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Cardamom Date and Rosewater Challah

Servings 2 large challot

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 packet yeast 1/4oz
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 3 Tb honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil + more for greasing bowl
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all purpose flour + more for kneading
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Date Mixture

  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp rose water
  • 1/2 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp honey

Topping

  • 1 egg + water for egg wash
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Rose petals
  • Chopped pistachios

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup warm water, yeast and sugar. Mix lightly with a fork to get all the yeast in the water and set aside for about 10 minutes. It should begin to foam up and you should see little bubbles.
  2. Next, add eggs, oil and honey and whisk together.
  3. Using a dough attachment on your mixer, gradually add flour and salt, about 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low. Continue to mix until everything is incorporated. The dough should begin to pull away from the bowl and come to 1 large ball of dough.
  4. Turn the dough onto a very well floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. You can use your finger to see if it's ready. Press your finger in and if the dough bounces back quickly, it's ready.
  5. In a large bowl, pour a bit of oil in and place your dough ball in the bowl. Turn it around so the entire dough is covered with a thin layer of oil. Cover with a clean towel and place bowl in a warm spot. (for me, it was my oven).
  6. Allow to rest and rise for 1 1/2hours until doubled in size.
  7. While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a medium sized pot, add together all of the mixture ingredients and place on medium heat. Cook until dates are softened and taste for seasoning adjustments. Turn off heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then transfer mixture to a food processor and puree until a thick paste forms. Set aside.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. When dough is ready, it should have doubled in size. Punch the dough down and knead a bit to soften. Divide dough into 2 balls, this will be your challahs. Cover 1 ball of dough as you work with the other.
  10. Divide dough into 3 pieces (or more if you're making another braid), these will be your braid strands. Take 1 of the strands and roll making a long snake, about 12-15 inches long, but it should be thick enough to stuff, about 1-2inches thick. Use a rolling pin to flatten the strand.
  11. Next use a teaspoon to fill the strand all the way down. You can also press the mixture gently in the dough, but don't overfill. Bring the strand together, pinching with your fingers and making sure no filling peeks out (but it's ok it some does). Once strands are sealed, gently roll the strands and begin braiding.
  12. Line 3 strands together and pinch at 1 end. Braid a 3-strand bread and pinch the bottom ends together.
  13. Place on baking sheet and cover challah with a towel. Allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
  14. When done, Brush challahs with egg wash and honey and sprinkle rose petals and pistachios on top.
  15. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until the challah is a light golden brown color.
  16. Allow to cool before cutting.