The Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah (like most Jewish holidays) is full of edible symbols, all of which represent something we hope for the coming year. Pomegranates, gourds and beets are all fall foods we celebrate with, but the most popular ritual, and arguably most delicious, is dipping apples into honey. These two sweet ingredients signify our desire for a sweet New Year. Honey also represents prosperity, and apples have a biblical reference (hello Adam and Eve).
Apples and honey on their own are a prevalent nosh, especially for the kids. But there are limitless ways to incorporate this custom in more unique recipes, from breakfast, all the way to dessert.
Start with Breakfast
No need to wait until the traditional first night of Rosh Hashanah to start in on the sweetness. Apple Cheddar Scones with Honey Glaze have a balancing savory note with the cheese. You can bake them ahead, making them perfect for visiting guests. If you go gluten free, Gluten-Free Apple Walnut Pancakes drizzled with honey is the perfect way to get your energy for a full day of Rosh Hashanah cooking.
I don’t know about you, but I could live on just finger foods alone. Apples, Honey and Goat Cheese Crostini are super easy to prepare and fun to have kids help assemble. Caramel Apple Kugel doesn’t have honey in it, but it is drizzled in a caramel glaze, which has enough sweetness for at least the next two years. Even though the diced apple dish known as charoset is more for Passover, this Apple Beet Charoset version makes a tasty holiday snack on some crackers, especially since beets are another Rosh Hashanah symbol.
Not Just Sweets
There is no reason you can’t incorporate apples and honey into your savory dishes a well.
Just add a drizzle of honey to this Apple and Kale Sauté for an easy side. Leafy greens are also a popular Rosh Hashanah food, so this dish does double duty. You could also pull together a hearty salad with this recipe for Manchego, Apple and Almond Salad with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette and pair with Baked Stuffed Apples with Millet and Raisins, an easy make-ahead dish you can serve cold or warm.
Apples and honey lend themselves perfectly to decadent desserts. Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Honey Caramel are over-the-top delicious and make an impressive centerpiece to your holiday table. Or serve this Honey Butter Apple Cake, a coffee cake infused with honey butter. Enough said. It just wouldn’t be Rosh Hashanah without my Bubbe’s famous Jewish Apple Cake. We would all help her peel and slice the apples, and of course, lick the bowl. But mysteriously disappear as soon as dish-washing time rolled around. If you like your New Year a little boozy, try a sophisticated Hard Cider Poached Apples with Peppery Crème Fraiche. Hard cider perfumed with coriander and honey is definitely not your average dessert. Secular New Year can have their champagne!
What are your favorite recipes with apples and honey?
Amy Kritzer is a personal chef and recipe developer in Austin, TX, and is the founder of the modern Jewish cooking blog, What Jew Wanna Eat. In her spare time, she enjoys theme parties and finding the tastiest queso in town.