Monday, August 6, 2012

New Recipe for the New Year from the Italian-Jewish Kitchen

From Roman artichokes to Venetian fried fish, Italian and Jewish cuisines have been nourishing each other for more than 2,000 years. On Sunday, September 9 at 2:30 p.m., James Beard nominated cookbook author Jayne Cohen will lead a lively discussion entitled Exploring Italian-Jewish Cuisine at the Museum.

The panel will feature: food writers Cara De Silva and Alessandra Rovati; chef and food writer Silvia Nacamulli; and chef and restaurant owner Walter Potenza. The chefs and writers will share recipes and stories from Italian- Jewish kitchens throughout the ages. A reception will follow featuring Italian specialties and a guided tasting of kosher Italian wines and cheeses donated by Sentieri Ebraici Wines and Brent Delman, The Cheese Guy.

Here is a sneak peek at a fabulous recipe for Rosh Hashanah, courtesy of Walter Potenza.

Sfratti (Jewish nut and honey filled cookies)

Walter’s recipe is a traditional Rosh Hashanah specialty from the Tuscan village of Pitigliano, which was once known as Little Jerusalem.

Yield: Makes 42 cookies


3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup cold, unsalted butter (or 1/3 cup vegetable oil)

approx. 2/3 cup chilled dry white wine


1 cup honey

2 cups chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

dash of nutmeg

¼ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Egg Wash

1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water


Make Dough First: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the wine a little at a time, mixing with a fork to moisten the dough. Continue adding wine until the dough just holds together. Divide dough in half and press into balls. Flatten balls into discs, then wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Dough can be made up to 3 days ahead. When ready to use, allow dough to stand at room temperature until malleable but not soft.

Make the Filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the honey to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. If it starts to foam over, lower heat slightly. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring constantly for another 3-5 minutes, then remove from heat. (If the mixture begins turn dark, it is starting to burn—remove from the heat immediately and keep stirring!)

Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until it is cool enough to handle. Pour mixture onto a floured surface, divide into 6 equal portions, and shape the portions into 14-inch-long sticks.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prepare the cookies: On a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap or on a lightly floured surface, roll each disc of dough into a 14-by-12-inch rectangle, then cut each rectangle lengthwise into three long rectangles. Place one of the strips of filling near a long side of each rectangle, then roll the dough around the filling.

You will have six long sticks of dough with filling in each. Cut these into 2-inch sticks. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between the cookies. Brush with the egg wash.

Bake cookies until golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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