Ah, taiglach: that sticky sweet mountain of crunchy golden nuggets bound together with honey caramel sauce. My mother would always buy it from the bakery before Rosh Hashanna, and never make it herself (and my mother loves to bake).
It seems like the sort of thing you need to buy from a bakery, but it is surprisingly easy to make. Here is what you do: (1) mix up a very simple dough; (2) shape the dough into balls; (3) drop the dough balls into boiling honey syrup and simmer away until the dough balls have puffed up and turned golden and crunchy.
Okay, so it sounds complicated. But, I promise, it really isn’t.
The recipe I tried comes from Taste, the Yeshiva of Flatbush cookbook. It was submitted, I think, by Andrea Sultan, who got the recipe from her mother, Dubby Shulman. I adapted it a bit to suit my tastes, and the next time I make it, I think I will tweak it just a tiny bit more.
The bakery kind of taiglach I remember was composed of small crunchy nuggets glued together with honey caramel. The excess honey caramel pooled at the bottom of the tin, making a sauce that was so sweet and chewy and sticky as to be almost unmanageable to eat. The nuggets were attached so tightly together that half the fun of eating the taiglach was the challenge of pulling off a piece to eat.
The Taste cookbook recipe creates a very different kind of taiglach experience. Instead of resulting in small, glued-together nuggets, the recipe makes large coiled dumplings floating in a caramel sauce. The crunchy texture and flavor are similar to the bakery type, but this teiglach is much easier to serve and eat.
In case you were wondering, teiglach is the diminutive for teig, which means dough. So, I think the name literally translates to “little doughs,” which means that the focus of the name, oddly enough, is on the dough part and not the honey sauce.
Adapted from Taste, the Yeshiva of Flatbush cookbook.
Make a strong tea infusion (you will need this at the end for diluting the caramel sauce):
1 cup boiling water
3 tea bags
Set the tea aside while you make the rest of the recipe.
Mix the following in a mixer bowl to make a soft, sticky dough:
6 eggs, beaten well
1 1/2 tsp. oil
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
Set the dough aside while you make the honey syrup.
Bring to a boil in a large pot (the syrup will boil up, so don’t try to use a medium pot), stir, lower heat and let simmer:
2 cups honey
1 1/2 cups sugar
While the syrup simmers, shape the dough. For this, you will need a flour dusted surface, extra flour for coating sticky pieces of dough and a
1/2 cup of raisins.
On a flour dusted sheet of parchment or waxed paper put the ball of dough. Cut it into walnut sized pieces (you should get 3-4 dozen). The dough is sticky, so have flour handy for coating the balls of dough to make them easier to handle. Roll out each piece into a pencil thick rope. Take a couple of raisins and put them on the end of the rope and roll up the rope into a spiral like you would to make a round turban challah. The finished piece will look a bit like a beehive or a cinnamon bun. This size of dough ball will make dumplings the size of golf balls, so if you would like smaller nuggets, cut the dough into smaller pieces. I found that the size of dough ball called for in the recipe made larger dumplings that I was used to, and I might the dough into smaller pieces next time.
Place each finished ball of dough on the flour dusted sheet. When they are all shaped, bring syrup back to a boil and drop in the dumplings. When the mixture come back to a boil again, cover the pot and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes (I stirred a bit more frequently), until the dumplings are golden brown.
When the dumplings are done, add the tea and some dried ginger and take off the heat (you can also add in any extra raisins):
3/4 tsp. dried ginger (optional)
The full amount of tea will dilute the honey caramel and turn it into a caramel sauce. If you want a stickier or thicker sauce, add less tea. The taiglach my mother used to get from the bakery had a very sticky caramel gluing everything together, not a sauce. To get that kind of caramel, I think I would need to add much less tea. On the other hand, a thinner, less sticky caramel sauce makes the teiglach less messy to serve and eat. So, from that perspective, this recipe is an improvement over the bakery kind of taiglach.
Update: This tastes even better a couple of days later.
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