OK, so sometimes creativity gets the best of us, but when I thought about creating this recipe I knew I wanted it to be a paste that was dark like mortar and incorporated some of the foods of Israel. Everyone loved it and I didn’t tell them what they were eating until after the Seder. Let’s keep it our little secret shall we?
1 ½ pounds small grape tomatoes
¼ plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
8 ounces whole almonds
¼ cup honey
Zest of ¼ medium orange
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (325F for convection oven).
2. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side up on a cookie sheet.
3. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of the sugar over the tomatoes and place in oven for 15 minutes.
4. Remove tomatoes from the oven and sprinkle them with another 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Return to the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are beginning to brown and sugar is caramelizing. Do not let the sugar burn.
5. Remove from oven when done and allow tomatoes to cool.
6. Meanwhile toast the whole almonds in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes until fragrant. Do not let almonds get too dark. Cool almonds and then finely ground in a nut mill or food processor using short pulses so that the nuts are ground fine without forming a butter. Place nuts in a 1 quart bowl and set aside.
7. Place tomato mixture in the processor work bowl and process until coarsely chopped. Add the honey, orange zest, and spices and the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Process to a smooth paste.
8. Add 1 ½ cup of the ground almonds to the tomato mixture and then pulse on and off until mixture is well blended. Transfer to a storage container and place in the refrigerator for 3 days.
9. When ready to serve, either serve in a dish with a spoon or shape into ¾ inch balls and roll in the remaining ground almonds. Serve cold.
• Roasting the tomatoes serves two purposes. One the flavor is enhanced by the caramelized sugar and juices and two, it helps the tomato dry out so that the mixture won’t be too thin and wet
• A Tablespoon of sugar and some cinnamon may be added to the remaining nuts for the coating.