This recipe honours traditional Jewish Moroccan tagines, but without the need for a special pot. Flavoured with cinnamon, and full of sweet fruit, this is a perfect celebration dish, especially good for Rosh Hashanah. It freezes well.
My parents grow pumpkins and store them in a dark and airy room while they slowly mature. As a symbol of the beginning of the season, the first pumpkin is eaten for Rosh Hashanah, where in Rome we do a short "Seder" and pumpkin is one of the symbolic foods. Here is a lovely frittata baked in the oven and eaten in little squares.
For Tunisian Jews, the symbolic fruit of Rosh Hashanah are pomegranate and quince. A pomegranate's many seeds represent the good points we would like Hashem to count when he inscribes our name in the Book of Life. We put them and other symbolic foods on a plate, like a Seder plate. Pomegranate jam symbolises a sweet new year.
Every Rosh Hashanah, I create a variation on the traditional apple cake. This one has become a family favourite, whether for dessert or for tea. It freezes beautifully, but make sure to freeze it un-iced and add the topping after defrosting.
Serves: 8. Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour plus 30 minutes to cool.
I serve this rather than carrot tsimmes - the golden sweetness of the pumpkin or squash ushers in a shana tova u'metuka and the classic Japanese flavourings bring a piece of my family history to the Yomtov table. Kabocha pumpkins can be tricky to source but butternut squash makes an admirable substitute.
These are a homage to my late, dear father-in-law, Nathan, who adored them. He always said they were a cure for a cold! Maybe not, but they are delicious, comforting and popular with young and old. This recipe makes about 65 dainty rolls, but as each one is little more than a mouthful, they disappear in no time. They keep well, and can be offered to visitors with a coffee at any time of the day.