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Hanukkah – A berry special time of year

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Blue decor in the home and on the holiday table has been a longtime Hanukkah tradition. I suggest including blue in Hanukkah dishes, as well, by adding berries into the mix. Blueberries will give your Hanukkah menu a fresh, fun and delicious makeover.

Blueberry Pear Cake with Streusel Topping

Blueberry Pear Cake with Streusel Topping

Make this delicious cake a day ahead, to ensure that you have a very special dessert for any night of Hanukkah.

Batter

ο 175 ml (3/4 cup) Canola oil

ο 3 eggs

ο 250 ml (1 cup) sugar

ο 5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla

ο 10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder

ο 310 ml (1¼ cups) flour

ο pinch salt

Filling

ο 3-4 firm pears, cored and sliced (peeling is not necessary unless there are marks or bruises to be removed)

ο 250 ml (1 cup) fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry (check to see that all stems are removed)

Streusel topping

ο 85 g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter or margarine

ο 350 ml (1½ cups) all-purpose flour

ο 125 ml (1/2 cup) brown sugar, packed

ο 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) kosher salt

ο 1 egg white

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Prepare a 25-cm (10-inch) spring form pan with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom and spray with Canola oil spray. In a food processor with feed tube removed, mix oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla until blended.

Replace feed tube and add in dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Layer spring form pan with 1/2 batter, fruit, 1/2 batter.

For Streusel topping: In a food processor, or by hand, combine the first four ingredients until small crumbs form. Gently fold in the egg white until the crumbs are wet.

Cover the top of the cake with the Streusel topping by dropping small bits from a teaspoon until the cake is covered.

Bake 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out dry.

Cool completely before removing from pan, run an offset spatula around the inside of the pan before releasing the spring. Place a flat dish or pizza pan over the cake and carefully turn upside down. Remove the bottom of the spring form pan and the parchment paper, and centre the serving platter over the bottom of the cake.

Carefully turn cake right side up.

Serves 12-14. Freezes well.​

READ: THE SHABBAT TABLE – FOR THE LOVE OF BAKING!

Double Blueberry Blitntz French Toast

Double Blueberry Blintz French Toast

This delightful casserole dish combines the flavours of crusty French toast with the creaminess of cheese blintzes.

ο 16-18 slices challah bread, crust removed

ο 6 large eggs

ο 250 ml (1 cup) 1% milk

ο 60 ml (1/4 cup) corn syrup

ο 175 ml (3/4 cup) orange juice

ο 227 g (1 block) low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

ο 500 ml (2 cups) dry-pressed cottage cheese

Filling

ο 2 large eggs

ο 60 ml (1/4 cup) sugar

ο 15 ml (1 tbsp) pure vanilla extract

ο 500 ml (2 cups) blueberries, fresh or frozen

Blueberry sauce

ο 625 ml (2½ cups) fresh or frozen blueberries

ο 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar

ο 5 ml (1 tsp) grated lemon peel

ο 60 ml (1/4 cup) water

ο 30 ml (2 tbsp) corn starch

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the bread on the sheet. In a food processor or a large bowl, whisk 6 eggs, milk, syrup and orange juice until blended. Dip bread, turning slices over to coat both sides. Set aside on prepared baking sheet.

To prepare the filling, place cream cheese and cottage cheese in a food processor or the bowl of an electric mixer; blend until smooth. Mix in 2 eggs, sugar and vanilla. Gently fold in blueberries.

Prepare a 23-by-33-cm (9-by-13-inch) glass baking dish by coating it with nonstick Canola oil spray. Arrange 6 slices of bread on the bottom, using extra prepared bread to fill in any gaps. Spoon filling over and spread evenly. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over the cheese mixture. With a spatula, place 6 slices of bread over filling, using extra prepared bread to fill in any gaps. If any egg mixture remains, drizzle it over the top of the last layer. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Bake until the top is golden and the casserole is puffed, 50-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, stir the first 4 ingredients together. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved, 8-10 minutes. Retrieve 30 ml (2 tbsp) of blueberry liquid and add it to the cornstarch, mix well. Return it to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Serve with blueberry sauce. Serves 6.