six sheets of buttered phyllo. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). With a sharp knife, cut baklava into diamond-shaped pieces. Heat remaining butter (there should be about 1/2 cup) until hot and light brown. Pour evenly over the baklava. Sprinkle a few drops of cold water on top and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) and continue to bake for one hour.

Syrup: In a saucepan combine water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, orange and lemon rind, cinnamon stick and cloves. Heat mixture until a drop forms when placed into a cup of cold water, then simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Strain. When the baklava is baked, pour syrup over it. Makes 30-36 pieces.

Ingredients

  • Pastry
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1-1/2 cups melted sweet butter
  • Dash of ground clove
  • 5 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups walnuts, pistachio nuts or hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • Syrup
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 slices orange & lemon rind
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Honey Cake

This freshly baked traditional honey cake is served with apples, honey, and challah for a sweet new year.

Sponge Cake

This is the traditional cake of Israel - and it is exceedingly popular. It has no Hebrew name but is called the European designation, tort. This cake appears in many shades and is covered in a variety of ways. A typical method involves cutting the cake horizontally in two and covering it with fresh strawberries (for which Israel is famous), jelly and whipped cream.

Kichlach

In Israel, all young men and women are required to enlist for military service at the age of 18. The soldiers, who manage to get home only once every several weeks, enjoy getting parcels with sweet things from home; and mothers are very efficient in keeping them well-supplied with cakes. Derived from central Europe, the popular kichlach are to be found in many of the packages destined for young soldiers. No adequate substitute has so far been found for the homemade product. The word kichlach is Yiddish for cookies.