This Saturday, we Jews will celebrate the holiday of Tu Bi’Shvat, the so-called New Year of trees.
In the ancient Jewish state, this day was celebrated because it marked the boundary between two agricultural years and the time when plants begin to bloom in Israel.
In the 16th century, it became the custom to celebrate Tu Bi Shvat by planting new trees, and eating the seven crops for which Israel was renowned, wheat, barley, olives, dates, grapes, figs, and pomegranates, as well as other types of fruit, such as: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, apricots, and prunes, particularly dried fruits.
Last year we prepared one dried fruit cake , and one stew with apricots; the year before we made stuffed dates. This time instead, just to change menus, we have prepared an Eastern cake with Israeli dates, chocolate, and almonds.
Soft Date and Chocolate Cake
- 250 g of dates
- 150 g of 00 flour
- 140 g of sugar
- 110 g of almonds
- 50 g of honey
- 50 g of unsweetened chocolate
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 2 tablespoons of milk or orange juice for those who do not want to use milk
- Beat the eggs with the sugar to get a frothy cream, then with the help of an electric mixer, incorporate the flour, baking powder, and honey.
- Finely chop the chocolate, almonds, and dates, add them to the eggs and flour cream (adding, if necessary, two tablespoons of milk to make the dough more workable), and mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a pan covered with parchment paper and level it well, then also add some dates, cut in half, on top of the cake as a decoration.
- Bake the cake in a 180°C preheated oven, and cook for about 40 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven, and let it rest for at least 5 minutes, then take it out on a serving plate, and let it cool.
- The cake you will get is very dense and sweet: serve it in small slices, perhaps accompanying it with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.
- The cake keeps well, for a few days, wrapped in foil.
If you are interested in learning more about Tu Bi Shvat recipes, or about dried fruit in general, here are some links you might like:
- The Tu Bi Shvat recipe archive on Labna, not only those specifically made for Tu Bi Shvat, but also those with ingredients suitable for this holiday
- a series of “Collections” of recipes by topic for Tu Bi Shvat on Aish.com
- the selection of recipes and crafts for Tu Bi Shvat by Joy of Kosher, which also includes a table decoration guide for this holiday
- a list of tasty (and savory!) recipes on Kosher Delight
- an interesting in-depth history on the holiday of Tu Bi Shvat, with some recipes, on Israeli Kitchen
- a round-up of Tu Bi Shvat recipes from the internet, collected on Kveller