There is nothing more exciting for me than receiving a brand new cookbook, hot off the presses. I received a review copy of Paula Shoyer’s new cookbook The Holiday Kosher Baker, and couldn’t wait to crack it open. As a fellow pastry chef, I am in constant awe of Paula. She is a former practicing lawyer who decided to follow her love and passion for baking, and I’m so glad she did! This is Paula’s second book. Her first book, The Kosher Baker, is designed like a baking bible. It has every basic recipe a Jewish baker could hope for. In her second book, Paula focuses on holiday baking which is great, because there are so many Jewish holidays, each with it’s own unique holiday desserts.
The cookbook begins with a Kosher baking encyclopedia explaining everything you need to know about using this book as well as general kosher baking skills. The cookbook is then broken down by holiday, starting with Rosh Hashana and following the Jewish calendar all the way through to Shavuot. Each chapter is color coded making the cookbook even more beautiful and easy to navigate. The most exciting section has to be Passover. This cookbook includes over 45 recipes for the scariest holiday a pastry chef could possibly face. Paula makes baking easy and exciting. Her recipes are clear, and easy to follow. Most of the recipes are accompanied by gorgeous color photos to inspire. There are plenty of tips and tricks included to help you along the way. Paula even labeled every recipe, explaining it as easy, moderate, or multiple steps so you can decide for yourself what you are in the mood to tackle.
Most of the recipes are non-dairy, perfect for serving after a meat meal, but she also includes her best dairy desserts. Recipes for low-sugar, gluten free, vegan, and nut-free treats are also included—something for everyone in your family. I already use Paula’s red velvet cake as my default recipe and can’t wait to try more! The recipes I have already bookmarked to try are babka bites, gingerbread cookies, red velvet hamantaschen, and Passover Mexican chocolate cookies. To celebrate Chanukah, I’d like to share Paula’s recipe for Almond and Olive Oil Cake.
- ¾ cup sliced almonds (with or without skins)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup ground almonds
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- ½ tsp. orange zest (from one orange)
- spray oil containing flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Trace an 8-inch round pan on parchment paper and cut it out with scissors.
- Grease and flour the pan, press in the parchment circle; and grease and flour the top of the parchment and sides of the pan.
- Sprinkle and spread the sliced almonds on the bottom of the pan to cover it.
- In a medium bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and olive oil for about one minute at medium speed until creamy.
- Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, almond extract, and orange zest and beat until combined.
- Pour the mixture over the sliced nuts.
- Bake fr 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then run a knife around the sides.
- Turn the cake onto a wire rack and let it cool.
- Serve the cake almond side up.
- Store it covered at room temperature for up to four days or freeze for up to three months.
Now for the amazing giveaway! Enter to win a free copy of The Holiday Kosher Baker! Contest open to US addresses only. One winner will be chosen at random, good luck!