The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer Sterling Publishers 2013. $38.50
An array of beautiful desserts at any festive gathering is a Jewish tradition. Although the dessert recipes in this book are organized around each of the big Jewish holiday celebrations, they certainly can be used any time during the year by everyone, kosher or not. All the recipes are clearly marked as gluten-free, dairy- or nut-free, low in sugar or even vegan. Many recipes cater to the dietary restrictions associated with a specific holiday, but in no way do they compromise the decadence of the desserts.
Shoyer has lots of experience sharing her recipes with Jewish home bakers, touring North America after her first Jewish baking book, and she provides a lot of helpful hints. For example, many Jewish holidays involve fasting, with a big celebration scheduled immediately after, so she demonstrates the steps which can be done ahead and/or frozen.
Of course there are lots of the classic desserts you might expect in a Jewish baking book, some using Matzoh meal, and many varieties of babkas, challahs, latkes and rugelach, but there are many more recipes adopting a modern or more healthy approach! She even includes recipes for some French baking classics, including the delicious canelles, the beautiful, small caramelized domes of goodnessfrom Bordeaux.
Some of the Jewish holidays have a tradition of giving packages of sweets as gifts, so the book has a wide spectrum of holiday cookie and candy gift-giving ideas for any occasion.
You will want to fast just so you can indulge in the endless variety of Shoyer’s treats this holiday season!