How does Wimbledon Synagogue do hospitality? This Saturday was a “Welcome Shabbat”, a Shabbat for all our members, but especially in honour of those newer to the community.
The date was chosen specially because in this week’s parashah we hear the first story of hospitality in the Torah. Abraham welcomes three strangers to his tent. What meal does he prepare them on a typical hot day? He asks Sarah to “make ready three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes”; he chooses a calf and asks his servant to prepare it, and serves the meal – including butter and milk – to the strangers. Having been warmly welcomed, one of the guests tells the elderly Sarah the unlikely news that she will have a son – Sarah’s response is to laugh.
Here in South West London, on a grey October day, we enjoyed a warm and inclusive service, followed by one of Lynne’s typically delicious cake Kiddushim. Sapir made some beautiful rugelach (recipe to follow). And Eleri, true to form, came up with a unique Abraham’s Tent Confection: iced gingerbread carpets layered on top of shortbread sand, with a roof of fruit leather. There were gasps of delight at the unlikely sight, but not for long…eating a tent, carpets and the sand on which it stands is a serious business.
What can we challenge Eleri to make us next? Suggestions in the comments box below, please. (Click here to see her other creations).
Abraham’s Tent – a Welcome Confection
by Eleri Larkum
It is without doubt the most bonkers commission to date – a tent, open on four, sides out of cake!
Hmmm – I’ll remember to screen Judith’s calls next time.
Anyhow – here it is, in biscuit, not cake. Shortbread for the sand floor of the tent – some baked separately as crumbs for artistic scattering. This proved to be an entirely redundant step, once I began cutting up the rest and the crumbs started to fly.
Then I made my ever faithful gingerbread biscuits for carpets, which Hetty and I iced, and a welcome mat too.
225g plain flour
4 tablespoons cornflour (I didn’t have, and added rice flour instead)
1/2 tsp baking powder
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence.