Culture

Recipes: Make these fruit and nut dishes to celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish Holiday of Trees


Pear Bread Pudding with Dried Cranberries is shown topped with pine nuts (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Tu Bishvat, the Jewish Holiday of Trees, begins on Sunday evening, Feb. 5. Also known as the New Year of Trees, Tu Bishvat is a time for tree planting and admiring nature, especially the beauty of trees. In Israel blossoming almond trees are considered a sign that the holiday has arrived, and almonds are a favorite item on Tu Bishvat menus.

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Fruit platters are perfect for celebrating Tu Bishvat. Traditionally dried fruits and nuts are served because in the old days there wasn’t much fresh fruit at this time of year. Today people include both fresh and dried fruit in Tu Bishvat cooking, fruit platters and desserts.

In some communities it’s the custom to celebrate with a Tu Bishvat seder, a meal featuring different kinds of fruits and wine. At a Tu Bishvat seder at Shaarey Yerushalayim, a Los Angeles Sephardic synagogue, we enjoyed a tasting of the Seven Species of the Land of Israel — wheat, barley (both represented by cookies), grapes (represented by wine), figs (dried), pomegranate arils, olives and dates. The lavish holiday display included exotic fruit such as rambutan, dragon fruit and guava as well as freshly roasted chestnuts.

Pear Bread Pudding with Dried Cranberries is shown topped with pine nuts (Photo by Yakir Levy) 
Pear Bread Pudding with Dried Cranberries

Caramelized pear slices make this pudding luscious. If you like, serve it sprinkled with granola. This dessert is based on a recipe from Melissa’s Produce.

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds Butterscotch Pears (Korean pears), Asian pears or European pears, peeled and cut in slices 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick

2 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4  cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

3 cups cubes of stale challah or French bread

About 3 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 or 3 tablespoons granola or crushed granola-type cubes or bars (optional, for sprinkling)

Powdered sugar (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a square 8-inch baking dish or spray it with cooking spray.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup sugar and stir until combined. Add pear slices in an even layer, leaving space between them so they can brown. Cook, without stirring, for 8 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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