Thursday, September 13, 2018

Recipe: Pumpkin-Pomegranate Muffins (Gluten Free)

I attempted to be crafty. It kind of worked.
Although Rosh HaShanah is now behind us, I figure it's never too late to share a delicious recipe featuring two of the simanim or symbols for the holiday that we say a special yehi ratzon over. The origin for this practice comes from the Talmud Masechet Kritut (6a)!
"Abaye said: ‘Now that you have said that an omen is a significant thing, [a person] should always be accustomedto seeing / to eating at the beginning of the year (on Rosh HaShanah) a gourd, green beans, leek, beets and dates'." 
And thus, the Rosh HaShanah "seder." The yehi ratzon prayers translate as "“May it be your will, HaShem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers…” followed by each of the different simanim that we eat during Rosh HaShanah, which include:

  • Apples dipped in honey, that we be renewed for a good and sweet new year
  • Leeks, that our enemies be decimated
  • Carrots, that our merits increase
  • Beets, that our adversaries be removed
  • Dates, that our enemies be consumed
  • Gourd (pumpkin), that the decree of our sentance be torn up and may our merits be proclaimed before you
  • Pomegranate (seeds), that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate
  • Fish, that we be fruitful and multiply like fish
  • Fish head, that we be as the head and not as the tail.
So, this year, wanting to be as streamlined as possible because we try to work the simanim into our meal rather than having an actual "seder" or ceremony like many do (think: the Passover seder, but shorter and tastier), I decided to combine things! 

Our dinner for the first day of Rosh HaShanah included:
  • Pumpkin-Pomegranate Muffins
  • Apples and honey
  • Tzimmes with sweet potatoes, carrots, and dates
  • Roasted beets
  • Salmon loaf
  • Gummy fish "heads"
  • Split pea soup (the leeks were in here)
  • Round sourdough loaf
Second night looked like this:
  • New fruit
  • Apples and honey
  • Pumpkin-Pomegranate Muffins
  • Tzimmes
  • Gummy fish "heads"
  • Split pea soup (leeks)
  • Fish pie (featuring the carrots and the fish)
And now for the recipe! It's gluten free, and the pumpkin made these so incredibly moist I can't even begin to describe to you how light and flavorful they were. I even gave one to a neighbor who raved about the fact that, come on, "They don't even taste gluten free!"

This recipe makes about 15 muffins, which, I know, is weird. Basically I made a dozen regular-sized muffins + two large muffins, but just know that you can double this to make 30 regular-sized muffins or just use the recipe as is for roughly 15. 

  • 1.5 cups Cup4Cup-brand gluten-free flour
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1.25 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 can (7.5 ounces) pure canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup frozen pomegranate seeds 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare your muffin pan. I prefer silicone because it doesn't require greasing and these muffins slide out with ease.
  2. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 
  3. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and orange juice in large stand mixer and beat until just blended. 
  4. Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until just moistened. 
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Note: You'll have some extra, so save it for a second round or fill larger muffin tins for a few extra. 
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Note: It took me a few additional minutes, but I'm at elevation, so just be conscious and set your timer for 25 minutes and keep checking back in. 
I wouldn't keep these on the counter for too long, but they are DELICIOUS straight out of the fridge. They also freeze really well. As a variation, you could bake this in a loaf pan for a great pumpkin-pomegranate bread, too. 

Do you do the traditional Rosh HaShanah "seder"? Or do you work the simanim into your meal? How do you combine the different foods to streamline your meal?