Rosh Hashanah Food: Winning chef takes apples and honey to new heights

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Forget the usual apples with honey Rosh Hashanah dessert. Take it from Amos Hayon, an Israeli pastry chef at Lola Restaurant in Great Neck on Long Island, N.Y. Hayon — who won $10,000 last year on the Food Network’s “Sweet Genius” program — shares a few of his favorite Rosh Hashanah-inspired recipes.


Caramelized Apples and Cinnamon Cake

Serves 10-12

For caramelized apples:

5 green apples, peeled, cored and small diced

1⁄2 cup brown sugar

3 Tbs. water

2 Tbs. butter or margarine

For the mixture:

2 cups white flour

6 Tbs. almond flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3⁄4 cup white sugar

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1 cup butter or margarine

4 medium eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1⁄3 cup sour cream

Place the sugar and water in a heavy frying pan over high heat and begin to make the caramel. When the caramel is dark and starts to smoke, reduce the heat and add the apples. Mix the apples so they’re completely covered with caramel. Add the butter to the pan, mix, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl mixer using a flat paddle beater. Add the remaining butter, eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream to the mixer. Blend all the ingredients together in the mixer until smooth.

Grease a 9-inch round baking dish, including bottom and sides, and spread the caramelized apples over the bottom of the dish. Pour the mixture from the mixer on the apples. Bake for 50 minutes in 350-degree oven.

Poke a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean and dry, take the cake out and let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Remove the cake from the baking dish by turning it over so that the cake is upside down and the apples are on top. Sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon on top.


Rich Honey Cake

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients for bowl No. 1

1 cup high-quality honey

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄4 cup apple cider

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 medium egg

1 egg yolk

Ingredients for bowl No. 2

Israeli American chef Amos Hayon

21⁄2 cups sifted white flour

Ingredients for bowl No. 3

1⁄2 cup raisins soaked in three tablespoons brandy

1⁄2 cup walnuts

1⁄2 cup water

1 tsp. cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. cloves

1⁄4 tsp. nutmeg

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mixer using a flat paddle beater mix the ingredients in bowl No. 1 for a minute. Add the sifted white flour and mix for another minute. Add the ingredients from Bowl No. 3; continue to mix all the ingredients together until smooth.

Grease two loaf pans and split the mixture between the two. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cakes are brown and elastic to the touch. Poke with a toothpick. If it comes out clean and dry, remove from oven and let the cakes cool at room temperature. Remove the cakes from the pan, slice and serve with whipped cream or frosting.