The pleasant smell of cinnamon is once again in the air at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island (JCMI). In the kitchen, Bubbie’s Bakery is keeping the ovens hot, baking for the more than 2,000 diners expected to attend the Jewish Deli Fest on January 24.
Bubbie’s Bakery is a group of talented ladies who are JCMI Sisterhood members. Coastal Breeze heard that they were busy using their baking skills and paid them a visit. We arrived at the JCMI kitchen to find the air filled with the sweet smell of strudel, and the ladies focused on their monumental task. Last year, Bubbie’s Bakery baked and served 3,200 pieces of pastry. This year, Natalie says that the group plans on baking “until the dough runs out.”
The ladies bake using their own cherished family recipes. That day, Estie Karpman shared a strudel recipe handed down from her own bubbie (Yiddish for grandma). She estimates that the recipe, from Russia, is around 130 years old. The recipes are from all over Europe, brought to the U.S. and faithfully made for generations. “Our bubbies would be proud of us,” says Estie.
The secret to perfect strudel? Get the dough as thin as possible. “It has to feel like a baby’s tushy,” Estie says with a smile. Another tip: use crushed graham crackers to stop the filling from oozing out of the pastry. Most importantly, the strudel (and each other dessert the ladies make) is “made with love.”
Even if the strudel doesn’t bring back fond memories for you, it’s guaranteed that one of the other hand-made baked treats will tempt you. Other baked goods that will be available include babka, rugelach, mandelbrot, coffee cake, cheesecake, lemon poppy seed bread, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
There are no preorders, so come early.
Joan Blau told us that for the past two years the first customer of the day has been a gentleman intent on purchasing the Key lime cheesecake. And last year an elderly man in a wheelchair came all the way from Estero for authentic Russian strudel. He told the ladies that he hadn’t had the delicacy since his mother had passed away many years ago. Natalie Klein tells us that guests will find baked goods that they simply “can’t get here” in Southwest Florida.
To enjoy some of the treats from Bubbie’s Bakery, come to the Jewish Deli Fest on Sunday, January 24, 2016 between11:30 AM and 3:30 PM. The event is open to the entire community, and Marco residents look forward to it all year long. Guests will enjoy a New York style deli sandwich of kosher style corned beef or pastrami, served with homemade coleslaw and chips. Homemade soups will be served, such as chicken soup with matzo balls or beef barley.
If you don’t leave room for dessert, Bubbie’s Bakery will pack your treats to go. For more information, call the JCMI at 239-642-0800 or visit their website at www.marcojcmi.com. The JCMI is located at 991 Winterberry Drive in Marco Island.
Bubbie’s Strudel Recipe
Courtesy of Estie Karpman. Yields: 48-50 pieces of strude
2 boxes white raisins
2 packages apricots or 24 oz. apricot preserves
2 cans crushed
1 box/bag coconut
2 jars (about 24 oz.) cherry (or strawberry) preserves
Zest and juice of either one lemon or one orange
1 lb. nuts, ground
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1½ cups hot water
1 cup oil
5 cups flour
Graham cracker crumbs
Sugar-cinnamon mixture (Ratio of 1 cup sugar to
1 Tbsp. cinnamon)
Oil (to brush on pastry)
Pam oil spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the dough, mix the first five dough ingredients, then add the flour. You may use a mixer. The dough will be soft. Let it stand for one hour in a covered bowl.
While you are waiting, mix all fruit filling ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside. Have your additional ingredients ready for use.
After an hour, roll out small pieces of the dough on lots of flour; you can also use a pastry cloth. Make the dough as thin as possible, and oblong in shape. Each piece should be about 15 inches long and 8-10 inches wide.
Brush the dough with oil. Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar (Ratio: 1 cup sugar to 1 Tbsp. cinnamon).
On one-half the area of the dough, sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and spread the fruit filling on top (about 1½ inch high). Take the end of the dough and roll it over, and then fold over both ends of the dough. Roll until you have made a log.
Spray a cookie sheet with Pam oil and cover it with parchment paper. Place the strudel log onto the cookie sheet and brush the tops of rolls with oil. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. With a sharp knife score the top of about every inch of the strudel, at an angle.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.