MAPLE APPLE CRUMBLE PIE
I was in New England recently and with the apple trees and maples in full splendor, got inspired for this recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
FOR TWO PIES
Line the pie pans with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon per pan. Spread the butter all over the pie pan. I used my washed hands to do this, the best tools for the task.
FOR THE FILLING
Place in a medium to large sauce pan:
10 Granny Smith Apples. Any good baking apple can be used. Quarter, core and slice as thin as possible. I prefer not to peel the apples.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons cardamom
Zest of one large lemon (Meyer lemon would do also)
2 cups Frey Viognier Wine (any nice white wine will do)
1 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
Bring to a boil and simmer approximately half an hour, until apples have cooked, and the wine maple syrup sauce has reduced and thickened. Meanwhile prep the crumble.
FOR THE CRUMBLE
4 ½ cups thick cut oats (any oats can be used)
½ cup maple syrup
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and chopped.
2 tablespoons vanilla
Place oats in a Cuisinart or blender or vita-mix, and blend smooth. Add the cold-chopped butter and vanilla and blend.
Add the maple syrup and blend. It will be somewhat sticky and hold together.
ASSEMBLE THE PIES
Place the apple filling in the two pie shells that have been lined with the unsalted butter, half of filling for each.
Break up the wet crumble generously on top of the apple maple filling, dividing it between the two pies and bake for approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until crumble is toasty and golden.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
This dish was inspired by a trip to Baja California where I had a wonderful plate of tequila jalapeno cream sauce with shrimp and scallops. I’ve created a vegetarian version using leeks instead of seafood and Frey wine in place of tequila. It turned out very tasty!
2 cups leeks, cleaned and sliced in 2 inch strips
2 cups sliced red pepper, remove seeds
2 portabella mushrooms, slice in strips.
1/2 cup sliced jalapeno. Cut in half, de seed, wash, and cut into strips.
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 pound penne pasta. Cook, drain, keep warm and set aside.
1 1/3 cups cream
1 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup Frey Chardonnay
3 tablespoons sweet butter
2 tablespoons lime juice from fresh lime
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large sauté pan with the butter on med high to high heat. Add the leeks, red peppers, mushrooms and jalapenos. Sauté a few minutes until almost done. Deglaze with the wine and add the lime juice. Cook down for a minute or so and add the cream. Reduce until the cream sauce thickens. Add half the grated cheese and half the cilantro. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the sauce into the pasta and put in large serving bowl. Garnish with the rest of the grated cheese and cilantro. It you like it spicier, garnish with fresh chopped jalapeno.
Ginger Peach Cobbler
Peach season is upon us! A family member dropped off a box of them last week, fresh from our vineyard peach trees. This led me to think of how the aromas of peaches are often detected in wines. So I set out to include a wine reduction in this recipe, a Pinot Grigio syrup, to bring out even more complex and wonderful flavors in wine and bring them into this peach dish. If you make this, we’d love to hear about it!
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup Frey Pinot Grigio dry white wine
1.5 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 quart fresh sliced peaches, unpeeled
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 dash of salt
Zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°
Pinot Grigio Syrup
Mix together in a sauce pan the Frey Organic Pinot Grigio (or another dry white wine), 1/2 cup coconut sugar, and the grated ginger. Mix and bring to a boil. Simmer until it thickens and reduced by half, more or less. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the Peaches
I do not peel them. Instead I remove the peach fuzz by rubbing them on a clean dish towel. Slice thinly and set aside. (I prefer to leave on the skins to preserve the nutritional value in skins.)
Prepare the Batter
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, 1 cup coconut sugar, baking powder, dash of salt, milk, cooled Pinot Grigio syrup, lemon zest. I like making my own fresh lemon zest with a peeler, then chopping it fine.
Slice up the butter and scatter across the baking dish (DO NOT rub it in), then place in the preheated oven until the butter melts. Take out of oven and pour in the batter, distributing it as evenly as possible as you pour. But DO NOT STIR the batter. Distribute the sliced peaches over the batter. DO NOT STIR the peaches either!
Bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, or until browned and bubbly around the edges, and the center is quite firm.
