Challah Bread Pudding with Raspberries and Chocolate, adapted from “Little Book of Jewish Sweets” (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Challah Bread Pudding with Raspberries and Chocolate, adapted from “Little Book of Jewish Sweets” (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Sweet treats from Leah Koenig for Yom Kippur break-fast … or anytime

Leah Koenig has the recipes you need for make-ahead treats perfect for a Yom Kippur break-fast or Shabbat dinner — or anytime a little something sweet with a Jewish twist would be just right.

Koenig, a Jewish food writer and author of several cookbooks, created “The Little Book of Jewish Sweets” to capture the global nature, goodness and importance of desserts to Jewish life.

Cover of "Little Book of Jewish Sweets" by Leah KoenigThe book — which was launched this past July with a party at Saul’s Restaurant and Deli in Berkeley — is packed with information, photographs and recipes on how to make 25 cakes, cookies, puddings, pastries and other goodies.

While treats such as babka, rugelach, mandelbrot and honey-apple cake are well known in these parts, others are not — such as atayef (fried sweet cheese pancakes) and tishpishti (syrup-soaked walnut cake). Some recipes are parve and/or gluten-free.

Malabi with Salted Caramel Sauce is a milk-based pudding and “one of the most popular desserts across the Middle East, including Israel,” according to Koenig. She replaces traditional toppings with salted caramel sauce and peanuts. The Challah Bread Pudding dish is a decadent take on an old favorite. Both can be made in advance.

The recipes here have been adapted for space and to reflect my experience in making them.

Malabi with Salted Caramel Sauce

Adapted from “Little Book of Jewish Sweets”

Serves 6

  • 4 cups whole milk, divided
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Salted caramel sauce (see below)
  • Chopped salted, roasted peanuts
Malabi with Salted Caramel Sauce, adapted from “Little Book of Jewish Sweets” (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Malabi with Salted Caramel Sauce, adapted from “Little Book of Jewish Sweets” (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Whisk together 1 cup milk and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk remaining milk and sugar in medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to simmer, whisking often. Add cornstarch mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of loose pudding, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla. Divide into 6 small serving dishes. Cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.

Have caramel sauce ready. If made in advance and cool, reheat until just warm. Drizzle some over each dish, reserving leftover sauce for another use. Top with peanuts.

Salted caramel sauce: Stir together 1 cup sugar with ¼ cup water in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until sugar turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes. (Use caution around hot sugar.) Carefully stir in 2 Tbs. unsalted butter (cut in pieces) and ¾ tsp. kosher salt. Slowly whisk in ½ cup heavy cream. Cook, whisking often, until caramel is smooth and thickened (2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Let cool slightly.

Challah Bread Pudding with Raspberries and Chocolate

Adapted from “Little Book of Jewish Sweets”

Serves 8 to 10

  • 8 oz. challah, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • Butter for greasing baking dish
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread challah in single layer on large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring twice, until toasted and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool.

Grease 2-quart baking dish with butter. Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl. Layer half the bread in baking dish. Top with half the raspberries and chocolate chips. Repeat. Pour liquid evenly over the top, gently pressing bread down to soak. Cover with kitchen towel. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Return oven to 350 degrees. Remove towel. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Store covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.) Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

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].