Basic Halva

 

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Halva is a confection made from raw tehina and sugar, sometimes stabilized with additives.  In Israel, you’ll see halva stalls with huge slabs in every imaginable flavor, from rose water to pistachio to chocolate to coffee.

2 cups sugar
½ vanilla bean, scraped
Zest of 1 lemon
1½ cups tehina
Pinch kosher salt

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Have ready another sheet of parchment paper.

Combine the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest with ½ cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then cook, without stirring, until the mixture registers 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.

While the sugar syrup is cooking, place the tehina and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat on medium speed.

When the sugar syrup reaches 245 degrees carefully stream it into the tehina with the mixer running. Mix until the syrup is incorporated and the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Working quickly with a flexible heatproof spatula, transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press the top of the halva flat with the sheet of parchment paper and your hands. Let cool completely to room temperature. Cut into squares and store at room temperature, well wrapped in plastic wrap.

Will keep for up to a week.

 

Southern Peach Pie

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  • 6 cups about 1½–2 pounds, sweet, ripe peaches, halved, pitted, sliced and chopped
  • ¼–½ cup sugar; to taste
  • A pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 double-crust pie
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1–2 teaspoons sugar, for on top of the pie
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the peaches, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, salt, flour, and quick-cooking tapioca in a big bowl. Mix lightly until the fruit is coated.

Roll out the bottom dough and place it in a pie pan.

Spoon in the fruit filling and dot with butter cut into little pieces.

Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top. Trim excess dough from the edges and crimp.

Lightly brush some of the egg white wash over the entire pie, including the edges.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When there are 10 to 15 minutes of bake time left, open the oven, pull the pie out, and quickly and evenly sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar. Close the oven and continue baking for final 10 to 15 minutes, or until you see steady bubbling in the filling coming through the vents.

Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely before serving so the filling can set up, warm peach pie is delicious too.

 

Asbusas (Ancient Egyptian Cookies)

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Abusas are an ancient Egyptian cookie:

2 lbs semolina (this is cream of wheat)
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 pound butter
16 ounces of plain yogurt
slivered almond halves

Bring all ingredients to room temperature. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and semolina (cream of wheat). Rub the butter into this mixture by hand until very well blended. Add the yogurt and mix with your hands until the dough feels smooth. If it feels dry add one tablespoon of water at a time until a firm dough forms.

Butter a 13x9x2 inch pan and pat the dough into the pan. With a sharp knife slice the dough in 2 x 2 inch squares. Press one almond half onto the surface of each piece. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

Soymilk Mousse

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  • 1¾ fluid ounces soymilk
  • 4½ ounces silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1¾ ounces banana
  • Fruits or Nuts (optional)

Sugar Syrup

  • 1 ounce raw sugar
  • ⅔ fluid ounces water

For the sugar syrup, combine sugar and water
in a saucepan over low heat. Gently stir until all sugar is
dissolved.

Set aside to cool.

Add soymilk, tofu, banana, sugar and
maple syrup in a blender. Blend until smooth. Divide
into 4 portions and keep refrigerated for 2 hours.

To serve, add sugar syrup.

Top with fruits or nuts if desired

 

Black Magic Cake

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  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.  Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks. Cool completely.

Frost.

Candied Bacon & Bourbon Ice Cream

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Ice Cream
3 tablespoons butter cubed
¾ cup brown sugar or maple sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1⅔ cups heavy cream
1¼ cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons bourbon

Candied Bacon
12 strips bacon
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Melt the butter in a  saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt. Let the mixture come to a low boil and cook for 1½ minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and add ⅔ cup of the cream, stirring until smooth. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl.

In the same saucepan, warm the remaining 1 cup cream and the milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm cream and milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then add the mixture into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, make sure you scrape the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats a spatula.

Pour the custard through a mesh strainer and stir it into the butter-cream mixture over an ice bath until cool. Add the vanilla and cinnamon.  Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.

To make the candied bacon, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire cooling rack on top.

In a  bowl, combine the bacon with the brown sugar, bourbon, cayenne, and several generous turns of black pepper. place the bacon strips on the wire rack and put in the oven.

Cook the bacon for about 12 minutes. Turn the bacon strips over and bake for about another 6 minutes. Turn again and continue to bake until the strips are a dark mahogany color but are not burnt.  Cooking time greatly depends upon the thickness of your bacon, so watch carefully as the bacon nears near the end of the recommended baking time.

Remove the bacon from the oven, wait 30 seconds or so before removing the strips from the wire rack.

Add  3 tablespoons bourbon to the chilled ice cream custard, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Chop the cooled bacon into bite size or smaller pieces. When the ice cream has finished churning, fold in the pieces of candied bacon.

Transfer to a container and place in freezer until ice cream achieves desired consistency.

Olive Oil Ice Cream

  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • Special Equipment: Immersion blender

Add the cream and milk to a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Whisk in ½ cup of sugar and the salt and stir until they have dissolved. Warm the mixture until you see steam rising.

Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until uniform. While whisking, add a splash of the hot mixture to the yolks. Continue to add the hot mixture, whisking it in bit by bit, until you’ve added about half.

Add the yolk mixture to the remaining dairy mixture in the double boiler. Set the heat under the double boiler to medium and cook the custard, stirring continuously and reducing the heat to medium-low as necessary, until steam begins to rise from the surface and the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Hold the spoon horizontally and run your finger through the custard, if the trail left by your finger stays separated, the custard is ready to be cooled.

Strain the custard into a bowl.  Using an immersion blender, blend the custard until emulsified. Set the bowl over the prepared ice bath and stir for 5 minutes, or until the custard has cooled. Transfer the custard to a quart-size container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Churn the ice cream until the texture resembles soft serve.  Transfer the ice cream to a storage container and freeze until hardened to your desired consistency.

Serve the ice cream topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a few flakes of sea salt. The ice cream will keep, frozen, for up to 7 days.