Pleasure Hunting / Happy days
Candy apples, chocolate fudge, honey candies – even beginning confectioners can recreate the flavors of the simple candies we enjoyed as childrenwork, but the result is a rare delight.
During the holidays of ourchildhood in the month of Tishrei, the start of the Jewish calendar year, our parents allowed us to consume prodigious amounts of sugar as part of the celebrations. Flavors were simple: sugar, honey, milk chocolate and caramel − but because of them the family holiday remains a memory as sweet as the honey candies of Rosh Hashana, which always ended up with incessant blinking and tongue-clicking as we removed the sticky stuff from our teeth. Wrapped in cellophane, the candies were always waiting in the crystal bowl our Haifa grandmother would offer us after we had finished eating everything on our plates and before we ran outside to play.
Their sweet taste stuck not only to our teeth, but also to our childhood memories, which remained happy and innocent. Today, Ronit Tsin-Karsenti prepares them without any shortcuts and without superfluous flavors. She also prepares candied apples and chocolate fudge, two other favorites of former times. Tsin-Karsenti's fudge won’t make you forget the taste of the simple chocolate of your childhood, but its texture and flavor are far better, and it too leaves you with pleasant memories. Here are her recipes.
Old-fashioned honey candies
100 gm. honey
150 gm. sugar
a pinch of ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves
Cook the honey and sugar together in a double boiler over medium heat. Use a heat-resistant spatula to stir until the honey and sugar blend into a uniform viscous liquid. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the mixture and continue cooking until it registers 155 degrees Celsius. The sugar reaches the desired temperature within a relatively short time, so make sure not to exceed the recommended heat and cause the mixture to become overly caramelized.
Place the pan in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Be careful − the pot and its contents are very hot and liable to cause burns (use gloves and keep your face at a distance). Stir in the cinnamon and cloves. With a spoon, place small mounds of the mixture on a silicon surface or on baking paper and allow to cool. The mounds can also be poured onto the ends of small sticks, creating lollipops. Leave to cool. Place a candy on your tongue, close your eyes and enjoy the flavors of childhood innocence.
6 Granny Smith apples, firm and unblemished
6 thick wooden skewers
3 1/2 cups sugar (680 gm.)
1/2 cup water (120 ml.)
1/2 cup (120 ml.) corn syrup or glucose
A few drops of natural red food coloring
Rinse and dry the apples well, and stick a skewer into the base of each. Cook the sugar, water and glucose together in a double boiler over medium heat. Mix with a heat-resistant spatula only until the sugar dissolves in the water, and wait until the sugar thermometer reaches a temperature of 146 degrees.
Remove from heat and add the food coloring, one drop at a time, until you achieve the desired color. Wait until the bubbles in the syrup disappear, and dip each apple in the syrup. Let the excess syrup drip back into the pot, and set the apples to cool on a silicon surface or baking paper, with skewers facing up.
If you prepare them ahead of time, each apple should be wrapped in cellophane after it dries in order to prevent dampness. Traditionalists stick the apple into a Simhat Torah flag and send the children out to celebrate in the streets.
4 cups sugar (800 gm.)
1 cup milk (240 ml.)
3/4 container sweet cream (180 ml.)
1/2 cup corn syrup or glucose (120 ml.)
240 gm. fine bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids)
1 cup (100 gm.) roasted, shelled hazelnuts
butter for greasing the pan
In a double boiler cook the sugar, milk, sweet cream, glucose and chocolate together over a medium flame. Using a heat-resistant spatula, mix until the sugar thermometer shows 114 degrees.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool for about 15 minutes. With a wooden spoon stir the mixture for a few minutes until it becomes thicker and more viscous. Add the hazelnuts and transfer quickly to a pan well greased with butter.
Let the fudge solidify overnight at room temperature. The next day, cut it into squares or break into bite-sized pieces with your hands. If there is any left over − not likely − keep it in a closed container in the refrigerator.