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Vegan for the Holidays

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 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

Passover, an 8-day spring holiday, is a celebratory time featuring delicious dishes and festive flavors. Because the holiday is a commemoration of a time of struggle for the ancient Jewish people, the holiday is celebrated in a way to experience some of the hardships they faced. The Passover Seder readings and rituals offer many reminders.

As the Jews were hurrying to flee the harsh rule of the Egyptian Pharaoh, their bread had no time to rise, resulting in flatbread. Today we eat matzoh to remember one of the many challenges the Jews faced. During the Passover week, no bread or grains are eaten, only matzoh.

While some cooks turn to cakes and cookies made with matzoh meal, we find delicious ways to enjoy fruity treats at dessert time. The Passover Seder can often become a rather large meal, leaving little room for a large dessert serving. Here's a way to turn 4 hearty servings into 8 perfect-size desserts suggested below.

Figgy Walnut Stuffed Apple


Yield: 4 servings

    4 Granny Smith apples, cored

    10 dried golden figs, diced
    1/2 cup (120 ml) raisins
    1/2 cup (120 ml) coarsely ground walnuts
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
    3 tablespoons maple syrup, divided

    1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest

    4 sprigs mint leaves

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4). Stand the apples upright in an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish.
  2. Combine the figs, raisins, walnuts, 1 tablespoon of the water, and 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup in a bowl and mix well. Stuff 3/4 of the mixture into the apple cavities. Form the remaining 1/4 of the mixture into 4 small balls and place them over the stuffed cavities, pressing down gently to secure them.
  3. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of water, the remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and lemon zest in a small bowl, and mix well. Pour the mixture over the apples and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Spoon the apples into dessert dishes and garnish each with a sprig of mint.

Serving Suggestion
After a large meal, diners might prefer a smaller serving of dessert than a whole baked apple. Here's the perfect solution to turn 4 large servings into 8 smaller ones:

  1. Cut each apple in half and use a melon baller to scoop out and discard the seeds, forming a small cavity in each apple half.
  2. Place the halves in a 9 x 13-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking dish and set aside.
  3. Form the fig mixture into 8 balls and tuck them into the apple cavities.
  4. Pour the syrup mixture over the apples, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Garnish each serving with a sprig of mint.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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