Celebrate Jewish food history in Fort York Judaism

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m not too sentimental when it comes to Valentine’s Day, but if my husband tends to buy me flowers, I won’t mind.

I often bake with my grandchildren and for Valentine’s Day we usually make heart-shaped cookies and decorate them with sprinkles and chocolates. When I bake from scratch, I make sugar cookies that are ideal for decorating. I use the recipe for sugar cookies from Daphna Rabinovitch’s award-winning book The baker in me.

Rabinovitch was a speaker at an event on Canadian food history that I attended in Fort York, Toronto last Sunday. The annual Hungry for Comfort, a day organized by the Culinary Historians of Canada (CHC), celebrates the food history of a certain group of Canadians in which around 100 people attended.

This year the focus was on the culinary stories of the various Jewish communities across Canada. There were speakers, cooking and baking workshops, a vegetarian lunch and lots of baked goods from Canadian-Jewish cookbooks. I ate well – too well.

Joanne Yolles demonstrates the production of ruggelach. (Barbara Silverstein photo)

I also spoke at this event. I gave an overview of the roots of Canadian Jewish food traditions and relied heavily on two Canadian books – Rhapsody in Schmaltz by Michael Wex and Save the deli by David Sax as well as a Article written by CJN Contributor Cynthia Gasner on her childhood memories of Kensington Market.

At the event, Daphna Rabinovitch greeted the people and gave a very interesting and quite academic history of the challah, which traces its origins from biblical times. Doris Fin later gave a workshop on the subject of challah production.

Rosalin warrior

Rosalin Krieger, an ethnocultural food guide, spoke about the Jewish home cooking she ate in the Baycrest area.

The fourth speaker, Aharon Ozery, co-owner of Parallel (a popular Israeli restaurant), and his chef George Grabsky gave a demo about Tahini. The lunch – falafel, babaganoush, hummus, salad and sandwiches – was served by Parallel.

There was even a challah baking competition for CHC members. The door prices included a selection of Jewish cookbooks – Kosher style by Amy Rosen; The baker in me (Rabinovitch) and The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory by Norene Gilletz.

The participants were provided with refreshments throughout the day. The baked goods were mainly made according to Jewish cookbook recipes.

Bagels from Primrose Bagel Co. could be tasted with mixed herb cream cheese and salmon spread according to recipes Kosher style.

There was a sour cream coffee cake based on a Susan Silverman recipe that appeared in the UJA community cookbook. The Bathurst St. Kitchen,

Also on offer was an apple pie from Lillian Kaplun’s kitchen and Hamantashen based on a recipe from The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book.

After lunch there were workshops with two historical recipes. An old cheesecake recipe was presented by the culinary historian Bridget Wranich and cakes from Esther Levy’s cookbook from 1871. The Jewish cookbook, were prepared by Mya Sangster and John Hammond.

At the Hungry for Comfort event, Joel Levy gave a practical workshop on how to make Hamantashen. (Barbara Silverstein photo)

Joel Levy. A professional baker who taught how to make hamantashen. while Joanne Yolles, a baking teacher at George Brown College, gave a Ruggelach demo. (As a match for this workshop, I have attached a recipe for Apricot Rugelach of dessert by Bonnie Stern.

Cooking icon Elizabeth Baird (left) and Adell Shneer led a Kreplach workshop at the Hungry for Comfort event. (Barbara Silverstein photo)

Adell Shneer, baker, food stylist and artist, led a Kreplach workshop with a Canadian food icon. Elizabeth Baird, long-time editor of the magazine, Canadian life, The Kreplach were actually served with kosher Schmaltz.

Shneer said Kreplach Recipe (see below) – it appears in The Bathurst St. Kitchen – comes from her maternal grandmother, Sarah Taradash. “When I was a little girl, she showed me how to fold it with a paper napkin,” Shneer recalls. “We stood side by side and made Kreplach. I like to remember how I ate them straight from the boiling water, which was poured with salt and sprinkled with salt. “

SUGAR COOKIES (Daphna Rabinovitch)

560 ml (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour

2 ml (½ tsp) baking powder

1 ml (¼ tsp) salt

3/4 vanilla pod

250 ml (1 cup) butter softened (250 g)

250 ml (1 cup) granulated sugar

1 large egg at room temperature

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the sugar, making sure that the seeds are evenly distributed. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Beat the butter in a bowl blender with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar for 3 minutes and then scrape off the dough. Stir in the egg and remove the bowl from the stand.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon until it is incorporated. Remove the dough on a work surface. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten it into a slice. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Flour your work area lightly. Roll out each slice with 1 slice of dough to a thickness of 6 mm or 1/4 inch. Cut out the desired shapes. Transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake 1 sheet of biscuits at a time in the center of the preheated oven until the biscuits around the edges turn golden brown for about 8-9 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool them completely. Repeat this with the rest of the cookie dough and roll the remnants only once. Cool the pans slightly before adding the unbaked dough.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.

APRICOT almond RUGGELACH (Bonnie star)


250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour

125 ml (½ cup) butter, cold

125 g cream cheese, cold

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of salt


125 ml (½ cup) apricot jam

60 ml (¼ cup) of white sugar

125 ml (½ cup) of toasted almonds

5 ml (1 tsp) lemon zest


1 egg

75 ml 1/3 cup natural granulated sugar or chopped nuts

sifted powdered sugar

Pastry: Put the flour in a large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and rub into the flour with your fingers or a mixer. Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingers or the mixer. Knead until a ball forms.

Halve the dough. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and cool it.

Filling: Stir the jam until it is spreadable. Combine sugar, nuts, apricots and bowl in a bowl.

Roll out each piece of chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. The larger and thinner the piece, the crispier the dough becomes. Each circle should have a round diameter of 23 cm. Spread each circle with jam and sprinkle with the almond mixture.

Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up each wedge from the outside edge. Twist the edges slightly to form a crescent. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment at a distance of about 2.5 cm. Repeat until all cookies are shaped.

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.

Beat the egg and brush the biscuits with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the course sugar chopped nuts.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 24 cookies. Store tightly in a covered container.


Kreplach (Sara Taradash)

Yield: approx. 40 Kreplach (with some remaining filling)


40 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

500 g boiled brisket, cut into pieces

1 egg

1 ml (¼ tsp) of salt and pepper each


500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour

1 egg

30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

105 ml (1/3 cup + 2 tbsp) cold water (approx.)

filling: Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Fry the onions until golden brown for 5-7 minutes. Let cool down.

Let the brisket pieces pulsate in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add sauteed onions, egg, salt and pepper until pulse and well combined. Add 15-30 ml (1-2 tablespoons) of water. Pulsate and set aside. (Prepare: Store in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze for up to two weeks.)

dough: Put the flour in a bowl. Whisk egg, oil and water in the measuring cup.

Pour the egg mixture over the flour and stir it with a fork to get a ragged batter. Add more water with a teaspoon (if necessary) to make a stiff dough. Knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 to 45 minutes. (This is to let the gluten relax so that the dough can be rolled more easily).

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of just under 1 cm. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares.

Scarcely put 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of the dough square. Lightly coat two inner edges with water. Bring the opposite corners of the dough up and over the filling. Squeeze the edges together to form a triangle. Squeeze two triangle points together to connect them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add Kreplach, about 10 at a time, and cook for 5 minutes or until the batter is tender and the filling is hot.

Drain with a slotted spoon and lather with malt or some vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Repeat with the rest of Kreplach. Makes 40 Kreplach.

Freeze: Arrange on the baking sheet so that they do not touch. Freeze for at least 6 hours. Store in airtight containers until use. Thaw and add to the soup.

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