Apples and Honey Are Staples at Rosh Hashanah—Here's How to Enjoy Them Together for the Holiday and Beyond
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year and start of the High Holidays, is celebrated each fall. It's a festive event where family and friends gather first for services and then around the table. Unlike Passover, where dishes like charoset and matzoh ball soup are served, and Hanukkah, the time of year for latkes, Rosh Hashanah doesn't have a traditional menu. One simple culinary combination, however, is always present at the start of the year: apples and honey. "Rosh Hashanah is the spiritual head of the Jewish year, and with that comes wishes for the year ahead," explains Leah Koenig, author of cookbooks including The Jewish Cookbook ($33.73, amazon.com) and Modern Jewish Cooking ($24.53, amazon.com). "Apples and honey are the edible embodiment of those wishes, with the apple representing hopes for a full, round year and honey symbolizing sweetness."
Though raw, peak season apples are usually the star, you could swap in dried, baked, or roasted apples. "Some folks also play around with the sweetener side swapping out date honey (silan), maple syrup, or even chocolate sauce for the honey," adds Koenig.
Outside of the sit-down meal, you can celebrate the new year any time of day, in a wealth of different preparations. The sweet twosome work well in breads and pastries, like Apple-Honey Challah, Walnut Honey Cake, or Applesauce Cake. You could incorporate apples and honey into a hearty Dutch baby pancake or drizzle honey (instead of powdered sugar) over crisp apple-stuffed fritters. Alpine muesli, studded with chunks of Granny Smiths, presents another lucky way to start the day, as do these bars, which also feature dried cherries and dates.
For children at the table, you could consider these attractive apple "stratas," stuffed with layers of honeyed cream cheese, granola, and Cheddar cheese. If you wanted to keep it simple, a sandwich of apple, honey, and almond butter will please adults and kids alike. For a lighter option, try this bold fruit salad which gets drizzled with a honey-lime vinaigrette and features a chic presentation. And if you want to pair the two ingredients in a drink, look no further than this warming green tea, which is flavored with aromatics including cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, and apple.
No matter how you slice it, this humble combination offers a spectrum of culinary opportunities.