A tagine is a delicious Moroccan-style stew that is slow-cooked in a ceramic pot of the same name, but you can also cook the dish in a regular baking pan as I did for this recipe. I used a tagine pot for presentation. Leave out the chicken for vegetarian version. I hadn’t made a tagine for years until a client recently requested a dish. It turned out so good I had to share! It paired wonderfully with Frey Organic Pinot Grigio.
Tagine pots are easy to find online.
Chicken and Butternut Tagine
Chicken: 6 wings & 3 thighs.
1 large butternut squash (peeled, de-seeded, chopped into 1 inch pieces)
2 onions, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons chopped ginger
Half bunch cilantro, chopped coarsely
5 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons softened ghee
2-3 teaspoons salt
2 pinches saffron threads (about 1 teaspoon, don’t crush)
2 Meyer fresh lemons or regular lemons, de-seeded, coarsely chopped.
5 tablespoons ghee
1 can pitted green olives
3/4 cup blanched almonds (place in simmering water for one minute and remove skins)
4 tablespoons thinly sliced preserved lemon (preserved lemons can be found online if your local supermarket has none)
Blend all marinade ingredients in Cuisinart or blender. Thoroughly massage marinade into the chicken in a baking pan and over the butternut squash pieces. Let marinate for a few hours or even better, overnight. For vegetarians, use butternut squash and leave out chicken.
Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. After baking 20 minutes, and every 15 to 20 minutes thereafter, stir the dish in the oven. Chicken should be nicely browned after an hour.
Pull from oven and immediately toss with 5-6 tablespoons ghee. Add and toss the green olives, blanched almonds, thinly sliced preserved lemon, then garnish with cilantro.
A ceramic tagine pot for cooking or for presentation, and a jar of home-made preserved lemons.
Peeled garlic and squash.
Ingredients in the blender.
Rub in the marinade. Left is vegetarian version, right is with chicken.
Blanching the almonds in simmering water.
Removing skins from blanched almonds.
Vegetarian tagine dish ready to eat!
By Chef Tamara Frey
Enjoy lightly braised asparagus and wine-infused Portobello mushrooms in a basket of flaky filo, blanketed with a tarragon hollandaise. The steps are simple and the medley of flavors will wow your guests. We served it with a bottle of Frey Organic Pinot Noir. So good!
1 box filo dough
5 large Portobello mushrooms (can use other mushrooms)
2 pounds fresh asparagus
2 pounds unsalted butter
1 jar roasted red peppers
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 large lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon
2 pinches cayenne
1/2 cup Frey Pinot Noir
salt and pepper for seasoning
Make the filo baskets
Filo dough comes frozen, so leave the box in the refrigerator for a day to thaw before gently unrolling the sheets. The sheets I used came in rectangular size of 13 x 18 inches, so after applying the butter and stacking, I cut each in half to 13 x 9 inch rectagles. While working with one sheet, cover the rest with a cloth to prevent from drying out.
Melt 1 and a half sticks of unsalted butter in a sauté pan. Start by gently laying out one of the filo sheets and brush on the melted butter with a pastry brush. Take another sheet and put it on top of the buttered sheet. Continue layering the filo sheets this way, with the melted butter in between each sheet until you have 8 layers. If a sheet tears, as it often does, just patch it up with a piece of filo using a dab of melted butter as glue.
With your 8 layers stacked, cut in half down the middle. Grab one of the stacks and fold the sides in at about half-inch increments until you build up the sides a bit to create a simple basket about 4 x 5 inches. Bake in oven at 375-degree for approximately 12 to 15 minutes, until top and bottom are nicely browned and the basket has puffed up. Set cooked filo baskets aside. (If making the baskets a day ahead, store in a cool place covered with plastic wrap, then flash heat in a 300 degree oven when ready to assemble.)
Prepare the mushrooms
Thinly slice the mushrooms. Melt in a sauté pan 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Sauté the sliced mushrooms a few minutes until done. Add 1/2 cup of Frey Organic Pinot Noir and reduce the juices until a bit thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. (May need to reheat when it is time to assemble the baskets.)
