Apples and Honey for Rosh Hashanah! Who doesn't look forward to that first smear of honey dripping slowly off a crisp apple slice? Well, this year I am saying, put down the Honey Bear and try the "honey" from Israel. I am not talking about honey from bees; I am referring to Silan or Date-Honey.
Biblical foodies and Torah scholars have bandied about the notion that the land flowing with Milk and Honey refers to date honey, though bee keeping was an ancient practice.
Either way, I am in love with the rich sweetness and sophisticated, dried fruit flavor of date-honey. While in Chicago, I can be in touch with my Israeli spirit by using some Israeli ingredients and my favorite right now is Silan.
Date honey is a puree of dates and water. Easy to purchase at kosher stores and those that carry Mediterranean foods, I prefer to make my own. Sometimes the store bought products have added sugar, which, in my mind defeats the point of date-honey. I am looking for the natural sweetness from the fruit and not from sugar. My son Jonah calls dates, nature's candy. He is right! And the puree is a perfect natural sweetener that is perfect for most recipes where sugar, maple syrup or honey is added.
Date-honey is commonly used in Israel and if I can't be in Israel for the holidays, I can use the exclusive and delicious sweetener for my apple-dipping, cooking and baking. L'Shana Tovah u 'Metuka.
Laura Frankel is the Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering at the Spertus Institute for Jewish studies in Chicago. She is the author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons (Wiley) and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes (Wiley), and the former chef and founder of Shallots restaurant. Chef Laura writes for The Jerusalem Post and Bitayavon and Joy of Kosher magazines and is an avid blogger and a passionate farmer’s market supporter, giving demos and teaching classes all over the country featuring market produce. Chef Laura has cooked for many dignitaries, including: Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Joseph and Hadassah Lieberman, Presidential Candidate Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev, President George Bush, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Spielberg, Senator Hillary Clinton, Ivanka Trump, and many others. At the 25th anniversary celebration of Kosherfest in the fall of 2013, Chef Laura was honored as an innovator in Modern Kosher Cuisine. Visit her website: www.ChefLauraskosher.com. Follow her on Twitter: cheflaura1, and check out her Facebook page cheflauraskosher. Chef Laura’s books can be found on Amazon.com: Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.
Enjoy this recipe from Laura:
Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Date-Honey
Root Vegetable Tsimmes with Date-Honey
Crustless Pumpkin Custard with Date-Honey