Seven Species Muffins

Seven Species Muffins - Recipe for Tu B'Shevat with Ingredients Inspired by the Biblical 7 Species of Israel

I have updated this recipe for 2014. I added fresh pomegranate seeds to the batter and reworked the recipe a bit to improve flavor and texture. They are super tasty!

This week Jews everywhere will celebrate Tu B’Shevat, also known as “New Year for the Trees.” This holiday takes place on the 15th of Shevat in the Hebrew calendar (late January – early February on the Gregorian calendar). Tu B’Shevat marks the beginning of spring in Israel; it is one of four annual new years described in the Mishnah. It’s a time to celebrate the natural world. Gratitude is given for the fruits of the earth and everything that grows.

Traditionally, a bounty of fruits and vegetables grace the Tu B’Shevat table. In some parts of the world Jews partake in a Tu B’Shevat Seder meal, complete with prayers and food blessings. Others celebrate by taking a picnic under the trees or simply making a meal featuring the fruits of the season. Jewish schools often hold outdoor parades; students wear white and make baskets overflowing with fruit. In Israel, people are encouraged to plant trees and give back to the earth, which is similar to our U.S. tradition of Arbor Day.

Seven Species Muffins - Recipe for Tu B'Shevat with Ingredients Inspired by the Biblical 7 Species of Israel

In our home, we celebrate Tu B’Shevat by cooking a vegetarian meal to celebrate the ecological aspect of the holiday. Eating a meatless meal impacts the environment in a positive way, plus it gives me more opportunities to integrate fruits, vegetables, and grains into the menu. The weekend before Tu B’Shevat, I make a trip to the farmer’s market and buy fresh, seasonal ingredients from our local farmers. It is my way of celebrating our interconnectedness and appreciating the source of our food.

Typical foods served on Tu B’Shevat include fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. The almond trees bloom at this time of year, so almond-laden foods often make an appearance on the holiday table. Those who partake in a Tu B’Shevat Seder will eat at least 15 different types of fruits and vegetables. Chocolatey carob pods are sometimes included in the meal. It is also customary to include the Seven Species mentioned in the Torah: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.

The Seven Species of the Land of Israel are listed in Deuteronomy 8:8: “a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and [date] honey.” Image source: Wikimedia Commons

A few years ago, I wondered if I could find a way to incorporate all Seven Species into one recipe. It was an interesting challenge, one that ultimately ended with a seriously delicious batch of Seven Species Muffins. Here are the ingredients I used:

Wheat = Flour
Barley
= Barley flour
Grapes
= Golden raisins
Figs
= Dried figs
Pomegranates
= Pomegranate seeds
Olives
= Light olive oil
Dates
= Dried dates

I also used almond milk (almonds are commonly eaten during Tu B’Shevat) and applesauce to add low calorie moisture. And I threw some walnuts in, just because they’re crunchy good.

It took me quite a few tries, but I finally was able to whip up a batch of Seven Species Muffins that my whole family loved. They make the house smell awesome while they’re baking. The barley flour gives the muffins a soft, tender crumb. I especially love the pomegranate seeds inside, which provide an unexpected burst of juicy sweetness. If you wanted to make them more dessert-like, you could also use chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds instead of the fresh ones (they have kosher certified chocolate seeds at Trader Joe’s). These muffins were made for Tu B’Shevat, but they would also be great for the Jewish holidays of Sukkot or Shavuot. Make these muffins with the kids to help them learn about the Seven Species. Or just bake up a batch for fun because they taste so, so good!

Recommended Products

Blender

Non-stick Muffin Tin

Baking Scoop Set

Any purchase you make from Tori’s Market helps to support my website, my recipes, and the free content I provide. If you have an Amazon login, it’s even easier to make a purchase. Thanks for browsing!

