Happy Apples for a Sweet New Year


Apples have long had a hallowed place in Jewish tradition, most festively during Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) when people dip them in honey to symbolize the sweet year they hope is ahead. In Israel and Jewish homes around the world, apples are an inseparable part of this holiday which begins later this week. Likewise, apple cakes have added appeal at this time of year for Israelis and Jews everywhere.

More than most other fruit, apples have a particular significance in Judaism dating back to ancient times. Some scholars describe them as a symbol of the Jewish home and Jewish spirit, and associate them with optimism and hope for a brighter future.

Not surprisingly, apples are a favorite of many Israelis. Our good friend Gila Merkur, a gifted musician who grew up in Israel and spends much of her time in Tel Aviv, loves making apple flan, especially for Rosh Hashanah, and has sent us her recipe.

Gila  Gila Merkur

“For me, apple cake is part of this time of year,” says Gila, who has also spent part of her adult life in Toronto. “Growing up in Tel Aviv, I used to go the market with my mother to buy fish, fruit and vegetables for Rosh Hashanah and also apples for the wonderful apple cake she prepared for our family dinner on Rosh Hashanah.”


In sharing this recipe with Galya Loves Food, Gila is dedicating it to her mother, Melita.

“She’s such a special woman,” says Gila. “She’s fun, loving, generous and hardworking, although now at age 86 she has slowed down significantly. Her love to her family and friends and her immense kindness to everyone she meets are as strong as ever. She’s my role model and the source of so much inspiration in my life.”

In honor of her mother, Gila recommends the following recipe for Apple Flan that she says is perfect for Rosh Hashana and which we’re glad to include here with our best wishes of Shana Tova u’Metuka (Happy and Sweet New Year) to everyone, Jewish and non-Jewish.

Apple Flan

Apple Flan


170 grams butter

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup ground or chopped almonds

1 egg yolk

Lemon rind from 1 lemon

Mix all ingredients and put into a round tart pan (18 inch)

Make sure to spread the batter evenly all over the pan including up to the sides of the pan.

Take 4 large apples, grate them and squeeze out the juice

Mix the grated apples with:

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp flour

Spread the grated apple mixture evenly on the batter


6 large apples quartered and then sliced into medium size slices (not too thick)

Mix the apple slices with:

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)

3 Tbsp flour

a few drops of lemon juice

Place the apple slices in the pan like a fan from the edges of the fan in a circle to the centre of the pan

Then bake the cake 350F for 25-30 minutes or longer if needed until the apples brown and the crust is ready.

Remove the flan from the oven and while it’s still hot pour the glaze over the flan and let it cool to room temperature.


Heat apricot jam in microwave to get a liquid form

Then brush the apples with the apricot jam.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah Agnew says:

    Hi Galya and Robert – Shana Tova u’Metuka! And congratulations on the blog. What a good idea!

    I made this tart for our dinner last night. It was SO delicious – the most harsh apple tart critics around the table were knocked out by how good it was. I’m eating the last piece for breakfast.

    I made a half recipe as I only have a 9” tart pan. It worked perfectly. And I made one substitute to the ingredients. You might know that Stephen (Zeifman) and I moved to Newfoundland a couple of years ago. We live up near Bonavista, right on the coast. To add a Newfoundland touch to the dinner, I used crabapple and rosehip jelly that I made last autumn for the glaze.

    All the best and thanks for this wonderful blog –

    Sarah >


    1. Thanks Sarah for your kind words.

      Shana Tova u’Metuka to you, Stephen and the rest of your family.

      Glad you liked the recipe our good friend Gila Merkur provided for our blog and that it proved a success at your dinner last night.

      We’ll be sure to mention that to Gila.

      Hope all’s good way out east. Give my best to Stephen.

      Warm regards,


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