Saturday, December 12, 2009

Adi's Kitchen in Montreal: Chanukah Baking

Good evening fellow foodies,

Insofar as this is my first post, proper introductions are in order! Hailing from the frozen Northlands of Canadia (montreal), my contribution to this eminent blog will be to the highest form of culinary arts: Dessert.

Pastries, Baked goods, and especially Pies and I have always had a special relationship. I loved them, they loved me, I reveled in their various shapes, sizes and colors and everything was dandy. However, recently I've noticed a disturbing trend in the sweet industry. There has been an exponential increase in the sugar content of everything! Corn syrup this, white sugar that. If you'll excuse the joke but it's enough to give Aunt Jemima diabetes!

Therefore, I donned the chef hat and "Kiss the cook" apron not for altruistic reason but out of frustration. You made me do it, now suffer the consequences of your actions!

This week happens to be the Jewish holiday of Chanukah and as is tradition in our home, my mother makes Suvganiot. For those of you who are curious, they happen to the Jewish version of donuts. Deep fried dough traditionally served plain but as my my prior rant stated we've sugarised everything so now they come filled with this cheap fakey jam and are dropped in a vat of powder sugar. Lucky me, my mother happens to be a traditional baker and so we eat them in their original incarnation. Now don't get me wrong, condiments make the world go round. In this case, a selection of maple syrup, powder sugar, strawberry and my personal favorite black currant jam have been scattered around the table.

Now one might think I'm living the good life but you see, I decided to contribute something to the mix and throw a little variety in. Just the other day I was given quite the interesting recipe by an Armenian friend of mine. A dessert that takes all of 10 minutes to make and will survive a nuclear apocalypse, similar to the Twinkie.

As I snuck into the kitchen, careful not to rouse the sleeping beast (An Israeli mother in cooking mode), I unfortunately misjudged her trajectory and a full on collision occurred. I'm holding in my hands the ingredients:

1 cup of dried Cranberries
1 cup of dried Apricots
1 cup of Pecans
1 cup of Dates (pitted)
1 cup of prunes (pitted)
1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
and 1/3 of a cup of Cointreau (Orange liquor)

As sealed packages went sailing through the air the only thought going on in my head was "Precious lifeblood! Save the booze!" Fortunately gravity has nothing on my Kung Fu grip and disaster was averted, though the next five minutes of yelling was a bit rough on the ears.

The rest is easy really. Toss EVERYTHING into a food processor, in no particular order and blend. Stop every now and again to test the consistency. You'll know it's ready when you can roll it into a golf ball and it won't fall apart.

After that, my friend recommended I dip them in Cane sugar but the recipe made about 40 balls so I ended up splitting them into four piles: One for Cane Sugar, White Sugar, Powder Sugar and Brown Sugar.

Given the heavy concentration of natural sugar from the dried fruit, I strongly recommend you pair them with a good cup of tea.


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