Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rosh Hashanah-Inspired French Toast

Being raised with a Christian mother and a Jewish father, religion in my home was more about upholding traditions and building strong values rather than following a more traditional path that many of my friends experienced. With a powerful spirituality within myself, I never felt like I was missing out on anything not following a specific religion. My family still celebrated and participated in as many cultural holidays as we could, meaning lots of valuable family time and, as with most holidays, lots of delicious food! Though I write this on Yom Kippur, the holiday that most non-jews know of as "the fasting holiday" (I should note that Yom Kippur is actually known as the day of Atonement, as well as being the holiest day of the year), I'm going to throw things back to a week ago when we celebrated the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. 

Rosh Hashanah marks the first day of a ten day period where we are to reflect on ourselves and our actions and repent for those in which we are not proud of. The ten day period leads ups to today, Yom Kippur, where we are to spend the entirety of the day fasting and in prayer before indulging in a festive meal to break the fast (also known as the break relation to breakfast). With religion being more about building values in our home, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were understood to me through their symbols. Rosh Hashanah was always known to me as "the apples and honey holiday," as the two are traditionally eaten together to symbolize a sweet year. Yom Kippur to me was known as "the fasting holiday," as well as the holiday that I was allowed to stay home from school if I participated in the fast and took time within my day to reflect on my year, my actions, and myself. 

Though I will not be participating in the Yom Kippur fast today, I will certainly take the time to uphold the tradition of self reflection and examination. To begin the ten day holy period on Rosh Hashanah, I took a bit of an unorthodox approach to celebrating the holiday, with the symbol of apples and honey as my inspiration. To ring in the Jewish new year in the sweetest way I could think of, I whipped up a Rosh Hashanah-inspired french toast featuring, of course, apples and honey! A slice of some raisin challah (a Rosh Hashanah tradition!), a quick chop of an apple, and a little time spent caramelizing with some butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon was all I needed to take my regular french toast up a notch and make it appropriate for the Jewish New Year. As well as drizzling some local Maple Syrup on top of the warm and spongy treat, I also drizzled a little bit of honey for traditions sake. My Rosh Hashanah-inspired french toast was incredibly delicious, and a wonderful way to start this holy period of the year!

1 egg, beaten
1 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
2 thick slices raisin challah
1 tbsp butter
maple syrup, for serving
honey, for serving
Apple Compote:
1 apple, small dice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar
splash of water

  1. Add beaten egg to a shallow dish and add milk, vanilla extract, and dash of cinnamon and beat. Add challah slices, one at a time, and turn to coat. Allow to rest in egg mixture to soak up as much as possible.
  2. Meanwhile make apple compote. Heat a small pot to medium heat. Add apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and splash of water and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and tender. 
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Melt butter and add egg soaked challah. Brown for about 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and brown the other side. Serve immediately topped with apple compote, maple syrup, and honey.
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