Celebrate the new year sweetly with teiglach
Teiglach (also spelled taiglach, teglach, and tayglach) are an Ashkenazi Jewish sweet made for Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the New Year. The small pastries are boiled in a honey-based syrup, making them soft and sweet on the inside and crunchy on the outside. In my opinion, the best part of teiglach, is the last step. A few teiglach are rolled together in a mixture of chopped toasted nuts and dried fruit, then formed into a mound. I like the flavor of dried sour cherries and candied ginger together, so I included them in my nut mixture, but any fruit will do: Try dates or raisins, dried apricots or dried cranberries.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups all purpose flour, 1½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of kosher salt. Beat in 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Use your hands to form the mixture into a sticky dough, then turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough until it just comes together, then form the dough into a long log.
Cut the dough into 12 pieces, and roll each piece into a strip about 3 inches long, then pull each in half. Stretch those 24 strips out until they’ve doubled in length, then tie each into a knot (similar to garlic knots you may find in a pizza place), tucking the edges into the center as well.
Mix 2 cups honey with ½ cup granulated sugar, ⅓ cup water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and a 1-inch knob of peeled and grated fresh ginger in a large stock pot. Heat the mixture over low, whisking all the while to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.
Drop the prepared dough knots into the boiling honey syrup and then reduce the heat to a high simmer. Cook the teiglach for 40-50 minutes, giving the mixture a stir every 10 minutes. After every 15 minutes or so, add ⅓ cup water to the pot.
For a crunchier pastry, raw teiglach balls can be fried in hot canola or grapeseed oil until golden brown or baked at 375ºF for 25-30 minutes minutes, and then simply dunked in the honey syrup.
Teiglach are finished when the dough is a deep golden brown, so depending on the heat of your honey syrup, they may require up to an hour of boiling to finish cooking completely.
While the teiglach are cooking, fill a shallow bowl with ½ cup sesame seeds ⅓ cup chopped toasted almonds, ⅓ cup chopped toasted walnuts, ¼ cup diced candied ginger, and ¼ cup chopped dried cherries. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, then butter or grease the paper with cooking spray.
Fish the teiglach out of the pot with a slotted spoon and drop them a few at a time into the bowl with sesame seeds and almonds. Roll 3 teiglach at a time into the nuts and fruit mixture then place each mound onto the greased cookie sheet.
Use the leftover honey syrup in any place you’d use maple syrup: on pancakes or waffles, yogurt, or to sweeten drinks. It also makes a killer cocktail sweetener: try whisking it into a hot toddy, a bee’s knees, or an Old Fashioned.