Tu b’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat, which begins at sunset on Feb. 9, is called the holiday of the trees and the holiday of fruit. It is also called Chamisha asar b’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat. The Tu comes from the Hebrew letters, tet vav, which add up to 15.
Beginning at the end of the 17th century, eating fruit became a custom associated with Tu b’Shevat, frequently the sheva minim, the seven species mentioned in Deuteronomy grown in Israel – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
Here are some recipes to help you celebrate.
Date Nut Carob Torte
o 250 ml (1 cup) chopped dates
o 250 ml (1 cup) ground nuts
o 50 ml (¼ cup) carob powder
o 4 separated eggs
o 2 ml (¼ tsp) cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F). Grease a 23-cm (9-inch) cake pan.
In a mixing bowl, toss dates and nuts with carob powder.
Separate eggs, adding yolks to mixing bowl. Place whites in a separate bowl and beat with cream of tartar until they hold stiff peaks.
Add to date-nuts-carob powder – egg yolks mixture and blend.
Spoon into greased cake pan and bake for 15-25 minutes. Test every 5 minutes with pick inserted into center until it comes out clean.
Makes four servings.
o 24 dried figs with a horizontal slit part of the way in each fig
o Peel of 2 oranges, cut in strips
o 250 ml (1 cup) almonds
o 250 ml (1 cup) sweet wine
Preheat oven to 180 C (375 F).
Stuff each fig with 1 piece orange zest and 1 almond. Pack into a small baking dish that will hold them tightly in one layer.
Pour wine over figs. Place another glass baking on top to weigh them down and to get the figs flat and covered in wine. Place first baking dish into a second dish and bake for 20 minutes.
Makes eight servings.
Easy Almond Cake
o 250 ml (1 cup) flour
o 2 ml (½ tsp) baking soda
o 50 ml (¼ cup) soft margarine or 45 ml (3 tbsp) vegetable oil
o 250 ml (1 cup) sugar
o 5 ml (1 tsp) almond extract
o 2 eggs
o 50 ml (¼ cup) buttermilk, yogurt or
o 30 ml (2 tbsp) finely sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Grease a 23-cm (9-inch) cake pan or a square pan.
Stir together flour and baking soda.
In a mixer, beat margarine or oil, sugar, almond extract and eggs. Stir in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, yogurt or non-dairy creamer and blend.
Pour into greased bake pan. Sprinkle top with almonds. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Makes eight servings.