I'd never actually eaten Tsimis before this week, but I had read enough about the sweet glazed carrot recipe to know that I'd probably rather eat carrots, honey, and raisins on their own. For a traditional dish, Tsimis doesn't have the best reputation—most references to the dish include the words "mushy" or "cloying." Noah and Rae Bernamoff, however, employ some tricks in their recipe in The Mile End Cookbook to update the dish. They first roast the carrots to develop complexity and cook them almost all the way through in dry heat. Next, the carrots are tossed in a honey-thyme mixture with a mix of dried fruit and ginger. Finally, a huge handful of toasted sunflower seeds are tossed in for contrasting texture and slightly bitter, nutty bursts of flavor.
Why I picked this recipe: Tsimis is about as traditional of a High Holiday dish as you can get.
What worked: Roasting the carrots indeed helped to temper the sweetness of the honey, and the sunflower seeds added welcome crunch.
What didn't: I found the roasting time a bit off: The carrots needed less time in the oven (30 minutes was plenty).
Suggested Tweaks: It'd be easy to substitute other dried fruits or nuts into the mixture, and swapping out some of the carrots for parsnips or another root vegetable could make for nice contrast.
Reprinted with permission from The Mile End Cookbook by Noah and Rae Bernamoff. Copyright 2012. Published by Clarkston Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
Mile End's Tsimis
- 2 pounds carrots (about 6 large carrots), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 cup honey
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 cup quartered pitted prunes
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a roasting pan, toss the carrots with the oil, salt, and pepper. Cook in the oven, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are lightly browned and somewhat tender, 40 to 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the honey, juice from 1 1/2 lemons (reserve the remaining lemon half), thyme, and 1/3 cup water in a large pan or skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook the mixture over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, then remove and discard the thyme.
When the carrots are done cooking, pour the carrots, prunes, and raisins into the pan with the honey mixture and stir to coat completely.
Add the ginger and cinnamon, and simmer the carrot-honey mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid has reduced to a thick glaze, 10 to 15 minutes. Then add the sunflower seeds and juice from remaining 1/2 lemon and remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the chopped parsley.