Italian Apple Rose Pastries | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Italian Apple Rose Pastries

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Italian Apple Rose Pastries

Laura Raccah and Joseph Matalon's family recipe for individual apple cakes that look like roses. Courtesy

From the purveyors behind the popular Italian cookies, "Mondo di Laura," a slice of Jewish Rome in NYC.

In the newest Eataly, the culinary marketplace of all things Italian, there’s a small slice of Jewish Rome.

Laura Raccah, a pastry chef, makes kosher artisanal cookies from fine ingredients, and sells them all over Italy – including train stations, from large glass containers --  and now in New York City. Last month, her husband Joseph Matalon was at Eataly, offering samples of several varieties of cookies make by “Mondo di Laura.”

Raccah was born in Rome; her parents are Jewish immigrants from Libya. As a child, she always enjoyed spending time with her grandmother in the kitchen, and began baking at a young age. She is inspired by the flavors of Libyan cooking, and now is passionate about flavors from different parts of the world. After culinary school in Italy, she also studied and worked in Tel Aviv, London and New York.

Her cookies come in four varieties including Pepita D’Or, gold coin, made from chocolate and Himalayan salt; Reggi di Sole, ray of sunshine, a biscuit with raisin, sesame and oatmeal and Giuly, a chocolate chip cookie from the recipe of her aunt Giuly. The cookies, made from quality ingredients, are free from milk and preservatives – and are certified kosher for the Orthodox Union.

“The cookies feel like homemade. For my wife, making cookies is an art, a form of creativity. It’s very joyful for us to make and sell cookies,” says Matalon, who helps his wife with marketing and design. He was born in Milan to Egyptian Jewish parents, and is a dealer of contemporary art. The cookies are available at Eataly and in the greenmarket at Union Square.

Raccah recalls that her grandmother would prepare holiday dishes many days in advance. “For each member of the family she used to make a different plate. You could feel by being with her the passion and enthusiasm in baking the dishes for the holiday as it was the best gift she could give us. She transmitted these feelings to me and I try to do my best to put the same energy in my business.”

They share a family recipe for individual apple cakes that look like roses. Try it out and if you happen to pass Eataly or the greenmarket, look out for Raccah's cookies. You won't regret it!

 

Servings & Times
Yield:
  • 6 servings
Active Time:
  • 30 min
Total Time:
  • 1 hr
Ingredients
  • 1 rectangular sheet of ready-to-use puff pastry
  • 2 Fuji or red apples
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • .35 ounce of butter
  • marmalade (optional)
Steps
  1. Wash the apples well, cut them into quarters and remove the core. Cut each quarter of apple into thin slices – using a knife or, even better, a mandolin, if you have one.
  2. Soften the slices of apple in a pan on low heat with butter and sugar for 5 minutes, or heat it all in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  3. Spread the pastry on the work surface and cut it into 6 long strips; in the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Spread a little marmalade on each strip of pastry, if you like.
  5. Align the apple slices about half the height of the strip of strip, making sure that the outer part (that with the skin) of each slice protrudes a little from the strip and that each slit overlaps about one centimeter to the nearest one: This will allow you to form rose petals.
  6. Fold the base of the pie strip so that it closes on the apple slices, then gently roll each strip of pie, trying to hold apples with your fingers as you roll.
  7. In this way you should have obtained a pile of rolls that, seen from above, really resembles a rose.
  8. Place the six pancakes and apples in as many muffin molds and cook them in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, taking care to cover them with aluminum foil if the apple slices are beginning to brown. They will appear like roses!