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  • Stella Hanan Cohen

Date and walnut cake with caramel

The Sephardim of Rhodes greet the New Year with sweet tasting food, auguring in a joyful year. The Rosh Hashanah festive table is laden with an abundance of symbolic food prepared for the ancient tradition of reciting our customary blessings, “Yehi Ratsones”.

Sweet, plump dates representing the hope of protection are one of the foods that are offered. They appear at my table as a delicious filling in shortbread, “menenas”, or stuffed with marzipan wrapped in filo, “fila di datli kon almendra”, as a show stopping dessert.

I like to serve my mother’s moist, luscious date and walnut cake, which makes an irresistible finale at the festive dinner. For extra decadence it is topped with a warm caramel sauce, and served with tahini ice cream or simply dollops of freshly whipped cream.

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