Home Food The Shabbat table: happy birthday, Canada – Canadi-yum!

The Shabbat table: happy birthday, Canada – Canadi-yum!

Bagel with lox and cream cheese. KENNETH LU PHOTO

Good Shabbos, Shabbat shalom! Happy 150th Birthday, Canada! This weekend, Canadians all over the world will be gathering together with friends, family and fellow Canadians to celebrate this momentous occasion. And what do people do when they get together? They eat. And foods with a Canadian connection will be on the top of their lists. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that so many people around the globe are enjoying my recipes and cookbooks. The world needs more Canada!

Will you be serving Toronto or Montreal bagels? Don’t forget to top it with smoked salmon/lox (either B.C. or Atlantic).

Canadian cookbook author Daniella Silver’s Maple-Cinnamon Chicken makes a marvellous main dish, using world-famous Canadian maple syrup.

Nanaimo Bars and iconic Butter Tarts are also Canadian favourites.

And don’t forget about Tangy Sweet and Sour Meatballs (be sure to use Canada Dry Ginger Ale!) … the list is endless.

Here are a few of my favourite desserts that I’ve taught to students in my cooking classes over the years, ones that they’ve shared with friends and family. These recipes are in all three editions of my processor book, including the latest, The New Food Processor Bible, 30th Anniversary Edition (Whitecap).

My trifle and Nanaimo Bars don’t require baking and my version of Butter Tarts is made in one pan, so there’s no need to cut out individual tarts. Ooey, gooey, sweet and sticky, and so easy! I hope these yummy sweets will continue to be enjoyed by future generations. Time to celebr-eat!


Adapted from The New Food Processor Bible (Whitecap)

This easy dessert is great for a crowd – no baking required! For a special touch, arrange the strawberries on top in the shape of the Canadian flag.

1 pint strawberries, hulled (or more)
2 bananas
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding (6-serving size)
1 1/2 cups light sour cream or yogourt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 sponge cake, cut in 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup rum or orange liqueur
2 cups chilled whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar or icing sugar
Grated semisweet chocolate, for garnish

Slicer: Reserve several strawberries for garnish. Slice remaining strawberries, using gentle pressure. Transfer to a bowl. Cut bananas to fit feed tube. Slice, using light pressure. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Transfer to another bowl.

Steel Blade: Process pudding with sour cream for a few seconds. Slowly add milk through feed tube, while machine is running. Process for 20 seconds, or until blended. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.

Place 1/3 of the cake in a three-quart glass bowl. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of rum or liqueur. Arrange strawberries over cake and cover with half the pudding. Repeat with cake, liqueur and bananas. Top with remaining pudding and cake. Wash bowl and blade.

Steel Blade: Place a thick book underneath processor base, so machine is tipped forward. Do not insert pusher in feed tube. Whip cream until it’s the texture of sour cream, 35 to 40 seconds. Add sugar and process a few seconds longer, until stiff.

Garnish trifle with whipped cream, grated chocolate and strawberries. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Serves a large crowd.


Adapted from The New Food Processor Bible (Whitecap)

No need to make individual tarts. Fabulous!

1/2 cup butter or tub margarine, cut in chunks
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp icing sugar or brown sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For base: Process butter, flour and icing sugar on the steel blade until blended, about 20 seconds. Press into the bottom of a sprayed nine-inch square baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

For topping: Combine all ingredients for topping, except raisins. Process until well mixed. Add raisins and blend in with two quick on/off pulses. Pour over base. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until golden. When cool, cut into squares.

Yield: 25 squares. Freezes well.


Omit raisins. Sprinkle 3/4 cup pecan halves or pieces over baked base before adding topping. Bake as directed.


Adapted from The New Food Processor Bible (Whitecap)

These delicious squares are sure to be a favourite with your family! No baking required.

1/2 cup butter or tub margarine
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs or granola cereal
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/4 cup soft butter or tub margarine
3 Tbsp milk
2 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla pudding powder or custard powder

4 squares (4 ounces/125g) semisweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter or margarine

For base: In a large, microwavable bowl, microwave butter or margarine on high, until melted, about one minute. Blend in cocoa, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Microwave, uncovered, for one minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Mixture will resemble custard. Chop nuts on the steel blade with six or eight quick on/off pulses. Add nuts, graham wafer crumbs or granola and coconut to microwaved mixture; stir well. Press evenly into a sprayed nine-inch square pan.

For filling: Process all filling ingredients until well mixed, 15 to 20 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Spread filling evenly over base. Chill for 15 minutes.

For glaze: Microwave chocolate and butter or margarine on medium (50 per cent) for two to three minutes, until melted, stirring after each minute. Let cool for 10 minutes. Pour glaze over filling. Tilt pan back and forth so that glaze coats evenly. Chill. Cut into squares.

Yield: Two dozen. Freezes well, but cut into squares before freezing.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of 12 cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is, “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website, or email her at goodfood@gourmania.com.