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Enjoy dairy treats for Shavuot’s holiday – Orange County Register

Enjoy dairy treats for Shavuot's holiday - Orange County Register

We love the creamy specialties of Shavuot, which starts this year on Saturday evening, June 4.

Shavuot commemorates the reception of the Torah by Moses and the Hebrews on Mount Sinai. It is said that the ancient Israelites avoided meat the day before this important event, which was the origin of the holiday custom of serving dairy products. Some attribute this tradition to the season, as the holiday falls at the time of year when cows, goats and sheep give plenty of milk.

Growing up, I always looked forward to my mom’s Shavuot apple noodle kugel with cottage cheese. Now I make an even richer version with cream cheese and butter.

Cream cheese also enriches our lemony blueberry muffins. We use sour cream and whipped cream in our coconut-pineapple bars and ricotta in a quick and easy tortilla-based fruit pie.

For a savory Shavuot pastry, our first choice is a Mediterranean vegetable galette with a flaky cream cheese dough. We stuff it with roasted aubergine, roasted peppers and for a double cheese delight we add feta cheese.

Creamy Apple Noodle Kugel

Creamy Apple Noodle Kugel is served with Berry Compote. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

When this delicious kugel enriched with cream cheese, cottage cheese and butter was baking, the smell asked Yakir if I was baking a cheesecake. This Dana Shrager recipe is from “The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook by Beth A. Lee.”

Yield: 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

6 ounces wide egg noodles

Vegetable oil to drizzle

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, full or low-fat, warmed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing

1/2 cup small cottage cheese, regular or low-fat

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs, beaten

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes

berry compote:

1 cup quartered strawberries

1 cup blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PROCEDURE

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the oven rack in the center. Butter an 8-inch glass baking dish.

2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the egg noodles for 5 minutes, until soft but still slightly firm. Drain, drizzle with a little vegetable oil and toss.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, milk and butter together with a mixer. Add cottage cheese, sugar, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt and beaten eggs and stir until well blended. Gently fold in the noodles and diced apples.

4. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

5. Bake the kugel for 40 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes until the center is firm and the top is golden brown. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

6. berry compote: Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook over medium heat until berries begin to break down, about 7 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla. Serve cold or at room temperature along with the kugel.

Coconut Pineapple Bars can be made with pink pineapple or the regular yellow kind.  (Photo by Yakir Levy)
Coconut Pineapple Bars can be made with pink pineapple or the regular yellow kind. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Coconut Pineapple Bars

For these pineapple bars, which are based on a Melissa’s Produce recipe, I use pink pineapple if I have any, but yellow pineapple is fine too.

Yield: 9 to 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

Crust:

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold butter, cut into small pieces

Filling:

2 large eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 pineapple, cored and thinly sliced

glaze:

2/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

4 tablespoons whipped cream

candied violets (garnish, optional)

PROCEDURE

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper so the overhang can be removed easily. Lightly grease paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Spread coconut in a dry skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until toasty. Cool down a bit.

3. Crust: In a medium bowl, combine toasted coconut flakes, 1 1/3 cups flour, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt. Cut into cold butter with two knives or an immersion blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.

4. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

5. Filling: Whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, sour cream, salt, and 1/2 cup flour.

6. Arrange the pineapple slices in an even layer over the prebaked crust and cut into smaller pieces if necessary. Pour the filling over the pineapple. Bake for 1 hour or until mixture is set in center and edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before glazing.

7. glaze: Beat the powdered sugar, ginger and whipped cream together. Pour evenly over the top of the cake. Garnish with candied violets. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before slicing.

8. To cut the cake, remove the cake from the mold using paper and then cut into strips on the paper.

Blueberry lemon muffins are made with fresh and dried blueberries fortified with cream cheese, butter, yogurt, and pine nuts.  (Photo by Yakir Levy)
Blueberry lemon muffins are made with fresh and dried blueberries fortified with cream cheese, butter, yogurt, and pine nuts. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Blueberry lemon muffins

I make these muffins with fresh and dried blueberries and top them with cream cheese, butter, yogurt and pine nuts.

