Cook | Two plum ideas for the holiday tableby faith kramer
When a friend asked if plums were associated with the High Holy Days, I was stumped.
My research didn’t uncover any mention of plums and the Days of Awe. I did find that plums, which are in season now, have a long history for both European and Near Eastern Jews. The more tart plums originated in the East, where they were often used to help provide a sweet-and-sour twist to dishes. Here I’ve combined them with red lentils to make a Near Eastern–inspired soup. European plums were sweeter and lent themselves to baking. The second recipe uses a blintzlike batter to produce a French-inspired, parve baked dessert.
Both recipes can be made ahead and would work well for a Yom Kippur break-the-fast meal. They may just start a new tradition at my holiday table.
Plum and Red Lentil Soup
Serves 8 or more
1 lb. firm black or other tart plums
2 Tbs. oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper or to taste
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 Tbs. sugar
3-4 Tbs. pomegranate molasses or 1 lemon, cut into wedges
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh dill
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Put a large pot of water to boil. Cut an X about 1/4-inch deep on the bottom of each plum. Place in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and let cool. Once cool, peel, halve, pit and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a large, heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, sauté until softened. Add garlic, sauté until golden. Add ginger, carrots and celery. Sauté until beginning to soften. Add cumin, allspice, 1/4 tsp. of salt, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Sauté for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add lentils, cover, and reduce heat to bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add plums.
Continue to simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, until lentils are cooked through and plums are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Taste and add sugar and remaining salt if needed. Drizzle each serving with 1 tsp. pomegranate molasses (or serve with a lemon wedge to be squeezed over soup). Top with chopped dill and parsley.
2 Tbs. oil, plus extra, for greasing pan
1 lb. fresh Italian prune plums or other small, sweet plums (about 20)
1 cup flour
3 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup unflavored, unsweetened almond milk
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x12-inch baking pan. Halve and pit the prunes and place evenly, cut side up, on bottom of prepared baking pan.
Stir together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. In large bowl, mix eggs, almond milk, almond extract and vanilla extract until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg one, whisking well until very smooth. Pour over plums. Bake for 50-60 minutes until firm and golden. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.