Oct 07

Dessert in the sukkah

Tomorrow at sundown, Sukkot, the next holiday in the Jewish holiday cycle, begins. The holiday commemorates the 40 years that the Children of Israel traveled in the wilderness following the Exodus from Egypt, living in temporary shelters and miraculously surrounded and shielded by “clouds of glory.”

For seven days and nights, observant Jews throughout the world dwell in a sukkah, a temporary hut with a roof of branches or reeds. We eat our meals in the sukkah. And, if it’s not too cold in our corner of the world, many of us also sleep in the sukkah.

Interior of our sukkah a few years back

Interior of our sukkah a few years back

As with most Jewish holidays, Sukkot entails many preparations, from building and decorating a sukkah, to preparing many holidays meals. Those of us with children still at home generally leave the building and decorating to the younger generation, while we women cudgel our brains for new holidays recipes and old favorites to celebrate this very special holiday also known as the Season of Our Rejoicing.

This year, as usual with my culinary preparations, I’ve started with the dessert. I think I will make two of them so that I have leftovers for the Sabbath. I haven’t yet decided on dessert No. 2, though obviously it ought to contain chocolate—lots of it! Dessert No. 1, however, will be an old favorite: fruit crisp.

For readers who aren’t familiar with a fruit crisp, it is the American version of the British crumble. The major difference is that a crisp contains oats in the topping, whereas the crumble does not.

Crisps are a great way to use up over-ripe fruit in your refrigerator—or fruit that you’ve already peeled and sliced and tossed in your freezer. This year I purchased too many apples and pears before Rosh Hashanah, and I’ve had to slice and toss a lot of fruit in the freezer these past few weeks. Once I combine these fruit slices with brown sugar and heavenly cinnamon and top them with crispy oats and more brown sugar and cinnamon before popping them in the oven, no one will be the wiser. And if I can find room in my freezer before the stores close early tomorrow, I will purchase some vanilla ice cream to top it all off. Yum!

Fruit Crisp

One thing I love about this recipe is that the measurements don’t have to be exact. You can adjust the amount of ingredients according to taste and it will still taste delicious.

Fruit filling

4-1/2 cups thinly sliced, peeled fruit (I like to use apples, pears and/or peaches)
2 tbsp. brown sugar (more if needed for tart fruits)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon


(If using more fruit, increase the amounts in the ingredients)

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
1/4 cup oil (add more if needed)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Combine fruit, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Transfer mixture to an 8×8-inch pan lined with baking paper.

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Add oil and mix well until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of fruit mixture.

Bake in preheated 350º F (180 º C) for 45 minutes or until browned on top.