This week, Jews around the world celebrate the New Year of 5,773.
On the 10th day - Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement - we seek forgiveness for our sins against others and forgive those sins perpetrated against us. (I do have to confess that for me it is sometimes easier to fast than to Forgive – a sin for which I must seek forgiveness!) The Day of Atonement is a Fasting Day during which one neither eats nor drinks – even water.
Each family has its own traditions for Breaking the Fast…. before enjoying the (usually light) supper thereafter… My father nibbled on crackers and soda.
On our first Yom Kippur together, I asked my husband how he broke his Fast - and the answer was sponge cake. So I dutifully and proudly produced – an ethereal cake and presented it to him. His face fell and I heard the dreaded words, “That’s not like my mother made.” Further questioning elicited the comment that his mother’s cake was a little “heavier?” More “compact?”
So the next year I baked a Pound Cake.
The disappointment was even stronger.
“Definitely not like my Mother made!”
Finally the admission was blurted out… “Actually, my Mother was a terrible cook – everything she made was very heavy.”
A sigh of relief from me and from then I decided a new tradition would be born… Kyra’s light Sponge Cake!
It has now been the traditional cake for breaking the Fast in our family for over 50 years. And for family members who may not be present – it is frozen and shipped wherever they may be.
KYRA’S LIGHT SPONGE CAKE
6 large eggs, separated
2 additional egg whites
1 cup sugar, divided use
1 cup sifted cake flour, divided use
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Juice of ½ large lemon
Enough water to make up the lemon juice to ¼ cup
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pre heat the oven to 325°.
Beat the yolks with ½ cup of the sugar until thick and light – about seven minutes in a large mixer. Add the grated lemon zest.
Stir in the lemon water alternately with the flour.
Whisk the eight whites until frothy and holding their shape.
Beat in the cream of tartar and salt.
Then gradually whisk in the ½ cup sugar – a couple of spoons as a time.
Beat the whites on medium to avoid overbeating. They should look satiny and will hold if you turn the bowl upside down.
Fold ¼ cup whites into the yolk mixture and stir to lighten.
Gently turn the balance of the yolk mixture into the whites and gently fold the two together.
Fold with a spatula from bottom up and over and NOT around the bowl. [Your objective is to blend the mixture without deflating the whites.]
Pile the batter into an ungreased 12” tube pan. Smooth the top.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the cake is slightly browned and springs back when lightly touched.
Remove from the oven and invert the pan immediately. Be sure the pan is suspended above the surface so the cake is not crushed. I usually set it over a bottle or support the edges with small pots.
Allow to cool – then remove the cake from the pan by running a spatula around the inside edges of the pan and gently releasing the base.
Turn out onto a cake plate.
This cake needs NO gilding.
Note: if you can get – or have – a tube pan with a separate base – it makes life MUCH easier.
The meal served after the Fast is usually a dairy [i.e. break-fast!] meal.
My friend Robin serves her family her delicious Fake Blintzes. I once made them for the Rabbi who visited my Mother in South Africa – and he demolished the whole plate - in ONE sitting!
Robins’ Mother’s FAKE MINI BLINTZES
Robin serves this to Break the Fast every year. She reports that they disappear very quickly!
8 oz melted butter
1 loaf very thin white sliced bread
16 oz softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Set melted butter in a shallow bowl.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar and place in a second bowl.
Roll each slice of bread flat with a rolling pin. Trim off the crusts.
Spread each slice of bread with cream cheese and roll up into a log. Cut each log into three pieces.
Roll each log in the melted butter then in the cinnamon sugar.
At this point the logs can be frozen. To freeze: set the little logs in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze, then bag.
To serve: Heat oven to 400°
Place the logs on a cookie sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn the logs to brown on the underside for another couple of minutes.
And for those who would like to try my REAL Blintzes here is the recipe.
You do not have to be Jewish to make and enjoy them!
Kyra’s CHEESE BLINTZES
When my father first tasted my blintzes he announced, "These are as good as my Mothers.” My retort, “No Dad, these are BETTER than your Mother’s!” He was forced to agree.
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups milk
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons melted butter
8 oz smooth cottage cheese such as Friendship or Quark or Ricotta
8 oz soft cream cheese – can use low fat
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream – can substitute Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup cream, divided use – see note
½ cup golden raisins [optional]
Beat together the crepe ingredients and allow to stand for at least one hour.
Make thin crepes using about two tablespoons of batter per crepe.
Stack up on a plate [Note: This crepe batter does not stick so you do not have to put greaseproof paper in between the crepes.]
Heat oven to 350°.
Stir together the filling ingredients but using only about ¼ cup of the cream.
Fill each crepe with about a heaped tablespoon of the filing and fold over like an envelope.
Arrange in a buttered baking dish, arranging close together.
Pour the remaining ¾ cup cream over the crepes**.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crepes are puffed up and lightly browned.
Serve warm with sour cream and applesauce.
Note: You can also sprinkle the crepes with two tablespoons of cinnamon sugar before baking.
**You can also use 1/4 cup in filling and substitute ½ and ½ to pour over.
These crepes may be very successfully frozen.
Reheat crepes covered, in a 350° oven until warmed through. The crepes also take well to microwaving.
To all our neighbors and friends in McKinney – please join us in wishing for a year of Peace.
About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com's "Food" section. She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the "Food" section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking. She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.
Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions. What would you like to have for dinner?