Apple Tahini Crumble
Serves 6 to 8
When the Jewish New Year comes around, it’s common to find apple cake or honey cake on many Ashkenazi tables, since both honey and apple are common ingredients for Rosh Hashanah dishes. But neither of these desserts really excites me. Fruit crumbles are my go-to dessert 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 perfect 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 could be made with peaches, plums, berries, or any combination of fruit that you love. Tahini and Yemenite hawaij coffee spice blend will add a little extra something special if you are inclined. You can also make your own.
Cooking spray for baking dish
For the fruit layer:
7 or 8 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into approximately 1-inch pieces (around 6 cups of chopped apples)
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon 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
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup tahini
For serving (optional):
Vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream
Crumbled halva pieces
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Make the fruit layer: Combine the apples, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
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 vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream and an extra sprinkle of halva, if desired.
Hawaij Coffee Spice Blend
Makes ¼ cup
Hawaij is a Yemenite spice blend that has become popular throughout Israel. There are actually two versions of hawaij, one for soup that is more savory (see page 22), and this one intended for your coffee. It is also fantastic for baking projects. Try some in your cookies, mandel bread, coffee cake, babka, and the Apple Tahini Crumble (page 191).
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Store in an airtight container.
Reprinted with permission from Modern Jewish Comfort Food. Copyright © 2022 by Shannon Sarna. Published by Countryman Press, an imprint of W. W. Norton.
Shannon Sarna is founding editor of The Nosher, the widest-reaching website dedicated to Jewish food, which is part of the 70 Faces Media group. Shannon grew up in upstate New York immersed in performance and music as well as surrounded by diverse culinary experiences: Her Sicilian American mother loved to bake, her Ashkenazi Jewish father loved to experiment, and her grandfather was a food chemist who patented Tang, among other products. Her writing and recipes have been featured in Bake from Scratch Magazine, Taste of Home Magazine, Parade Magazine, Food52, The Kitchn, Tablet Magazine, JTA News, New Jersey Monthly Magazine, Vinepair, and Modern Loss. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, with a degree in comparative government and Spanish language and literature and lives in South Orange, New Jersey, with her husband, three children, two rescue dogs, and a bunny named S’mores. Her first cookbook, Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels & More, was released in September 2017 by Countryman Press.