Prepare the asparagus
Rinse the asparagus. Holding one spear in both hands, gently crack it where it naturally breaks. Repeat with all the asparagus spears and discard the bottom parts. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a sauté pan, add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and sauté the asparagus on medium heat until al dente, which is still a bit crispy, or you can cook it to your liking. Set aside. (May need to reheat when it is time to assemble the baskets.)
Prepare the hollandaise
Hollandaise can be tricky as we all know. People are afraid to attempt it. The following is a simple hollandaise recipe using a Cuisinart that I’ve had immense success with. Years ago when I had a little cafe and labored over the classic water-bath hollandaise method, one of the other cooks gave me this fabulous recipe. I have never gone back to the classic French method I learned in culinary school. I love that the consistency of this recipe holds its own every time. It is the one-one-one method: 1 egg, 1 yolk, 1 lb. butter. Here it is:
Melt a pound of unsalted butter in a saucepan on medium to low heat. The melted butter cannot be too hot, nor too cold. Lukewarm is perfect. While the butter’s melting, put the large egg and the large egg yolk in the Cuisinart. Let it run for a minute or so until the mixture becomes light-yellow and creamy, and warmed by the Cuisinart. Then, very slowly, in a thin stream, pour the warm melted butter into the mix while Cuisinart is running. Turn off machine and test for thickness by carefully putting a spoon in the hollandaise. If the spoon comes out coated, without the hollandaise running down the spoon, then consistency is good. Turn on the Cuisinart again and add the juice of half a lemon, one and a half teaspoons of the tarragon, a pinch or two of cayenne and salt. Pulse the Cuisinart and mix, then taste for seasoning. Adjust as needed. You might enjoy more lemon juice or more of a kick with the cayenne.
Prepare the Roasted Red Peppers
Slice in thin strips and set aside.
Assemble the asparagus baskets
Best to serve the filo basket, mushrooms and asparagus piping hot, as all three cool quickly.
Place a filo basket on a plate.
Place two or three spoonfuls of mushrooms in the filo basket.
Then 4 or 5 asparagus spears.
Partially blanket the mushrooms and asparagus with the warm hollandaise.
Lay 2 roasted red pepper strips in an X pattern across it all.
Serve and enjoy!
Copyrighted 2019, Tamara Frey
During a visit to Bali I got inspired by the local dishes. I loved their use of gingers – aromatic ginger, turmeric root, galangal and the fresh ginger root that we are more familiar with. Balinese also use a nut called a candlenut which adds texture and flavor. It’s similar to a macadamia nut. They use the leafy part of celery, which most people don’t, and which I’ve always liked because it’s so flavorful. Their chilies are red and quite hot and are served on the side in thin rounds. I used green serrano chilies for this recipe. Habaneros would be great also, if you like it hot. The Balinese also use an incredibly aromatic Indonesian lemon basil, called kemangi, and the pungent kaffir lime. Use them if you can get some. Also use lemon grass (cut it into one inch chunks and simmer it in the chili) if you can get it fresh. If you make this dish, please let us know your thoughts!
It pairs well with Frey Organic Pinot Grigio.
2 cups dried cannellini beans (any white bean can be used)
Cover with water a few inches above the beans, to allow for expansion, and let sit overnight. Drain and add water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are soft and creamy.
3 deboned skinned chicken thighs. Cut into ½ inch cubes. (Can instead use tofu, or any meat or fish)
2 heaping cups green beans – cut into ½ inch chunks.
2 heaping cups ½ inch chunks of peeled, seeded fresh pumpkin (or winter squash or sweet potatoes)
1 thinly sliced large fresh serrano pepper (or jalapeno or habanero chili)
5 large shallots – peeled and minced
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
5 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons chopped celery leaves (some stalk can be with it as well)
6 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts
2 cans coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 ½ cups thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Fresh lime wedges for – garnish
Thinly sliced fresh chili slices – for garnish.
Do this step a day in advance. In a pot cover the dried cannellini beans with water a few inches above the beans (to allow for expansion) and let sit overnight. Then drain and add water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are soft and creamy. (You can just cook the beans on the same day, but it is better to soak them overnight first.)
Meanwhile, prep all other ingredients and place in bowls ready to cook.
When the beans are done, add the coconut milk, pumpkin pieces, cut green beans and celery leaves and simmer.
Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan and cook the chicken pieces, shallots, garlic and chile slices for a few minutes over medium heat until done.
Then add to the simmering soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the slivered basil right before serving.
Serve in bowls with fresh lime wedges and chili slices on the side and each guest can squeeze in fresh lime juice to taste, along with the chilies for desired flavor.
Enjoy with a glass of Frey Organic Pinot Grigio.
Ingredients ready for cooking!
Sautéing in the pan!
Adding chopped basil to chili.
For two 12 inch tarts
One of my favorite dishes is a tomato tart that I learned at the California Culinary Academy so many years ago (don’t ask how many!). In this new dish tomatoes get demoted to the role of garnish and, just in time for autumn, mushrooms and leeks take the leading role! It paired nicely with Frey Organic Syrah, which I also used for the sauté.
Heat oven to 350F.
2 sliced leeks (rinse to wash out dirt)
1 large red pepper (cut in half and then into strips)
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
½ pound cremini mushrooms (sliced)
½ pound shitake mushrooms (sliced)
2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups Frey Organic Syrah red wine
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted cold butter (cut into pieces)
2 tablespoons cold water
½ pound Gruyere cheese (grated)
½ pound Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (for painting the tart shells)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Cherry tomato halves for garnish
Prepping the filling
In a sauce pan, sauté the leeks, red peppers, garlic, cremini mushrooms and shitake mushrooms, the stick of butter and herbes de Provence until done. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Place the dry porcini mushrooms in a saucepan with the Frey Organic Syrah red wine and the honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the wine is reduced and thickened.
Making the tart shell
Place the whole-wheat pastry flour, cold chopped butter, fresh chopped rosemary and salt into a Cuisinart, or use a mixing bowl. If you have a Cuisinart, use the blade and pulse it a few times until the butter is the size of peas. Slowly add the cold water or ice water until the dough is not too dry, not too wet. If you’re using a bowl, rub the flour, butter, etc., between your hands until the butter is the size of peas. Add very cold water or ice water until dough not too dry, not too wet.
Now whip out the rolling pin! Roll half the dough on a floured surface to about ¼ inch thick. Make it a circle just over the width of your tart pan or pie pan, so you have plenty to fit up the side and for crimping. Now let’s get the rolled dough into the tart pan. With tart pan nearby, gently roll-up the dough around the rolling pin. Lightly sprinkle with more flour as needed, so that the dough doesn’t stick to everything. Unroll the dough onto your tart pan. You can also fold the dough in quarters before lifting it to the tart pan. Pinch and prod your dough until it fits nicely into the pan. Cut the dough sides flush with the edge.
Note: You could buy pre-made pie crusts at the supermarket. But don’t be intimidated by making the dough yourself. Have a culinary adventure! You’ll enjoy the dish that much more when you make it fresh and nothing like taking a little risk in the kitchen to make everything taste better.
Baking the tart shells
Gently lay a piece of tin foil over the crust and carefully form it into the shape of the crust (up the sides and a little bit over the edges). Cover the bottom with a single layer of raw beans. This weighs down your dough as it cooks. Bake the tart shells at 350F. After baking 15 minutes gently lift off the foil with the beans in it. (The beans are still good for another day.) Cook another 10 to 15 minutes or until the tart shells are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Assembling the tarts
Paint the bottom of the baked tart shells with the mustard and sprinkle with a third of the grated Gruyere cheese. Mix another third of the grated Gruyere cheese, along with the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, into the mushroom and leek filling. Then distribute the filling evenly between the two tarts. Arrange the cherry tomato-halves in an attractive pattern on top and sprinkle with the remainder of the grated Gruyere. Add a few sprigs of rosemary for a final touch.
Bake the tarts in the oven, still at 350F, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tart is hot and the cheese melted. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Bon appetite!
Chef Tamara rolling the pie dough.
Pinching the pie edge.
Chopped veggies, ready to sauté!
Ready to serve!
Our in-house chef Tamara Frey especially created this dish for our Organic Wine Club members. Copyrighted 2016, Tamara Frey.
Spinach stuffed mushrooms are a longtime favorite of mine and are delicious served with a crisp, cold glass of Frey Organic Sauvignon Blanc. This tasty appetizer serves about seven people.
1 ½ lbs crimini mushrooms
1 large leek, washed and chopped fine (about 3 cups)
1 bulb garlic (approx. 10 cloves) peeled and chopped fine
1/3 cup fresh chopped mint
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup Frey Sauvignon Blanc
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
1 8 oz. block Parmesan or Asiago cheese, grate small
(save ¼ cup for garnish)
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
Slivered roasted red peppers for garnish
Chopped parsley for garnish
Salt and black pepper and cayenne for seasoning
-Break off the mushroom stems, set aside the tops. Chop the stems fine, or blend them in a Cuisinart until coarsely ground.
-Place in a bowl and add the finely chopped leek, garlic, and mint.
-Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread the raw cashews on a baking pan, roast them approx. ½ hour to 40 minutes until nice and toasty. Then blend in Cuisinart to medium coarse crumbs (not pulverized, but not too large either). Set aside.
-Place the Frey Organic Sauvignon Blanc and honey in a saucepan, simmer approx. 15 to 20 minutes until reduced approx. by half.
-In another pan, heat the oil (or butter) and sauté the leeks, garlic, coarsely ground mushroom stems, and mint, until sweated and done. Deglaze it with the reduced Sauvignon Blanc. Sauté a bit until not too wet. Then add the grated cheese (but set aside ¼ cup of the grated cheese for garnish), add the chopped spinach and cashew crumbs. Heat a few seconds more, just enough for the spinach to cook and for the cheese to melt to act as a bonding agent.
-Mix all together and season to taste with the salt, black pepper and cayenne. Stuff the raw mushroom tops. (I like to do this by first rolling the mixture together into balls just under the size of the mushroom top, like rolling meatballs. Then I stuff the tops as high as possible, like little mountains) and place them on a baking pan. If there’s stuffing left over, enjoy by the spoonful as the mushrooms bake!
-Sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan or Asiago cheese and bake the stuffed mushrooms in a 350 degree oven for approx. fifteen minutes, or until they are soft when squeezed. Garnish with the slivered roasted red peppers and the chopped parsley.
Our in-house chef Tamara Frey especially created this soup for our Organic Wine Club members. Copyrighted 2014, Tamara Frey
The pumpkins are gathered and the vines and oak trees are turning orange here at Frey Vineyards. In the nearby forests mushrooms are popping up! So I had to do a mushroom soup to welcome the new season. This soup has the earthy essence of mushrooms, potatoes, and Frey Biodynamic Syrah. It’s topped with a squirt of Roasted Red Pepper Jalapeno Purée, a Pumpkin Seed Spinach Purée (created by family-friend Julie St. Pierre), and a mini-raft of goat brie set adrift. I am heavy handed on the garlic and herbs, which is what I like. You can experiment to your taste. I love the smells that permeate the house as the Syrah reduces with the dried mushrooms! Enjoy this rich soup, the very essence of wild mushrooms and organic wine.
1 oz. dried porcini
1 oz. dried mushroom medley
1 bottle Frey Biodynamic Syrah
1/2 pound unsalted butter
3 large leeks
1 large bulb garlic
4 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 2 tablespoons dried)
2 tablespoons dried tarragon (or fresh)
1 tablespoons fresh grated nutmeg
1 pound shitake mushrooms
1 pound white mushrooms
1 pound cremini mushrooms
4 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
1 tablespoon salt (or add to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 pounds red fingerling potatoes
1 pound yams (Japanese yams or sweet potatoes)
A sprinkle of fresh lemon juice
A sprinkle cayenne
In a saucepan combine the Syrah and the dried mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for a half hour.
Wash and chop coarsely the leeks. Peel the garlic and chop coarsely. Meanwhile, melt the unsalted butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and garlic. Sweat a few minutes and add the thyme, tarragon, nutmeg and fresh mushrooms. Throw the mushrooms in whole. Sauté ten minutes, then add the wine and dried mushroom mixture. Cover and simmer until mushrooms are soft. Blend in a Cuisinart or Vita Mix along with the cream and stock. Pour the purée back into the cooking pot and add the chopped yams or sweet potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and cayenne to taste.
Goat Brie, Roasted Red Pepper Jalapeno Sauce and Pumpkin Seed Spinach Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper Jalapeno Purée:
2 large red peppers
4 large jalapenos
1 large clove garlic
salt to taste
Roast the pepper and jalapenos on a flame, on stove top (or chop them and grill them with a little butter). When blackened, let cool down a little. Rinse under running water while removing seeds. Blend in Cuisinart or Vita Mix with the garlic clove.
Place in bowl, add salt to taste. Set aside.
Pumpkin Seed Spinach Purée:
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup packed spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin
1/4 cup water, or until desired consistency
Salt to taste
Blend all above ingredients in Cuisinart or Vita Mix. If it’s too thick, add water
For each bowl of soup served, pour on tablespoon each of these red and green purées with artistic flair! Don’t forget a thin slice of goat brie cheese on each bowl as well.
Copyrighted 2014, Tamara Frey
This traditional Jewish recipe has been enjoyed by our family since the early 1970’s when a dear friend of ours introduced it to us. It was a version of the sacred bread used for the Jewish Sabbath, and passed down from her family. We have always enjoyed this special bread at weddings, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and would like to pass it on to you.
Fresh Challah Bread.
Makes two large loaves
8 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tbsp. dry yeast
3 ½ cups milk
4 tbsp. honey
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup walnuts (optional)
5 more cups of flour
In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups of the flour with the salt and dry yeast. Save the remaining 4 cups of flour for later.
Next, place a sauce pan on low heat and mash up the butter, milk and honey. You can use a large fork or a whisk to do the mashing and mixing. Don’t let it get too hot or it will kill the yeast. When butter is melted and mixed with the milk and honey, remove from heat and add to the dry ingredients. Beat with a whisk until well mixed. This mixture is called a sponge. Cover with a damp cloth. Then place the sponge in a warm draft-free area for 15 minutes to let the yeast activate.
With the mixture still in the bowl, whisk in 3 eggs (as well as the optional 1 cup of walnuts.) Slowly add the remaining flour one cup at a time for the first 3 cups. Beat well with a wooden spoon after each addition. As the dough develops it will slowly come away from the sides of the bowl and become less sticky. At this point take the dough out and put it on a floured surface to start the kneading. Keep adding the flour in small increments until the Challah dough is smooth, elastic, and forms a ball. Knead the ball of dough for about 10 minutes more to develop the gluten. This is a great upper-body strengthening exercise!
I was taught that when you pull the dough apart, if it stretch’s thin, and does not break, it’s ready. (If you used whole wheat dough it will not be as elastic.)
Now, let’s let it rise. Dust a large bowl with flour, or smear with softened butter. Put in the dough and cover with a damp cloth and let sit in a warm place for approx. 45 minutes. A warm oven works well in cold weather. Let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk. (When using whole wheat flour, it rises and softens, but does not double in size.) Punch the dough down back to size, put it back on a board, and knead into a ball. Divide dough in half. Then divide each half into three. Roll each of the 6 pieces of dough into a long, thin strand. Braid three strands at a time, forming 2 loaves. Place braided dough on a cookie sheet in a warm area and let them rise. After they rise and are soft to the touch, beat an egg in a small bowl and very, very gently brush the egg wash onto the loaves using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. (The risen dough is a bit fragile at this stage when ready to go in the oven. Don’t jostle it. If it deflates, knead it again and let it rise again.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the two breads in oven and bake for approx. 35 to 40 minutes, or until Challah is golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked gently with your knuckles.
It’s superb when served with sweet butter!
Challah dough made with whole wheat and added wallnuts.
(Recipe & images copyrighted © Tamara Frey, 2013. All right reserved.)
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