19 September 2012

Rosh HaShonah: Potato Kugel and Honey Cake

And the salad we had.
Trying out some new recipes:

Potato Kugel- Trying this one from the Serious Eats website.

Note from Arthur Schwartz: All the old recipes for potato kugel come out sort of heavy and gluey, which is not at all the kugel taste of today in New York City. These days, the kugel sold in the take-out shops and delicatessens, not to mention those made at home by modern balabustas, are still full of good onion flavor but they are high and light.
What may seem like an inordinate number of eggs is the secret. Some recipes call for baking powder, too, but I've found the baking powder does absolutely nothing and lots of eggs are definitely the ticket to lightness. It also helps to use Russet potatoes, baking potatoes, which were not nearly as available in grandma's day as they are today. Drier Russets produce a fluffier kugel.
  • 3 pounds Russet (baking) potatoes (about 14 smaller)
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 medium onions (12 ounces), peeled
  • 2/3 cup matzoh meal
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (for a parve pudding) or schmaltz
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
  2. Peel the potatoes. Keep in a bowl of cold water until ready, but don't leave them there longer than a few hours.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, until well mixed.
  4. Grate the onions. Add into the bowl with the eggs and stir them in. Stir in the matzoh meal.
  5. Drain the potatoes. Grate in three batches.
  6. As each batch of potatoes is grated, add to a strainer placed over a bowl. With a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, press out the moisture. Immediately, put potatoes in the onion and egg mixture.  Season the batter with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour 2 tablespoons of  oil into a 13 by 9-inch baking pan, preferably glass. Turn the pan to coat the bottom and half way up the sides with the oil. Place the empty pan in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.

  8. Remove the oiled pan from the oven and pour the potato batter into the pan. The oil will come up the sides of the pan, especially in the corners. Press the batter down near the corners to lightly to fill them with potato batter. It's a good thing when the oil comes over the top of the batter. It adds crispness. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil on the surface of the batter.

  9. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

  10. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving, preferably somewhat longer. Serve hot or warm, freshly baked or reheated.

  11. The kugel reheats extremely well in a 350°F oven, uncovered so the top can crisp up additionally. Reheating time depends on the size of the piece being reheated, and at what temperature the kugel is when going into the oven. It can be kept in the refrigerator for at least four days, and for several months in the freezer. It is best to defrost before reheating.
--- Review: The husband loved it. For me, it was too egg-y and not potatoe-ey enough, although the overall taste was good. Next time, I will replace the matza meal with flour, increase the onions and perhaps dice rather than grate (to give more texture), and cut the eggs by three to see how that tastes.-- we ate it for the next few days and it was still fine, perhaps even better re-heated, but I will reduce eggs next time.

Honey Cake- the last I tried was too thick, so this time I am trying Smitten Kitchen's version. (I am adding my changes/deletions directly to the recipe above, some of them taken from the advice given in updates and in the comments on the recipe.)

Majestic and Moist Honey Cake
Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  1/4 cup warm coffee
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, a 9 by 13 inch sheet cake or two full-size loaf pans plus two miniature ones.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175C). Generously grease pan(s). For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee and orange juice. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out- very true!)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.
Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).
Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top)- did not work with my German pans- they can't stack.

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan. 

---Review: We all thought it was great and very moist. Next time, I will make the coffee extra-strong (perhaps 3x strength) because I caught just a hint of coffee in there and would have liked more. I hear it's even better the next day and we are looking forward to checking that out.-- It is even better and more moist for the next (several) days. A great recipe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those are photos of things you cooked? You are amazing! Hey, is it federweiser season still?