It's that time of year again. It seems as if the kids were just reveling in the joy that is summer vacation (okay, I was just reveling), when bam, October is sneaking up on me. Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is just around the corner, and I'm stunned.
It's a universal truth, that if the Halloween merchandise is on the shelves at the market, and it's 95 degrees outside, Rosh Hashana can only be days away.
I was at a social function not too long ago and my friend Jodi officially burst my "summer is over" bubble in one fell swoop. She politely requested that I come up with a dessert in honor of the holiday. "No honey cake, I'm so done with honey cake," she said. "Oh, maybe something with caramel or apples, like in The Help, but no chocolate pie."
I've read The Help and seen the movie, and I can safely say that I won't be featuring a chocolate pie for Mind Over Platter anytime soon.
I've sent in my High Holidays temple seating request. I'm planning on getting there early cause you don't want to be late to temple. Ever. Getting a seat up close enough where you can see and hear the rabbi is harder than getting tickets to a Lady Gaga concert. And don't forget to turn off your cell phone in temple either. For those of you who are not affiliated with a temple, you can always use Jewgle Maps.
Rosh Hashana, where the Shofar is first blown calling Jews to reflect and repent for sins of the past year, and the Days of Awe until Yom Kippur, when the final call from the Shofar is sounded, are supposed to be a time of reflection and contemplation.
Rosh Hashana is the celebration of the Jewish New Year and is one of the most joyous of the Jewish holidays. Part of the celebration is enjoying symbolic foods, like apples dipped in honey, pomegranates to symbolize being fruitful, and instead of the traditional braided Challah, round loaves are served to symbolize the complete cycle of the year.
To celebrate the arrival of the new year, and in honor of my friend Jodi, I've come up with a very easy, decidedly not honey cake, Rosh Hashana dessert. It is very light and sweet (hopefully an indicator of the coming year) and moist. Serve it warm from the oven with a drizzle of caramel sauce, and you will be ready for a sweet new year.
Apple Upside Down Cake
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus an additional 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tbs. butter, plus butter to grease the pan
- 4 small apples peeled, cored, and sliced
In a large sauce pan, begin to cook the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes and beginning to brown a bit (do not let it burn). Add the sliced apples and stir to coat. Cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have just released their juices and are just tender (if you over cook you will have applesauce).
When done remove the apple slices from the pan. Add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar to the juice mixture left in the pan and cook until syrupy.
Prepare the cake mix per the instructions. Liberally grease the bottom and sides of a deep dish pan. Arrange the apple slices in a pleasant pattern. Pour the syrup from the pan over the apple slices. Then cover apples with the cake batter, leaving room for the cake to rise.
Bake until a cake tester comes out smooth. This may take a few minutes longer than the cake box indicates due to the apples and the excess moisture in the pan.
When done, remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Place your serving plate over the cake and carefully invert (use an oven mitt so you don't burn yourself). Serve with warm caramel drizzle.