A Splash of Pumpkin & Kisses of Spice
by Guest Columnist Allaya Fleischer
With the cool, crisp air, beautifully jeweled earth tones, and sweet aromas, autumn remains my most favorite season of the year. As spring ushers trees and flowers into bloom, autumn brings forth the rich blooming of the earth.
Autumn, of course, is also a season of gratitude. From Sukkot to Thanksgiving, the earth's last "bloom" before winter is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on all the special people, events and things in our lives. While writing up my guest list for Thanksgiving this year, I imagined our warm apartment illuminated by the sparkling conversation of friends and candlelight; the friendly laughter and comforting food that has grown to symbolize "home" for me, these past few years I've spent in New York, against the backdrop of a cold, dark night.
Witnessing the recent devastation and destruction from hurricane Sandy, both on television and first hand, has made these feelings and images of home even more precious to me. It is with a heart full of love that I express my gratitude for my family and our home, because I understand the feeling of being displaced and feeling not so "at home;" something I experienced myself for nearly two years. I realize that my stints of volunteerism, chesed, and prayers, although somewhat helpful, don't make things all better all at once. That will take time. However, in creating this Challah recipe for Kosher Eye, I put a lot of thought into transferring my personal "home" experience into bread, with an attempt to offer at least a small taste of comfort to those who need it the most.
With a splash of pumpkin and kisses of spice, this challah not only smells magnificent while baking, it makes for quite an impressive presentation, especially when braided like a pumpkin. Since Thanksgiving is not a Yom Tov and does not require two challot, you can try making one large loaf out of the dough (adjust baking time accordingly if you do this). You could also knot them into rolls.
But, there's really no need to stop there. This would also be a great bread to serve for Sukkot or even Rosh Hashanah. What's certain, though, is that smelling this bread baking in the oven will transform anyplace you happen to be into "home." Well, maybe not exactly, but it will sure smell like it. To all of you who felt the stinging punch of the storm, you are all in my heart and prayers. Please accept this challah as my warm hug to you. As ever, I remain humbly thankful to all my readers who have supported me for this, my charter year. Thank you all.
Enjoy my recipe for Pumpkin Challah.
About the Author
A native of Bangkok, Thailand, Allaya currently resides in New York City with her husband, children and cat. You can read her blog, I Speak Food, at www.allaya.com, for kosher recipes focusing on Asian and Eurasian Fusion cuisine, and bread.
November 20, 2012