Shannon Sarna | Special to JT
When the Jewish New Year comes around, it’s common to find apple cake or honey cake on many Ashkenazi tables since both mainstays are common ingredients in Rosh Hashanah dishes.
But neither of these desserts really excites me. Instead, fruit crumbles are my go-to all year long for a few reasons: They are easy, they come together quickly, and I almost always have some overripe fruit sitting in my fridge or freezer that will be perfectly transformed into this comforting dessert.
Apples are a traditional ingredient enjoyed for the Jewish New Year by Eastern European Jews. But since the Jewish New Year can often occur at the end of summer, this recipe can be made with peaches, plums, berries or any combination of fruit you prefer. Tahini and Yemenite Hawaij coffee spice blend will add a little extra something special if you are inclined.
Apple-Tahini Crumble (Pareve or Dairy)
- Cooking spray for baking dish
For the fruit layer:
- 7 or 8 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped into roughly 1-inch pieces (around 6 cups of chopped apples)
- 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, pumpkin-pie spice or Hawaij Coffee Spice Blend (recipe follows)
- juice of ½ lemon
For the crumble topping:
- 1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup packed light-brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup tahini
For the Hawaij Coffee Spice Blend:
Makes ¼ cup:
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
For serving (optional):
- vanilla ice-cream or fresh
- whipped cream
- crumbled halva pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9×11-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
To make the fruit layer: Combine the apples, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and lemon juice in a large bowl.
To make the crumble: In a separate bowl, combine all the crumble ingredients, using a wooden spoon, until evenly mixed but there are still clumps.
Pour the apple mixture in an even layer into the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly on top of the apples until they are almost entirely covered.
Bake, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes until the apple mixture is bubbling and the crumble is golden-brown. If the crumbs seem to be getting too dark, you can cover the dish with foil.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream or fresh whipped cream (which will make the dish dairy) and an extra sprinkle of halva,
For the Hawaij coffee spice blend, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.
This recipe is excerpted with permission from “Modern Jewish Comfort Food.” by Shannon Sarna (Countryman Press, 2022).