2016-09-28 / Columns

A break-the-fast with just a bit of bling


Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. JTA photo by Shannon Sarna. Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. JTA photo by Shannon Sarna. For many families, the Yom Kippur break-the-fast is a bagels and schmear-filled inevitability—just add some lox, maybe some slices of tomato and orange juice, and everyone is happy.

For other families, the break-the-fast is one of the most important meals of the year— almost sacred. Expectations can run high with such a special meal, and I know many people who anticipate the same dishes year after year after year.

But what if you want to serve something a little more than just bagels, or veer a little off course from your usual blintz soufflé? These three newish dishes are just different enough to be exciting, yet they are similar enough to satisfy your family’s biggest critic.

Simple banana bread is hard to improve upon, but when you add chocolate chips and moist (and healthy) canned pumpkin, you have a crowd-pleasing quick bread you can bake one or two days ahead of time.

Spinach, Herb and Feta Quiche. JTA photo by Shannon Sarna. Spinach, Herb and Feta Quiche. JTA photo by Shannon Sarna. Quiche is one of the easiest make-ahead comfort foods, and this version is brightened with fresh herbs, feta cheese and lemon zest.

Fresh fruit is also standard at break-the-fast meals. But by adding some cinnamon and candied walnuts to autumn fruit, you can take something simple and traditional and make it extraordinary.



This quick bread is so moist you don’t need anything to go with it. (Still, that shouldn’t stop you from serving it with some good quality Irish butter, if you’d like.) It’s a delicious sweet treat that’s perfect for ending a fast, celebrating the season and kicking off a sweet new year.

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ripe bananas, mashed well
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not
pumpkin pie filling)
1 3/4 cups unbleached
all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
chips, plus extra
Sanding sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a large loaf pan and then coat inside with around 1 TBS. sugar, tapping out an excess (this is instead of flour).

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Add mashed banana and pumpkin puree.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 2 or 3 batches. Fold in chocolate chips using a spatula.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Add a handful of additional chocolate chips on top and sanding sugar if desired.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.

Allow to cool 10 minutes, then gently remove from pan.



Quiche is the perfect make-ahead dish. It can keep in the fridge for two to three days, and then be reheated in the oven at 300°F for 20 to 30 minutes. It can also be served at room temperature. While homemade crust is flaky and delicious, you can also use a store-bought crust in this recipe.

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups unbleached
all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
6 oz. butter (1 1/2 sticks),
chilled and cut into cubes
4 TBS. vegetable shortening,
Scant 1/2 cup ice water
For the filling:
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream or
half and half
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach,
thawed and excess liquid
squeezed out
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
a few sprigs of fresh oregano,
leaves removed and chopped
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

To make the dough: In a food processor fitted with a blade, add all crust ingredients except for water. Pulse a few times to mix. Begin adding water just until a ball of dough begins to form. Do not over-pulse.

Remove dough and work on a lightly floured surface until you can shape the dough into a flat disk.

Wrap in plastic and place in fridge for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll out crust on a lightly floured surface until 1/4-inch thick. Carefully roll the crust onto your rolling pin and lay on top of springform pan. Gently push the crust into the pan using tips of fingers and thumbs. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork all over. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Whisk together eggs, cream or half and half, feta, salt and pepper.

Add spinach and herbs to egg mixture. Pour into prepared quiche crust, taking care to try and evenly distribute the cheese and veggies.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


If apples and pears aren’t your fruit of choice, you can add these flavors to any fruit you like: Pineapple, berries, grapes, etc. To sweeten the salad even further, you can add a tablespoon of honey or, for a more sophisticated Middle Eastern twist, add a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses.

3 apples, diced
3 pears, diced
3/4 cup candied walnuts,
roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 TBS. orange zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Whisk together cinnamon, orange zest and lemon juice. Add apples, pears and walnuts to bowl and toss. Place in fridge until ready to serve, up to three hours. 

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