Use your Rosh Hashanah leftovers for an apple tahini crumble

Photo by Shannon Sarna editor of The Nosher, and her new cookbook "Modern Jewish Comfort Food."

By Shannon Sarna

(JTA) – When the Jewish New Year comes around, it’s common to find apple cake or honey cake on many Ashkenazi tables, since both honey and apple are common ingredients for Rosh Hashanah dishes.

But neither of these desserts really excites me. Fruit crumbles are my go-to dessert all year long for a few reasons: they are easy, they come together quickly, and I almost always have some overripe fruit sitting in my fridge or freezer that will be perfectly transformed into this comforting dessert.

Apples are a traditional ingredient enjoyed for the Jewish New Year by Eastern European Jews. But since the Jewish New Year can often occur at the end of summer, this could be made with peaches, plums, berries, or any combination of fruit that you love. Tahini and Yemenite hawaij coffee spice blend will add a little extra something special if you are inclined.

This recipe is excerpted with permission from Modern Jewish Comfort Food by Shannon Sarna, 2022 by Countryman Press.


  • cooking spray for baking dish

For the fruit layer:

  • 7 or 8 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into approximately 1-inch pieces (around 6 cups of chopped apples)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or Hawaij Coffee Spice Blend (recipe follows)
  • juice of ½ lemon

For the crumble topping:

  • 1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup tahini

For the Hawaij Coffee Spice Blend: (makes 1/4 cup)

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves

For serving (optional):

  • vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream
  • crumbled halva pieces


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  • Make the fruit layer: Combine the apples, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  • Make the crumble: In a separate bowl, combine all the crumble ingredients, using a wooden spoon, until evenly mixed but there are still clumps.
  • Pour the apple mixture in an even layer into the prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly on top of the apples until they are almost entirely covered.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes, until the apple mixture is bubbling and the crumble is golden brown. If the crumbs seem to be getting too dark, you can cover the dish with foil.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream and an extra sprinkle of halva, if desired.
  • For the Hawaij coffee spice blend, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.

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