This Recipe For the Weekend! (R,FTW!) is coming to you a little early this week, since tonight is the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Jewish holidays always seem to center around decadent food, and Rosh Hashanah is no exception (may we all have a sweet year!). I thought it would be fun to see if we could concoct a slightly healthier version of one of my traditional favorites: Teiglach.
Teiglach (or, if you prefer: teglach, taiglach, or even tayglakh) is a traditional Yiddish treat, usually made by deep-frying small balls of dough and then cooking them in a honey and nut mixture. They are then allowed to cool, making for a sticky, gooey mess of a dessert.
Some people will slice the resulting block of Teiglach into strips, but that’s far too civilized for my taste. It’s so much more fun to pull apart the morsels with your fingers, making a proper mess as you go!
We decided to adapt the “Ceciarchiata Teyglakh” recipe in Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook (which she takes from Edda Servi Machlin). We replaced the Unbleached All-Purpose Flour with 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, and followed her alternate instructions for baking, not frying, the dough.
I can’t stop eating the stuff, and my keyboard is now covered in honey.
100% Whole Wheat Teiglach
4 Eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Honey
1/2 cup toasted/coarsely chopped Hazelnuts
2 tsp. grated Lemon Zest
1 Tbs. Lemon Juice
Butter or Oil Spray, for greasing the serving platter
1 cup toasted/coarsely chopped Almonds
Mix the eggs, flour, and salt in a bowl to “make a soft dough.” We found that three eggs weren’t enough, and the tough was incredibly dense and tough. Adding a fourth egg helped, though it took some effort to work it into the dough. In other words, this dough is a heavyweight monster — but apparently that’s okay.
Place the dough on a floured surface, and knead for a minute or two, if you haven’t done so already. Roll the dough into a rectangle (or thereabouts) with a rolling pin, until it is about 1/4″ thick. You will need to flip the dough several times and apply liberal amounts of flour to keep it from sticking.
Slice the dough into 1/4″ strips, and then coat each strip with flour to keep it from sticking. Cut those strips into pieces, making small “chickpea-sized” bits. Toss them in some more flour, and then shake off the excess.
Place the dough bits on an ungreased cookie sheet so that they’re not touching each other. Bake at 400°F for seven minutes (be sure the oven is properly preheated). You may need to do this in two or three batches, but it’s okay if they cool after baking.
Heat the honey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for three minutes (careful, it may start to foam).
Add the dough pieces, toasted hazelnuts, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir well, and cook over low-medium heat for seven minutes — stirring constantly.
Line a lightly-greased serving platter with the chopped almonds, and then pour the hot mixture into a pile on the platter. We used a round ceramic pie dish, but any platter will do.
Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, and then shape into a circle using a spoon or wet hands. It will become slightly firmer as you let it cool completely at room temperature.
This morning, I thought it might be a nice presentation to flip the now-cool teiglach onto a plate (making for a beautiful, almond-crusted delight). So I gently placed an upside-down plate over the pie dish, and flipped the whole thing over. Some of it fell out nicely, and the rest stuck stubbornly to the dish.
The result wasn’t pretty, but I’m fine with that: Picking at the sticky, renegade clusters makes them even more delectable.
L’Shanah Tovah, everyone! May you all have a sweet and happy new year!
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