Though this meal comes at the end of the day, it often bears more of a resemblance to breakfast than dinner.

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The holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur is a day of atonement, when those who observe the holiday ask for forgiveness for their sins. Many spend the day fasting, praying, and reflecting. And come sundown, they break the fast. Although the meal takes place in the evening, breakfast foods are common, first because they're generally lighter and easier on stomachs that haven't had food in 25 hours, and second, because many of these dishes can be made ahead of time; Jewish law prohibits any work (including cooking) until the end of the day. Above all, they're comforting and delicious.

A generously packed basket of baked goods will undoubtedly be a welcome sight. One idea is homemade bread; this whole wheat bread includes three generous spoonfuls of honey, which nicely offsets the density of the whole grains, but you could also go all out and make bagels. Follow this recipe, which adheres to the traditional method of boiling the bagels briefly before baking, and you'll end up with delicious bagels with a chewy interior and crisp outer crust. Don't want to bake? There's always the option of picking up bread or bagels from a local bakery and complementing them with your own house-made salads.

bagels and smoked salmon spread on marble counter
Credit: DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images

An egg salad that incorporates diced avocado and a flavorful vinaigrette pairs well with smoked salmon and whole-grain bread, if those are also on the menu. Smoked fish, whether nova, sable, salmon or nova, are also classic accompaniments, as are cream cheese, sliced red onion, lemon wedges, sprigs of fresh dill, and capers.

We also love blintzes, the traditional cigar-shaped filled pancakes similar to crepes, which you can fill with cheese or fruit. If you haven't made them, give them a trial run beforehand, since getting them right can take a little practice (and a nonstick skillet is a must). A Blintz Baked French Toast is another idea, which is great because you can make it beforehand and it has the flavors of a blintz in French toast form (plus, it combines creamy ricotta, custard, and challah, and who can argue with that?).

Speaking of casserole-style dishes, we've got loads of ideas. A Sausage and Swiss Chard Strata walks the line between omelet casserole and bread pudding; a ham and cheese one is infused with Dijon mustard and bakes up to a fluffy, golden finish; and a Noodle Kugel hits the right balance of sweet and savory, so it works wonderfully as a side dish and a breakfast treat. There are also quiches, including ones made with caramelized leeks, spinach and cheddar, and fresh herbs.

To complete your joyful feast, consider coffee cake, such as a cinnamon streusel cake, made with sour cream; for something unexpected, prepare a pull-apart version laced with citrus. A fresh fruit salad is another sweet way to finish the meal, whether this tropical one, which combines pineapple, kiwi, and papaya with toasted coconut flakes, or a ruby fruit salad, where lime juice and brown sugar create a delicate syrup to dress the plums, grapes, and berries.

Comments (3)

Martha Stewart Member
September 15, 2021
I think serving a ham and cheese casserole is a splendid idea for Yom Kippur break fast. Who proofreads your articles? This is a huge blunder.
Martha Stewart Member
September 15, 2021
I can’t believe you’re suggesting ham and sausage recipes on here! Even Jews that do not keep kosher would not serve this on Yom Kippur. Someone needs to take another look at these ridiculous suggestions.
Martha Stewart Member
September 15, 2021
I can’t believe you’re suggesting ham and sausage recipes on here! Even Jews that do not keep kosher would not serve this on Yom Kippur. Someone needs to take another look at these ridiculous suggestions.