Fig Challah


I’ve always identified the beginning of the year with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and I love the high-holiday season.  Summer is ending; fall is beginning, a natural time for reflection and transitions. Based on the Jewish lunar calendar rather than the Gregorian one, Rosh Hashana also marks another chance for family get-togethers with delicious food.

One of the traditional staples is challah bread. Rosh Hashana challah is even more special because it is in my favorite shape (a circle) and symbolizes the cyclical nature of the year, the inter-connectedness of life, and new beginnings.  It is usually made extra sweet by adding raisins or honey.

I’m not the biggest fan of raisin challah and was excited to try out a recipe that included a fig filling instead.  Not only are figs in season and naturally sweet, they are also full of symbolism for prosperity and abundance—good hopes for a new year.  While I still love this idea, I think this challah would have looked prettier had I followed the filling instructions more closely.   I used this recipe, and thought I was a genius for substituting fig jam mixed with orange juice in place of the homemade fig paste that was recommended. Turns out the consistencies did not match and I had fig filling all over. I actually made this challah twice and in both attempts, it didn’t quite work out how I had imagined. Despite a sugar-burnt first round and barely-braided second (pictured above), they were fun to make, taste sweet and chewy, and I still think the jam idea could work beautifully.  How good would challah filled with apricot or date jam be??

Since the link to the recipe I used is in this post, I am going to forego posting my alterations.  I do encourage experimenting with different flavors though and hope this coming year is full of inspiration and creativity!


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