Jewish holiday recipes, Bake 3.

From Rosh Hashanah to Pesach and beyond – we’ve got all the easy and delicious recipes you’ll need to celebrate the holidays.

Home-pickled cucumbers

This is a great stand-by any time of the year.


  • 18-24 small crisp cucumbers
  • 24 peppercorns
  • bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T salt


1. Scrub the cucumbers but leave whole. Place in a jar with the peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic.

2. Bring the vinegar, water, sugar and salt to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool, then cold pour over the cucumbers. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Round challah for Rosh Hashanah

To welcome good fortune for the new year, the challah served at Rosh Hashanah is often braided into a round to symbolise the cycle of the year, filled with infinite blessings. The addition of raisins also signifies a sweet new year.


  • 3 t yeast 
  • 1 cup warm water  
  • 85 g sugar 
  • 500 g flour 
  • 2 t salt 
  • 1 free-range egg 
  • olive oil  
  • beaten egg, for brushing 
  • sesame or poppy seeds, for sprinkling 


1. Mix the yeast and warm water with a small pinch of the sugar and leave to activate until bubbly and foamy.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt together, then make a well in the centre.

3. Combine the egg and oil in a jug, then add to the flour mixture. Stir to combine, then add the yeast and warm water.

4. Stir with a wooden spoon (or use a stand mixer with the dough hook attached) until a shaggy dough forms, then turn out onto a clean surface. If using a stand mixer, continue  mixing with the dough hook.

5. Knead until a smooth, slightly tacky dough forms, ensuring all the flour is incorporated. Try to avoid adding more flour until the dough has come together, continue kneading for a few minutes. If the dough still feels very sticky after about 5 minutes of kneading, add small amounts of flour at a time until it’s no longer sticking to your fingers.

6. Once the dough is ready, place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with clingwrap or a clean tea towel and leave to prove. You want the dough to roughly double in size, so the time will depend on how warm your kitchen is. Alternatively, pop the bowl in the fridge and leave to prove overnight.

7. When the dough has doubled, turn out onto a clean surface and flatten into a rough square and add the raisins, pressing them into the dough. Roll the dough and knead gently to ensure they’re evenly distributed.

8. Divide the dough into four equal-sized balls (you can do this by weighing the dough and dividing by four for the rough weight of each ball) and roll out into even sausages.

9. Create the round braided shape by starting with a hash (#) shape with two sausages running horizontally and two running vertically on top. Take one top piece and weave it over and under the horizontal bottom pieces. Take the other top piece and weave it under and over the bottom pieces – the inverse of what the one on the left is. The result should look like a plus sign with no spaces between the strands, with each piece going under and over inversely. There will be two strands pointing in each direction, each strand will go over and under another piece. The idea here is that whichever piece you’re working with, you want to alternate going under and over. So, if the piece is sitting underneath another sausage, you will make it go over its neighbour.

10. Start at the top, taking a strand on the left and crossing it over the strand to its right. Take that strand (the one you just folded the first one over) and cross that over the one to the right. Do the same with the remaining two strands until you’ve got two strands pointing in each direction again, but with one strand slightly shorter than the other.

11. Then, repeat in the opposite direction, starting with the vertical strand on the right, crossing it over the strand to the left. Repeat until you run out of dough, trimming excess if you need to, or just tucking it underneath.

12. Carefully place on a greased baking sheet and cover with greased clingfilm to rise again before baking. Preheat the oven to 180°C. When the dough has risen again, brush with egg wash, sprinkle over sesame or poppy seeds and bake for 30–45 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the baking sheet and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Apple, honey and almond cake

Instead of serving the traditional sliced apples dipped in honey to wish for a good, sweet year, I’m baking this cake crowned with thinly sliced apple drizzled with honey.


  • 75 g golden sultanas
  • 4 T brandy
  • 2⁄3 cup honey
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 extra-large free-range eggs
  • 250 g ground almonds
  • 2 (350 g) Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
  • 1 lemon, finely zested and juiced
  • For the topping:
  • 1–2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 T lemon juice
  • 1-2 T honey


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 22 cm springform cake tin with non-stick baking spray or olive oil, then line with baking paper.

2. Pour boiling water over the sultanas, drain and place in a small saucepan. Pour over the brandy, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Leave to soak and cool.

3. Whisk the honey and oil until well combined, then whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the almonds and whisk until smooth. Fold in the grated apple, soaked sultanas, lemon zest and juice.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, smoothing the top. Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool. Serve on a cake plate or stand.

5. Just before serving, top with peeled thinly sliced apple, painted with lemon juice and drizzled with honey.

Chopped liver

You can use calf’s liver, salted and grilled before mincing. Most people love chicken livers.


  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 500 g free-range chicken livers, trimmed
  • kosher imitation chicken fat, (a vegetable fat), for frying
  • a good pinch ground cinnamon
  • fine Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 4 free-range eggs, hard-boiled


1. If you like using raw onion, gently fry 1½ onions in a few tablespoons of fat for 5–10 minutes, or until pale golden. Alternatively, fry both onions.

2. Add the chicken livers and another 1 T fat. Fry until the onions have caramelised and the livers are nicely browned, about 15–20 minutes. Add the cinnamon and season. Allow to cool to room temperature.

3. Mince or process the mixture very carefully (it’s not a pâté) with the remaining raw onion (if using) and two eggs. Check the seasoning. Mash with a fork and add a little fat to bind the mixture if necessary.

4. Turn onto a serving platter and make a shallow layer, pressing down with a fork. Decorate with the remaining hard-boiled eggs, separating the yolks and whites and chopping them very finely, or simply grate the whole eggs. Serve with pickled cucumbers, challah and crisp rye crackers.


This hummus has been dubbed the creamiest hummus in Cape Town. This recipe is created by the founder of Cape Town deli Sababa, Tal Smith.


  • 500 g dried chickpeas
  • 2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups Woolworths tahini
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 t cumin (optional)


1. Soak the chickpeas in 3 times the amount of water and 1 t bicarbonate of soda overnight.

3. Boil in a saucepan with double the amount of water and the remaining bicarbonate of soda until soft and almost falling apart. The bicarbonate of soda makes the skins come to the surface and they can be easily skimmed away

2. Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse under cold water.

4. Strain the chickpeas and allow to cool slightly, then blend with the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Sesame crumbed chicken schnitzel

This home-made chicken schnitzel makes an excellent meaty main as part of a Hannukah spread. Serve with hummus, pickles and matbucha. It’s created by the founder of Cape Town deli Sababa, Tal Smith.


  • 800 g skinless, boneless free-range chicken breasts
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1 t garlic, crushed
  • 1 T hot English mustard
  • 270 g breadcrumbs
  • 100 g sesame seeds
  • 1 T paprika
  • a pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 t salt
  • a pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • oil, for frying


1. Butterfly the chicken breasts. Combine the eggs, garlic and mustard in a bowl. Marinate the chicken overnight for the best results.

2. Combine the breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, paprika, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, salt and pepper.

3. When you’re ready to start frying, heat the oil in a pan and coat the chicken well in the sesame crumb mixture. Fry the chicken for a few minutes on each side until crispy and golden on the outside, and cooked through on the inside.

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