Dates Stuffed with Walnuts –

"Ajweh Helou"

Dates representing our hope that our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us be brought to an end.  We convey this hope for a new season with a pun relating Aramaic words  תם “tam” meaning “to end” andתמר  “tamar” meaning “date.”




  • 1 pound Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • ¼ cup sugar




Fill the hollow of each date with a walnut then roll in the sugar. 


Serve with vanilla ice cream (parve, as appropriate).


Note that some Jews have a custom to avoid nuts during the High Holidays.  Some Sephardim avoid honey during this time, using sugar instead for sweetness.


Candied Quince – "Sfarjal Helou"

Quinces —when candied—are an omen to be renewed for a good and sweet year.  While some Jews express this wish with apples dipped in honey (or sugar for those Sephardim who avoid honey during this holiday season), Sephardic Jews, including Moroccans celebrate with this fall produce, said by some to be the infamous fruit in the Garden of Eden.  Called “havushim,” in Hebrew, this food is inedible in its raw state but embodies the ethereal sweetness of apples and fragrance of almonds when candied in recipes such as this.  



  • 1.5 lb quinces, or about 3 quinces, washed and scrubbed very well (to get rid of any fuzz on the outside)
  • 1.5 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom powder  (optional)


  1. Halve the quince, without peeling, and remove the core and seeds.  Cut each quince into ½ inch slices.  Soak in a bowl of water for several hours before cooking in order to soften.  Make sure that the quinces are completely submerged, as this prevents discoloration.
  2. In an uncovered 6-qt saucepan, add sugar, water and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Then add cinnamon sticks and cardamom and bring to a boil.
  3. Add drained quince slices to pot and simmer for about 1 ½ hours or until you achieve the desired color and texture.  As the quince preserve simmers, it transforms from soft and golden to darker and more syrupy.  Simmer according to your taste.
  4. Transfer candied quince into warm sterilized jars and store in a dark place.

Serve the quince preserve with vanilla ice cream (parve, as appropriate).


See also:


Quince in Heavy Syrup –

"Moraba'e Be"


Adapted from Reyna Simnegar’s Persian Food from the Non- Persian Bride.


This jam-like concoction is absolutely divine! It is hard to believe the quince, which is a yellowish fruit, becomes burgundy in the cooking process.  In fact, while the jam cools off, the burgundy color deepens. Make sure to add a few of the seeds of the quince in the saucepan before cooking. The cooked seeds will deepen the rosy color even more! Interestingly, this is not the only use Persians have for these seeds. Beh dune (seeds of the quince) are also used by Persians to treat colds and coughs.  The seeds are removed from the fruit and set aside to air dry.  Then, mix 1 tablespoon of seeds in 1 cup of hot water and steep for a few minutes until the water gets very thick, like jelly.  This jam is delicious for breakfast along with cream cheese and bread.  The syrup from this recipe is also delicious mixed with water and ice!




  • 3 quinces, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices (do not peel)
  • 6 quince seeds
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (optional for garnish)


  1. In a 6-quart saucepan, bring the sliced quince, seeds, sugar, and water to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Add cardamom; reduce heat to medium.
  2. Simmer for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the quince has developed a light burgundy color and the sugar has become syrupy.
  3. Garnish with lime juice if desired.


Yield: 4 cups


Candied Pumpkin – "Dulse ke Kalavasa"


Adapted from Stella's Sephardic Table by Stella Cohen.


Gourds representing our hope that the evil of our verdicts be ripped, and that our merits be announced.  We express this supplication with a pun relating קרא “kora,” meaning gourd in Aramaic with קרע “kara” meaning “to rip apart” and קרא “kara,” meaning “to announce.”








  • 2 ¼ pounds pumpkin, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons of lime powder
  • 1 cup honey
  •  1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups golden syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted


  1. Cut the pumpkin into long, thin strips (½ x 2 inches).  Place in a dish with enough cold water to cover.  Add lime powder.  Allow to soak for 2 hours – firming up the pumpkin for preservation.  Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Prepare the syrup: In a large, heavy-based pan, bring the honey, sugar, golden syrup and water to a boil.  Add the pumpkin strips and allow to cook on medium heat for about 1 hour or until the syrup coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat and add the ginger and toasted almonds.  Allow to cool.
  3. Transfer candied pumpkin and syrup into warm sterilized jars and store in a dark place.

Serve with vanilla ice cream (parve, as appropriate).



Candied Spaghetti Squash –

"Helou Kusa Sha'riya"









8-10 servings


Ingredients for Shira (Aleppian Dessert Syrup)

3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon orange blossom water or rose water

1 cup water


Preparation of Shira

  1. Combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture boils.
  2. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until syrup coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Allow syrup to cool. Use or pour into a glass jar and refrigerate.


Ingredients for Helou

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (about 3.5 pounds)
  • 1 cup of Shira

Preparation of Helou

  1. Heat a pot of water large enough to hold the whole squash.  When the water is boiling, add the squash and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.  The squash is done when a fork pierces the flesh easily.
  2. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise
  3. Remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh, which should look like spaghetti.
  4. Add the Shira to the squash and mix well.  Transfer to a jar and let it cool at room temperature.  Good for about a year.


Serve with vanilla ice cream (parve, as appropriate).


See also: Poopa Dweck's Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews.


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