The holiday of Shavuot is a lot of things – it’s the giving of the Torah and the harvest, it’s the celebrations of the end of the counting of the Omer but, even before that, the sixth day of Sivan is the day of the celebration of cheese.
There is a variety of reasons for the fact that Shavuot has become the holiday of dairy products, but whatever the reasons are- salty or sweet, soft or hard, with or without dough, in any form – cheese is the Diva of Shavuot.
For this culinary holiday we decided to follow our taste buds. This year, the Jewish holiday of Shavuot fell at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. That kind of coincidence invites an attempt to find common ground, and what is more common than food?
We packed a bottle of water, some small change and a wide-brimmed hat and went out to find the neighborhood dairy products at the Old City market.
We arrived early in the morning, the alleys were empty and most of the stalls and shops were closed. After we walked a little with French pilgrims on the Via Dolorosa and made way for two black-haired children with side curls on their bicycles, and an elderly woman with a basket on her head and a bread cart, we arrived at some of the special bakeries of the Old City where we were offered all the goodies of the Halviat (حلويات) – the eastern sweets.
We followed the smells to the huge steel trays loaded with candy. We tasted baked dough stuffed with sweet cheese and coated with sugar water; semolina Kanafeh , Kanafeh from Kadaif noodles, Namura, Ketaif and many more.
Of course we could not end the tour without a bringing a holiday gift: recipes that will please your palate and your stomach!
In honor of Ramadan, we chose two special and delicious recipes, the Namura and the Kataif – Ramadan food with which Muslims break the fast after sunset.
A warm recommendation: Before you mess up your kitchen, go and experience the market and taste the selection of Kataif and Kanafeh that the bakeries of the Old City market have to offer –and leave the diet at home!
- 3 cups flour
- 3 cups warm milk
- 1 tablespoonful of sugar
- 1 large spoonful of yeast
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- Sweet cheese
- 1 tablespoon of rose water
- A handful of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Place the flour in a deep bowl and add all other dough ingredients.
Mix until the dough is uniform and liquid, and can be easily mixed, and place the dough for half an hour to rest and ferment. In the meantime, heat a Teflon pan.
When the pan is warm enough, pour four cups of dough into it. Put the dough on the flame until it becomes a uniform golden color and bubbles. Then, transfer the dough to a pan, cover it so that it does not dry and leave it to cool slightly.
When the dough is cold, cut circles from it, recommended with a glass, and fill each circle with a spoon of stuffing. Fold the circle and close with your fingers. The Kataif can be put in for heated for a short time in the oven or frying pan.
When the dumplings are warm, sprinkle them with sugar water and decorate with pieces of pistachios.
- 1 pack of filo dough
- 1 cup melted butter
- Sweet cheese
- Qatar (قطر) – sugar syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon rose water + 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
Prepare the syrup: Boil the syrup ingredients for about 10 minutes and let cool.
Grease a baking pan with melted butter and place on it a filo pastry leaf. Grease the pastry leaf with butter and place another leaf on it. Continue until the pattern has five layers of filo leaves.
Layer the filling-the sweet cheese – between each layer
Straighten the filling and add five more layers of filo leaves.
Cut into squares or triangles and place in oven for 200 degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove the hot Namura from the oven and pour the cold syrup over it.
Let it rest and then decorate with pistachios and serve.