When you grow up in an Ashkenazi home with strong Lithuanian roots, tzimmes is the bread and butter of “yontif” food. In my house, we had our traditional tzimmes, which consisted of lots of sweet carrots on the outside and a large lump of kneidel on the inside. My husband and his family love this dish, but personally, I started getting a little tired of it, especially when Rosh Hashana seems to come so quickly after Pesach. So I few years ago I decided to get crazy with tzimmes, and come up with my own version.
In this case, “getting crazy” stayed very firmly in the Ashkenazi Lithuanian ingredient wheelhouse, but everyone was happy with the result. I wanted to moderate the sweetness, so I added a potato base, and put the sweet carrots on top, which in effect turned this into a kind of tzimmes pie. This is what I serve every Rosh Hashana now.
As with so many of these traditional recipes, the amounts are approximate, and you can really adjust them to suit your tastes and quantities very easily.
ROSH HASHANA TZIMMES PIE
2-3 large potatoes peeled and grated (medium-size grater) – you will need about 3-4 cups grated potato.
1 small onion finely grated
1 large beaten egg (2 if they’re small)
¼ cup flour
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oil
About 750g (1.5 lbs) carrots peeled and evenly sliced
3 tablespoons flour
About ¼-½ cup honey or silan – date honey (I don’t measure this one. Add more if you prefer it sweeter and less if you don’t – it will taste good no matter what.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger powder
2 tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper
How to do it
1. Place the grated raw potatoes in a metal strainer, sprinkle with salt, and allow to sit for about half an hour so the liquid can drain out. Squeeze the potatoes well to get as much liquid out as possible. (You can also gather the potato up in a large piece of cheese cloth, and squeeze the water out that way.)
2. Pre-heat oven to 200°C (400°F)
3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the potatoes with the onion, egg, flour, salt and pepper.
4. Grease a medium-sized oven-proof or Pyrex dish, and flatten the potato mixture onto the bottom of the dish evenly (it should be at least 1cm thick).
5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the potato starts to brown. Then brush the surface of the crust with the oil and return to the oven for another 5 minutes (no not allow to get too dark but make sure the potato is cook through).
6. Meanwhile…cook the carrots in a large pot of water until soft. Drain the carrots and return to the pot.
7. In a small dish, mix the flour with a little water to make a runny,smooth mixture, and add it to the carrots and mix. Add the honey/silan, cinnamon, ginger, oil, salt and pepper and mix together.
8. When the potato crust is baked, turn the oven down to 190°C (375°F). Spread the carrots onto the crust and return to the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the carrots start getting slightly dark.
Serves about 10 as a side dish