Honey may be one of the main symbols of Rosh Hashanah and the new year, but it’s verboten for vegans.
When vegan chef Omri Sibul, who heads the kitchen team at Tel Aviv vegan restaurant Meshek Barzilay, wanted to create a new honey apple cake for Rosh Hashanah, he had to figure out a way to make it without the elixir created by bees.
Instead, he opted for maple syrup in his Seven Species cake.
“Maple syrup has the consistency we were looking for,” said Sibul, who worked closely with the other chefs and pastry chef at Meshek Barzilay to develop the dessert. “Sometimes silan (date honey) can be used instead of honey, but it doesn’t always work in terms of texture.”
The Seven Species cake are actually small, aromatic cakes dotted with apples sautéed lightly in white wine and served with caramelized figs, pomegranate seeds and a whipped date cream.
“We wanted to use the seasonal treats,” said Sibul, “the dates, pomegranates, apples, all the symbols of the holiday.”
There are other complex levels of flavor in this dessert, from the savory touches of rosemary and thyme to the drizzle of whiskey in the date cream, which offers a pleasant kick.
The vegan restaurant and its vegan delicatessen next door have a full menu for the Hebrew month of Tishrei, including other dishes and desserts developed for the Jewish holiday period. Another dessert is Tishrei Tivonay, a date and nut base cake with layers of berry and guava mousse, made from blended cashew, maple syrup and pureed fruit.
The Seven Species Cake
350 grams organic spelt flour
220 grams organic cane sugar
160 milliliters organic olive oil
170 grams unsweetened natural soy yogurt
240 milliliters rice milk
1 peeled and diced apple, cooked in white wine until boiling point and set aside to cool
1 muffin tin
Bake the cakes
Mix all of the dry ingredients.
Mix all of the wet ingredients, except for the apple.
Mix the dry and wet ingredients together.
Place sautéed apple cubes in the bottom of each muffin cup, and divide the batter among the muffin cups.
Bake in the oven at 170°C for 20 minutes and cool.
Caramelized figs (approximately 24)
While the cakes are baking, rinse and cut the fresh figs in half. Bake the figs at a high temperature for about ten minutes.
Toffee and date cream
175 grams dates
175 grams coconut butter
220 coconut cream
Small tumbler of whiskey
100 milliliters maple syrup
A few drops of vanilla
Grind the ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
Maple syrup sauce
1 cup organic maple syrup
4 sprigs rosemary
4 stalks thyme
Boil all ingredients together for 5 minutes and then filter.
Place one cake on a plate with two of the baked figs alongside. Using two spoons, shape a ball of the date cream. When ready to serve, pour the maple syrup sauce over the cake and around the plate for garnish.