Home Holiday Recipes Squares are the perfect alternative to mandelbread

Squares are the perfect alternative to mandelbread

Ravioli Flower Pie (Randy Fingrut photo)

Much as we enjoy feasting – and talking about food –  on Rosh Hashanah, let’s not forget that Yom Kippur starts at sunset on Sept. 18.

Preparing to break the fast should not be complicated. It is customary to offer a meal that is comforting and easy on the stomach. Dairy dishes – like bagels, lox and cream cheese – are recommended. These go well with mildly spiced casseroles. Choose a hot dish that is prepared the day before and only needs to be heated up. As well, prepare a light salad the day before, which can be eaten while the main course is in the oven. To finish, serve fresh fruit and a sweet baked treat and you will have it all wrapped up fast and easy.

Ravioli Flower Pie

ο 2 cloves garlic, minced

ο 1 medium zucchini

ο 1 large red pepper

ο 60 ml (4 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil, divided

ο 10 g (2 tsp) salt

ο 3, 275 g (9 oz) packages ravioli (cheese or vegetable)

ο 75 g (3/4 cup) grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

ο Canola oil spray

ο 250 ml (1 cup) tomato sauce

ο 5 g (1 tsp) dried oregano

ο 5 g (1 tsp) dried basil

ο 150 g (12 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

ο 1 pkg. vegan pepperoni or salami slices (optional)

Spray a 25-cm (10-inch) Pyrex pie dish with Canola oil.

Chop the zucchini and red pepper into small dice.

Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding in the 10 g (2 tsp) of salt. Cook the ravioli according to the package directions.

Heat 30 ml (2 tbsp) of olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the garlic until soft and add in the vegetables. Sauté until tender.

Drain ravioli in a colander and rinse with cold water.

Toss ravioli in a large bowl with the remaining olive oil, then toss with the Parmesan cheese until all the pasta is coated with cheese.

Add the sautéed vegetables and herbs to the tomato sauce.

Spread 3/4 of the sauce on the bottom of the prepared dish.

Standing the ravioli on their sides, shingle the pasta around the edge of the pie dish until you have completed a circle. Inside the ravioli circle, sprinkle the mozzarella and place a row of vegan pepperoni. Repeat with a second circle, continuing to repeat the circles, until the pie dish is filled. In the centre of the pie, spoon in remaining tomato-vegetable sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake the pie until the cheese is melted and the pasta is slightly toasted, about 20-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing. This dish can be prepared in advance and refrigerated or frozen.

Allow extra baking time to reheat, approximately 25-35 minutes, if chilled. If frozen, defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serves 6-8.


Florentine Squares

These delicious squares are an amazing alternative to the traditional mandelbread, or almond bread, that’s traditionally served this time of year. They are an elegant treat composed of almonds and candied fruit, edged with bittersweet chocolate.


ο 175 ml (3/4 cup) unsalted butter

ο 125 ml (1/2 cup) icing sugar

ο 350 ml (1½ cups) flour

ο 175 ml (3/4 cup) sliced blanched almonds


ο 60 ml (1/4 cup) melted butter

ο 250 ml (1 cup) sugar

ο 350 ml (1½ cups) sliced blanched almonds

ο 250 ml (1 cup) candied mixed fruit

ο 125 ml (1/2 cup) glazed cherries, halved

ο 175 ml (3/4 cup) low fat sour cream

ο 10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla

ο 125 ml (1/2 cup) flour


ο 100-350 g (4-12 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F). Place parchment paper to cover the bottom and the sides of 4.5-qt Pyrex baking dish. In food processor, cream butter. Add in sugar and flour until combined. Pulse in almond slices. Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.

In a bowl, combine topping ingredients and spoon over base. Bake 20 minutes, or until top is slightly golden. Cool completely before cutting into squares. I recommend using a pastry scraping tool to cut pastry into squares.

Melt 100 g (4 oz) of chocolate for one minute in the microwave and stir until smooth. Prepare a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Either dip the sides of the squares into melted chocolate, or place melted chocolate into a piping bag and pipe the chocolate along the top sides of the squares. Melt additional chocolate, if needed. Place squares on prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until chocolate hardens. Either keep refrigerated in a covered container for several days, or freeze until needed.

Makes approximately 28 squares.


Lettuce Salad with Apples and Creamy Dressing

ο 1 clove garlic

ο 250 ml (1 cup) light cream cheese

ο 125 ml (1/2 cup) skim or 2% milk

ο 30 ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil

ο 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

ο zest of 1 lemon

ο 5 ml (1 tsp) dried tarragon

ο 1 large head of iceberg or romaine lettuce

ο 1-2 firm apples (honey crisp or Fuji)

Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add cheese, milk, oil, salt, lemon zest and tarragon. Process until combined.

Wash lettuce and spin or dry well. Place lettuce on a large platter. Cut apples in half, core and thinly slice lengthwise.  Arrange apple slices over lettuce and drizzle dressing over the salad.

Share and enjoy !