History and Fun Facts:
Imberlach is a traditional sweet treat of Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. Its origins trace back to Eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Russia, where it was commonly made during festive occasions and religious holidays. The name "imberlach" is derived from the Yiddish word "emberlekh," which means "coral-like." This name is fitting as the finished candy has a reddish color and a unique, coral-like texture.
Imberlach is typically made using simple ingredients that were readily available in Jewish households. The combination of matzoth flour, ginger, eggs, honey, and sugar creates a delightful blend of flavors and textures.
- 2 cups of matzoth flour
- 1/4 pound of powdered ginger
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 pound of honey
- 3/4 pound of sugar
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the matzoth flour and powdered ginger.
2. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs, and then add them to the dry mixture. Stir until the dough comes together. Set the dough aside and allow it to dry for a little while, around 30 minutes.
3. In a saucepan, combine the honey and sugar. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir continuously until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture takes on a reddish color. This process may take around 10-15 minutes.
4. Once the honey and sugar mixture has reached the desired color, remove the saucepan from heat.
5. Gradually add the ginger and matzoth dough mixture to the honey and sugar mixture in the saucepan. Stir well to combine everything.
6. Return the saucepan to low heat and continue stirring the mixture constantly. Cook until it thickens and develops a deeper reddish color. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes.
7. Once the mixture has thickened and turned reddish, transfer it onto a heat-resistant surface, like a wooden board, to cool.
8. Allow the mixture to cool until it is no longer hot to the touch but still warm and pliable. Then, using a rolling pin, roll out the mixture to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
9. Cut the rolled out mixture into two-inch lengths, using a sharp knife or a cookie cutter.
10. Allow the imberlach to cool completely and harden before serving. They will develop a coral-like texture as they cool.
Enjoy your homemade imberlach!
Imberlach is often compared to several other traditional Jewish candies due to its similar ingredients and cooking process. Here are a few examples:
1. Teiglach: Teiglach is another sweet treat made from honey and flour. However, teiglach is shaped into small knots or balls rather than cut into lengths like imberlach. Teiglach is often served with nuts and dried fruits.
2. Halva: Halva is a confection made from ground sesame seeds and a sweet syrup. It has a dense and fudgy texture and can be flavored with various ingredients such as chocolate or nuts.
3. Lokshen Kugel: Lokshen kugel is a traditional Jewish noodle pudding typically sweetened with sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes raisins. It is baked and served as a side dish or a dessert.
These candies and desserts share common ingredients and cultural origins, making them all delicious options to explore within Jewish cuisine.