Kiss of sweetness in holiday recipes

Certain foods are so symbolic of Rosh Hashanah that they are givens at our holiday tables.

Carrot slices are thought to represent the wish for prosperity because of their coin shape and color. Often they are used in tsimmes, the sweet Ashkenazi stew. Some Jews from India serve a carrot-banana curry for the holiday. In the Curry Carrot Tsimmes recipe, the concepts merge in a mildly spicy and slightly exotic stew.

Many Jewish cultures serve spiced apple compote as part of their holiday repast. Others eat apples and honey as a wish for a sweet new year. The Roasted Applesauce recipe features Sephardic-inspired seasonings and can be served as a side dish or dessert.


Curry Carrot Tsimmes

Serves 8-10

3 lb. brisket

1/2 cup flour

4 Tbs. oil, divided

4 cups thinly sliced onions

1 Tbs. minced garlic

2 Tbs. curry powder, divided

1 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

4 cups vegetable stock, divided

1 1/2 lbs. carrots, cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled,     cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks

2 cups dried apricots

1 cup raisins

2 ripe bananas

Cut brisket into 3/4-inch cubes, dredge in flour. Heat 2 Tbs. oil into a large, heavy pot on medium high. Working in batches, brown meat, adding 1 Tbs. oil if needed. Remove from pot. Add 1 Tbs. oil. Sauté onions until soft, stirring up any browned bits from bottom. Add garlic, 1 Tbs. curry and spices. Sauté 1 minute. Add 2 cups stock. Bring to simmer. Add meat and accumulated juices. Return to simmer, cover. Adjust heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat starts to soften (about 90-120 minutes).

Add 1 cup stock, 1 Tbs. curry and carrots. Cover. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sweet potatoes, apricots and raisins. Cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and meat are tender. Add remaining stock. Mash bananas and stir into pot. Cover. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Roasted Applesauce

Makes 4 cups


3 lbs. tart apples, unpeeled

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil baking pan. Cut apples into 1-inch chunks (with peel). Toss with juice, sugar and spices. Place in baking pan. Cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover. Bake 30 minutes.


Apple and Honey Pastry

Makes 16 pieces

1 recipe Roasted Applesauce, cooled and drained

2 cups almond meal

1 cup raisins

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

15 sheets phyllo dough

honey syrup (see below)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix apples with almond meal, raisins, sugar and cinnamon. Brush melted butter inside 8×8-inch baking pan. Lay phyllo sheet on bottom, folding over any extra. Brush with butter. Repeat until there are 5 layers of phyllo. Spread half the apples on top. Add 5 layers of buttered phyllo. Spread with remaining apples. Add 5 buttered phyllo layers, brushing top with extra butter. Tuck in loose ends. Slice in 16 squares, cutting through all the layers. Bake 50-55 minutes until golden brown. Pour warm syrup over top of hot pastry. Cool in pan.

Honey syrup: Mix 1/4 cup honey, 1 Tbs. lemon juice and 1⁄2 cup water in pan. Boil 5 minutes, then simmer 10 minutes.


Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. She blogs at Contact her at [email protected]

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].