Exciting holiday desserts from the ‘Sweet Genius’
Your Jewish holiday desserts don’t have to be boring.
That’s what Amos Hayon, an Israeli pastry chef at Lola Restaurant in the Great Neck neighbourhood on Long Island, N.Y., believes.
He appeared on an episode of the Food Network’s Sweet Genius program in 2011. He took home the $10,000 prize after competing against three other chefs and completing three challenges that include using mystery ingredients and creating a theme-inspired dessert. Read more about Amos at Amoshayon.com.
Here are some unique desserts, courtesy of Amos:
APPLES WITH DRIED FRUIT AND MARZIPAN
8 green apples, peeled and cored
200 g good-quality marzipan
The dry fruit filling:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 egg white
1 tbsp. margarine
1 1/4 cups white wine
Mix together in a medium sized bowl all the dried fruit filling ingredients.
Take the apples and fill them inside with the mixture. Take the marzipan, break it into 8 balls and roll out flat. Individually cover each apple with the flattened marzipan.
Place the apples in a 13-in.x 9-in fire-resistant baking dish.
Pour into the dish about 1 1/4 cups of white wine.
Place the apples in the oven at 320 degrees for 60-90 minutes until the apples soften.
Place the apples on a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Serve with vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream. (serves 8)
BREAD PUDDING WITH CARMELIZED APPLES
6 green apples, peeled, cored and cut into medium sized cubes
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tsp.vanilla extract
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. cornstarch
Ingredients for bread pudding:
1 lb. dried white bread cut into cubes
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
5 medium eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Ingredients for streusel mixture:
1 ½ cups white flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
peel from 1 lemon
1 tsp. baking powder
Boil sugar and water in a large pot over high heat until you get dark caramel.
Cook the apple cubes in the caramel mixture for about 10 minutes.
When the apple consistency is nearly liquid, add the vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, ground cardamom and the butter, and continue to cook together over medium heat.
In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with a ½ cup cold water and add to the apples in the caramel pot.
Continue to cook another 5 minutes until the apple caramel mixture condenses. Remove it from the heat and cool to room temperature.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the milk, heavy cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. When the batter is smooth, add the bread cubes. Let the bread soak in the batter for about 20 minutes.
Line a 13-in. x 9-in. fire-resistant baking dish with baking paper. Move the bread pudding mixture into the dish. Now place the caramelized apples on top of the pudding.
In a separate bowl mix all the ingredients for the streusel until you get crumbling dough with a sandy consistency.
Spread the streusel crumbs on top of the caramelized apples.Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour.
Sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon on top and serve with vanilla ice cream. (serves 10-12)
CARMELIZED APPLES AND CINNAMON CAKE
Ingredients for preparing the caramelized apples:
5 green apples, peeled, cored and small diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
Ingredients for the mixture:
2 cups white flour
6 tbsp. almond flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter or margarine
4 medium eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream
Place the sugar and water in a heavy frying pan over high heat and begin to make the caramel. When the caramel is dark and starts to smoke, reduce the heat and add the apples. Mix the apples so they’re completely covered with caramel.
Add the butter to the pan, mix, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Mix the dry ingredients-- white flour, almond flour, salt, white sugar and baking powder in a bowl mixer using a flat paddle beater.
Add the remaining butter, eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream to the mixer.
Mix all the ingredients together in the mixer until smooth.
Grease a 9-in. round baking dish all over, including bottom and sides, and spread the caramelized apples all over the bottom of the dish. Pour the mixture from the mixer on the apples. Bake for 50 minutes at 350.
Poke a toothpick in the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean and dry, take the cake out and let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Remove the cake from the baking dish by turning it over so that the cake is upside down and the apples are on top. Sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon on top. (serves 10-12)