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Tradition: Apples And Honey

Jewish Apple Cake with Honey Sauce.
Jewish Apple Cake with Honey Sauce. (Renee Comet Photography - Renee Comet)

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By Sheilah Kaufman
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

At Rosh Hashanah, which this year begins at sundown Sept. 22, American Jews usher in a sweet New Year by eating apples dipped in honey. The roundness of the apple symbolizes a hope that the year will be a joyous one from beginning to end. Apples may also be used in other holiday dishes, as long as the dish is sweet: During Rosh Hashanah, no bitter or sour food is eaten.

Apples were the traditional Rosh Hashanah fruit in northern Germany, Russia, Poland and the Baltic countries, the ancestral homelands of many Jews in the United States, according to cookbook author Rabbi Gil Marks. Not many sweet fruits grew there, but apples were the most plentiful.

In other areas, other fruits became part of the holiday tradition. Hungarian and Austrian Jews made plum tarts for Rosh Hashanah because Italian plums came into season right before the holidays.

Nonetheless, we celebrate the apple here -- touched, of course, with a taste of honey.

Sheilah Kaufman, a Washington-based cookbook author and traveling cooking teacher, last wrote for Food about new dining traditions for the Jewish New Year.

Apple Cake With Honey Sauce

12 servings

Sheilah Kaufman says: "This is the recipe I have been making for over 40 years and the one that I receive the most requests for. I once had a call from India from a student because she had lost her copy." She likes to use Granny Smith or McIntosh apples for this cake. Whipped cream makes a nice accompaniment.

For the cake:

4 to 5 firm apples, peeled and cut into 1/4 -inch slices

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 1/4 cups sugar


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