21 January 2019

Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot" –"New Year of the Trees."

Tu B'Shvat is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called “ In contemporary Israel, the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration.

The Seven Species of the Land of Israel are listed in Deuteronomy 8:8: “a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and [date] honey.”

The Seven Species of the Land of Israel are listed in Deuteronomy 8:8: “a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and [date] honey.” Image source: Wikimedia Commons

A few years ago, I wondered if I could find a way to incorporate all Seven Species into one recipe. It was an interesting challenge, one that ultimately ended with a seriously delicious batch of Seven Species Muffins.
Here are the ingredients I used:
Wheat = Flour
Barley = Barley flour
Grapes = Golden raisins
Figs = Dried figs
Pomegranates = Pomegranate seeds
Olives = Light olive oil
Dates = Dried dates

These scrumptious muffins include the Seven Species of the Torah - Wheat, Barley, Fig, Date, Pomegranate, Olive, Grape. Kosher, Pareve
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried figs
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (3/4 cup all purpose + 3/4 cup whole wheat flour will work too)
  • 1/2 cup barley flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nonstick cooking spray or paper muffin tin liners

Topping Ingredients (optional)
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
If your raisins are particularly dry, cover them with water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat and let the raisins sit in the water to plump for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If your figs have tough stems on them, remove them and discard.

Roughly chop dates and figs. Set aside.

Use a blender or food processor to blend together the following ingredients until very smooth: dates, figs, almond milk, applesauce, cinnamon and allspice.

It may take a couple of minutes to blend all ingredients to a smooth consistency, depending on the power of your blender. The end result should be similar to the texture of apple butter or smooth fruit preserves. Set mixture aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, light olive oil, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, barley flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Gently mix the pomegranate seeds into the dry mixture, making sure the seeds are well coated with flour.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the fruit mixture from the blender into the well.

Add the egg mixture to the well

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the dry ingredients are just moistened and a lumpy batter forms. Do not overmix - if you do your muffins will turn out heavy and dense.

Fold raisins and chopped walnuts into the muffin batter with a light-handed stir.

Prep your muffin pan by spraying a small amount of nonstick cooking spray into the bottom of each muffin tin (not the sides), or use paper muffin cup liners. Divide batter equally into muffin cups, filling each cup to the top and mounding the surface slightly. I've found that it's easiest to do this using an ice cream scoop

If you’d like to top the muffins, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl using a fork. Sprinkle about a ½ tsp of cinnamon sugar mixture evenly across the surface of each muffin.
Place muffins in the oven and immediately turn heat down to 375 degrees F. That extra heat blast at the beginning of the baking cycle will help to activate the baking powder and baking soda. Bake for 25-27 minutes until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack. Do not let the muffins cool completely in the tin, they are quite moist and may stick to the tin if you leave them there too long. Serve warm

Beautifully made Seven Species Muffins by Tora Avey at @toriavey on Instagram or Twitter…

About Tori Avey
I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today.  Tori Avey

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