Photograph by Mark Hurvitz
Tu B’Shvat brings the opportunity, and the excuse, to create a chocolate bark using fruits and nuts connected to the land of Israel. Stay with the fruits of the traditional Sheva Minim, the Seven Species of fruits and grains mentioned as special to the land of Israel in the Bible, such as pomegranate, fig, date and raisin.
Or, celebrate any of the other fruit delights available in Israel today — papaya, mango, apple, peach, pear, citrus. Make your selection anticipating the colors decorating the bark. For this version, I used figs, dates, pistachios and slivered almonds, with a base of dark chocolate.
Chocolate Bark with Fruits of Israel
About 16 ounces quality dark chocolate (or milk, if preferred)
4 figs, roughly chopped
4 dates, roughly chopped
A handful of raisins and nuts
1) Oil a 7” x 9” baking pan with a rim and then line it with waxed paper so the paper extends about an inch at two ends.
2) In a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stir the chocolate until melted.
3) Remove the chocolate from the heat and smooth it into the pan to the thickness desired for your bark. Decorate the bark with your mix of dried fruit and nut toppings. Cool on the baking sheet until hardened. (Place into the refrigerator to quicken the hardening.) Break or cut into slabs and store in a cool place in a covered container.
Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz lectures about chocolate and Jews around the world. Her book, “On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao”, was published in 2013 by Jewish Lights and is in its second printing. The book is used in adult study, classroom settings, book clubs and chocolate tastings. Prinz writes for The Huffington Post, On the Chocolate Trail, Reform Judaism, Jew and the Carrot and elsewhere.
Free download: Lesson plans for use in schools on chocolate related topics such as Sephardi North American Colonial traders, Hanukkah, Passover, Jewish history, blessings and more.