Tu Bishvat is the Jewish holiday that marks the New Year for Trees. It is a great opportunity to express respect for trees and for all growing things and to show our gratitude to all of nature’s benefits. Tu Bishvat is a day to plant trees and to enjoy the fruits of the land. Eating dried fruits is a very popular custom on Tu Bishvat. Growing up in Israel, every Tu Bishvat I would go with my friends to plant trees. In school, each of us was assigned to bring a specific fruit (usually dried fruit) and together we would have a Tu Bishvat fruit feast.
It was a while ago when I saw the very popular, the very talented, the very sweet and very smiley 🙂 Israeli pastry chef – Mickey Shemo making a cake with different types of dried fruit (a sweet chef who makes sweet creations – makes total sense to me). Of course I immediately thought this could be a great Tu Bishvat dessert and shortly after that this cake (with just couple of modifications) became a sweet tradition in our home.
You will need:
1½ stick Butter (170 gr.)
1¼ cup Sugar
2½ cups Flour
1 tbsp. Baking Powder
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 cup Dried Fruits chopped
½ cup Walnuts chopped
½ cup Brandy
* Oil Spray (to coat the cake pan)
* Powdered Sugar (for serving)
Let’s do this!
Start with the dried fruits. This time I chose dates, apricots, mango, pineapple and raisins. Of course you may choose any dried fruits you prefer.
Chop them finely – about ¼ inch cubes. Add ½ cup of brandy on top of the fruits and mix lightly.
Set aside and allow the dried fruits to soak in the brandy for at least an hour.
Meanwhile let’s chop the walnuts.
Chop roughly and set them aside.
For this cake I like to use a food processor to get the job done quickly.
Start with soft butter cut into cubes and place it first in the food processor. Pulse for a few seconds and then add sugar gradually.
Continue processing until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time. Pulse after adding each egg to a unified mixture.
Sift flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Gradually add alternating with the ricotta cheese.
I add the flour in three batches, pulsing shortly after each time. Do not over blend the batter – pulse just to get the batter unified.
Lastly, add the walnuts and the brandy soaked dried fruits. Blend to spread equally into the batter.
Generously spray a cake pan with some oil. I highlight “generously” because one time when I didn’t, the cake got stuck and I had a hard time getting it out without breaking it a little…or a lot… [Check it out on Afooda’s OOPS Moments!] I use a round Bundt pan, but you can use any shape you like.
Pour the batter into the cake pan. The batter is thick, so use a spatula to level it evenly.
Bake in a 330°F preheated oven for about an hour. Allow the cake to cool outside the oven for about 30 minutes before you try to get it out of the pan. To release the cake, use a knife to gently loosen the sides a bit. Place a plate on top and flip the cake over once. To have the top facing up we need one more flip. Now, place a serving plate on top of the cake and flip over so the top of the cake once again will be facing up. That’s it!
Sift some powdered sugar on top…
Allow the cake to set and cool completely before cutting a piece. Enjoy!
Dried Fruit-Walnut Cake-
Finely chop Dried Fruit (¼ inch cubes).
Add ½ cup Brandy and mix well.
Allow the Dried Fruit to soak up the Brandy for an hour.
Chop Walnuts and set aside.
In a food processor pulse the Butter.
Add the Sugar gradually and process until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the Eggs one at a time and pulse to a unified mixture.
Sift Flour and Baking powder in a separate bowl.
Gradually add sifted Flour and Baking Powder to the mixture.
Add Ricotta Cheese (alternate with the flour).
Add the chop Walnuts and the soaked Dried Fruit.
Mix to spread equally.
Generously spray a cake pan with some oil.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and level the surface evenly.
Bake in a 330°F preheated oven for about an hour.
Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes before serving.
Sift Powdered Sugar on top and serve…