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27 recipes to celebrate Rosh Hashana

Smoked fish salad with honey and dill
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, begins Sunday at sundown and extends until Tuesday at sundown. If you’re planning your menus, we’ve gathered 27 of our favorite recipes.

Food writer and cookbook author Phyllis Glazer shares the symbolism that sweet flavorings, such as honey, play in the meal: “On Rosh Hashana, it’s not enough just to wish our brethren a ‘Happy New Year’ — tradition holds that we wish them a sweet year as well.” The sweet flavorings find their way into desserts, such as a honey cake recipe, as well as savory dishes, such as rotisserie chicken served over a bed of brown rice and grapes.

Food writers Faye and Yakir Levy have shared colorful dishes incorporating fruits and vegetables: “We like the Sephardi custom of starting the meal with a mini-Seder, a ritual derived from the Talmud. Guests sample small portions of certain vegetables and fruits, and say a blessing with each one.”

They also explore the symbolism behind having fish, such as salmon or tilapia, on the table, which are supposed to be a blessing for the coming year. “When the fish is served, observant Jews recite a prayer expressing the wish ‘that we be fruitful and multiply like fish,’” said the Levys.

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And former Times staff writer Mary MacVean explores Tunisian Rosh Hashana traditions, sharing recipes for dishes such as a beautiful spiral-shaped challah studded with bits of apple, and a rich beef and sausage stew flavored with notes of mint, garlic and cinnamon.

Some of the recipes, such as the hazelnut honey squares below, are sure to become regular favorites. Click on the photo gallery for links to more recipes.

HAZELNUT HONEY SQUARES

Print recipe >>

Total time: 1 1/2 hours | Serves 9 to 12

2 1/4 cups flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

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3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash ground cloves

3 eggs

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3/4 cup sugar

1 cup honey

3/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

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1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan, line it with parchment paper or wax paper and grease the paper.

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2. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves.

3. Beat the eggs lightly in a mixer bowl. Add the sugar and honey and beat until the mixture is smooth and lightened in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the oil and beat until blended. Add the lemon and orange zests and beat briefly. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture alternately with the applesauce, each in 3 portions. Add the nuts and beat just until blended.

4. Pour the batter into a pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and carefully peel off the paper. Cover tightly when completely cool. Serve at room temperature. Cut in squares or bars.

Each of 12 servings: 412 calories; 176 mg sodium; 52 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 58 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 1.64 grams fiber.

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