Tu B’shvat Recipes – Candied Lemon slices, Almond Cookies, Poached Pears in Wine Sauce

We had an amazing Tu B’Shvat Seder – with over 25 fruits and nuts and a few baked delicacies.  First of all – for those people who are Sephardi – you already know about pickling watermelon and lemons – but you can candy a whole lemon – with nothing leftover but the seeds.  See recipe below.  That turned out delicious.  We also poached some pears in wine sauce – yum.  And we made a delicious barley side dish (that went with our meatballs in a dried berry chutney sauce.

Candied Lemon
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Bring a pot of water to boil.  While the water is starting to boil slice the lemon into as thin slices as you can – you should come out with around 15.  If you have a madoline you can use that, or a sharp knife will let you cut them.  Discard any seeds or parts of seeds that you find.  After you slice the lemon and the water is at a rolling boil – drop the slices in the boiling water for approximately 2 minutes of rolling boil – if the water stops boiling when you drop the lemon slices in, you will have to wait until it boils again to start your timer. After 2 minutes, strain the lemon slices.

In a saute pan boil the water and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved (you can swirl the pan to agitate the sugar.  After the sugar is dissolved put the lemon slices in a single layer (be careful – the sugar is hot, you can use tongs, or if you are careful, you can use your fingers).  Then lower the heat to low (or medium low).  You are looking for the sugar water mixture to simmer (not boil) if your flame is too hot, the sugar may caramelize or burn.  If so, swirl your liquid around and lower the heat.  Simmer until the lemon slices are translucent.  This  might take an hour to an hour and a half.  Transfer to baking paper (either on a rack or on a baking sheet).  You must wait until the slices are cool and dry before putting them away (or they will stick to one another and then they are *very* hard to get a part).  This recipe was Adapted from Martha Stewart.com.

Almond Cookies
  • 8 ounces almond paste
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. My almond paste ended up being hard – so I threw it in a pan with a cup of water and boiled the water until it softened the almond paste and evaporated most of the water.  (If your paste is soft, then skip this step – and you will have a firmer batter and it might take about 5 more minutes to cook).  Combine the paste and sugar.  Add the egg whites and the cayenne.  I then found my mixture to be a little liquidy – so I added a half cup of flour (if your paste is not hard, you do not need to add flour).  Take a tablespoon of batter and drop onto prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, until browned around the edges.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Poached Pears in Wine Sauce
  • 4-6 Cored and Sliced Pears (optional: you can peel the pears)
  • 1 1/2 cups of red wine (a dry red)
  • 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice (can also add lemon zest if desired)
  • 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon

I did not peel the pears because we used this recipe for Tu B’Shvat (the New Year for the trees) and pears are one of the fruits that you can eat the whole thing – the peel and the flesh so I purposely left the peel on.  However, for a normal dessert – I think it’s expected that the pear be peeled.

Combine all ingredients, except pears, and bring to a boil. Once the wine mixture is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer and add the pears. Simmer pears for 10-12 minutes and then turn pears and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes – until they are tender and are easily poked through with a fork. Remove pears and let them cool. Boil wine sauce until the liquid has been reduced to the consistency you would like your sauce. Pour sauce over the pears and serve by itself or with some whipped cream.

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