Yield: 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons grated zest of Meyer lemons or other lemons

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, softened

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons Meyer or other lemon juice

3/4 cup whole milk yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons pine nuts

PROCEDURE

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put liners in 12 muffin tins.

2. In a small bowl, rub sugar with lemon zest with your fingertips until sugar is moist.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. Beat the butter and cream cheese with the mixer until soft. Add sugar and beat until light and smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then lemon juice, yogurt and vanilla.

5. Mix the dry ingredients and then the dried and fresh blueberries with a rubber spatula.

6. Divide between muffin tins and sprinkle with pine nuts.

7. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes until top is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

8. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and remove from pan.

Easy Ricotta Fruit Pie

Easy Ricotta Fruit Tart is not only easy to make, but also a healthy dish.  (Photo by Yakir Levy)
Easy Ricotta Fruit Tart is not only easy to make, but also a healthy dish. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

This healthy treat is quick and easy to make for dessert or breakfast. It is based on a recipe in “The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook” by Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN.

Yield: 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons mandarin juice

2 teaspoons grated mandarin zest, divided

2 8-inch low-carb or regular flour tortillas

Grapeseed oil or vegetable oil (for coating)

2 seedless mandarins, divided into wedges

6 to 8 medium strawberries, stemless and thinly sliced

16 to 20 blueberries

PROCEDURE

1. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, tangerine juice and 1 teaspoon tangerine zest. Keep cool.

2. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the tortillas on the baking sheet and brush very lightly with oil. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy but not burnt.

3. Spread the ricotta mixture on baked tortillas.

4. Top with tangerine wedges on the outside edge and a ring of strawberry slices and blueberries.

5. Garnish with the remaining 1 teaspoon of tangerine zest. Cut with a pizza cutter if desired.

Mediterranean Vegetable Galette

For those wanting a savory dish to serve on Shavuot, this Mediterranean vegetable galette features roasted eggplant and peppers with feta cheese baked in cream cheese pie dough.  (Photo by Yakir Levy)
For those wanting a savory dish to serve on Shavuot, this Mediterranean vegetable galette features roasted eggplant and peppers with feta cheese baked in cream cheese pie dough. (Photo by Yakir Levy)

For this roasted eggplant and bell pepper with feta cheese, I used Kate McDermott’s “Pie Camp” cream cheese pie dough.

Yield: 4 servings

Cream Cheese Pie Dough:

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

12 tablespoons (6 ounces) butter, cooled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, chilled and cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

3 tablespoons of water

Filling:

2 Chinese eggplants, sliced ​​about 1/3 inch thick

2 red bell peppers, cut into strips

1/2 red onion, cut into quarters

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Fresh oregano leaves or dried oregano, for sprinkling

Sesame seeds (to sprinkle)

PROCEDURE

1. pie dough: Place the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and mix with a fork.

2. Add butter and cream cheese and quickly crumble the mixture with clean hands until it looks like a coarse meal with some small peas in it.

3. Sprinkle vinegar and water over the mixture and mix with a fork or your fingers.

4. Squeeze the dough lightly and press until it holds together. Shape it into a ball or rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and let cool for about an hour.

5. Filling: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the sliced ​​vegetables in a single layer in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Sprinkle with pepper. Cool to room temperature.

6. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle about 7 inches.

7. Place a circle of dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of feta. Cover with a layer of roasted vegetables, leaving a 1 to 2 inch edge uncovered. Sprinkle the vegetables with 1 to 2 tablespoons of feta and a little oregano.

8. Fold in and tuck the edges of the dough over the filling, leaving a gap in the center where the filling will show. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

9. Brush the pastry edges lightly with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

10. Place galettes in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

11. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Faye Levy is the author of Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook.