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Recipes

Teiglach

This recipe for teiglach, a dessert traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is from the cookbook A Taste of Israel by Nida Degutienė. It’s a tasty baked treat that the Litvaks have shared with the world. Litvaks living in Israel and South Africa often recall teiglach with great nostalgia because there are fewer and fewer cooks willing to take on the time-consuming task of making these sweet and sticky goodies at home.

Serves: Makes about 60

Ingredients

6 eggs
4 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons vodka
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4½ cups cake flour (or more if the dough is very soft)
2 cups water
2 cups runny honey
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts) and desiccated coconut, or sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Method

In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the oil, vodka, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder and flour, then mix well. Add the flour mixture, bit by bit, to the egg mixture, mixing all the while. The resulting dough should be soft but not sticky. Divide the dough into three pieces. Coat your hands in flour and roll each piece into a long rope. Shape the ropes into whatever shape you like for the teiglach:Some roll the dough out in thin cylinders and slice them into 2cm-long gnocchi-shaped chunks; others shape their teiglach into little knots – they roll the dough out into even thinner cylinders, slice them into 3- to 4cm-long strips and then tie the strips into little knots.

For the syrup, combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil. When it begins to bubble, carefully place the teiglach, one by one, into the pot. Reduce the heat and cover with a tightly fitting lid. Without removing the lid, boil for 40 to 45 minutes, then stir. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the pastries are a dark, reddish shade. This is the true teiglach colour. During the boiling, be careful not to burn the honey syrup. If it seems too thick, add a little water.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the boiled teiglach from the honey syrup and place on the prepared tray. Make sure the pastries do not touch one another or else they will stick together. If you like, pour the remaining honey syrup over the teiglach. Sprinkle with nuts and coconut, or sesame or poppy seeds, and leave to dry for at least 1 hour. They will never fully dry out and are meant to be enjoyed sticky.

This recipe is from the book A Taste of Israel: From Classic Litvak to modern Israeli by Nida Degutienė, published in 2015 by Struik Lifestyle. For more information on the book, click here.

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