Seven Species Muffins - Recipe for Tu B'Shevat with Ingredients Inspired by the Biblical 7 Species of Israel

Seven Species Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried figs
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (3/4 cup all purpose + 3/4 cup whole wheat flour will work too)
  • 1/2 cup barley flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nonstick cooking spray or paper muffin tin liners

Topping Ingredients (optional)

  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

You will also need

  • Blender or food processor, large mixing bowl, medium mixing bowl, standard muffin tin, ice cream scoop or small ladel, cooling rack
Cook Time: 25 - 27 Minutes
Total Time: 35 - 45 Minutes
Servings: 12 standard size muffins
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • If your raisins are particularly dry, cover them with water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat and let the raisins sit in the water to plump for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatPreheat oven to 400 degrees F. If your figs have tough stems on them, remove them and discard.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatRoughly chop dates and figs. Set aside.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatUse a blender or food processor to blend together the following ingredients until very smooth: dates, figs, almond milk, applesauce, cinnamon and allspice.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatIt may take a couple of minutes to blend all ingredients to a smooth consistency, depending on the power of your blender. The end result should be similar to the texture of apple butter or smooth fruit preserves. Set mixture aside.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatIn a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, light olive oil, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatIn a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, barley flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatGently mix the pomegranate seeds into the dry mixture, making sure the seeds are well coated with flour.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatMake a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the fruit mixture from the blender into the well.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatAdd the egg mixture to the well.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatFold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the dry ingredients are just moistened and a lumpy batter forms. Do not overmix - if you do your muffins will turn out heavy and dense.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatFold raisins and chopped walnuts into the muffin batter with a light-handed stir.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatPrep your muffin pan by spraying a small amount of nonstick cooking spray into the bottom of each muffin tin (not the sides), or use paper muffin cup liners. Divide batter equally into muffin cups, filling each cup to the top and mounding the surface slightly. I've found that it's easiest to do this using an ice cream scoop.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatIf you’d like to top the muffins, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl using a fork. Sprinkle about a ½ tsp of cinnamon sugar mixture evenly across the surface of each muffin.
  • Seven Species Muffins for Tu B'ShevatPlace muffins in the oven and immediately turn heat down to 375 degrees F. That extra heat blast at the beginning of the baking cycle will help to activate the baking powder and baking soda. Bake for 25-27 minutes until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack. Do not let the muffins cool completely in the tin, they are quite moist and may stick to the tin if you leave them there too long. Serve warm.
  • Seven Species Muffins - Recipe for Tu B'Shevat with Ingredients Inspired by the Biblical 7 Species of Israel

Comments (59)Post a Comment

  1. These muffins sound like a yummy addition to your wonderful recipes and now I can add it to mine. Thank you once again for this one and the informative History Lesson on Tu B’Shevat….

  2. Thank you for the education about Tu B’Shevat. I don’t have all the ingredients for these delicious-sounding muffins on hand (almond milk, figs, dates, or barley flour), but I’m looking forward to trying your recipe as soon as I purchase them. I love your blog!

  3. shalom let me to you thank you for showing me how to cook the right in way as student of culinary school this is delicious sonding muffin to serve to my classmate and like to say thank you

  4. I’ve just made these and they were amazing. I blended the raisins with the fig/date mix as my kids would have picked them out. I also couldn’t find barley flour at any stores near me, so I used a bread flour that was made with barley and other grains. We are serving these at our synagogue Tu B’Shevat kiddush! Thank you for this amazing idea :)

  5. Hi Tory. My husband and I made these today for Tu B’Shevat and they turned out really well. Thank you for experimenting with the seven species and coming up with a wonderful and special recipe that will become a family favorite with us.

  6. I just ate 2 of these, warm-They are fantastic! Only substitution I made was I used 3/4 C. whole wheat flour & 3/4 C. white flour. Thanks again.

    1. Elaine you can use a vegan egg replacer if you like, it should work fine. I haven’t tried any myself with this recipe but I’m sure a flax-based one would do the trick. Enjoy!

    1. They taste like sheer bliss, whether or not they’ve been seasoned with “plum spice” or not. At least, until you get to the pit, which you can possibly chip a tooth on.

    2. Well then yes, I think they would work just fine in this recipe… just chop up the olives, discard the pits, and integrate them into the batter with the raisins (about 1/2 cup should do it). Enjoy!

  7. Yes Tori, i was thinking , about that or figs I got from Greece their dried bit not hard i think Im going to soak them in warm orange juice, cause we celebrate the trees and soaking in
    Orange juice would be good for the raisins and figs.

  8. Once again Tori, you have a great recipe with a fascinating history. And as always, I learn more about the history of my Jewish brethren and sisteren. Great job !

    1. Hi Howard, it should be fine. I haven’t tested it as a loaf so I can’t give you a time, but it should be fine baking at 375 and just test with a toothpick for doneness.

  9. These muffins look amazing and I cannot wait to try them!!! I did some “biblical” baking several years ago and found a lot of joy in the simplicity of it! While I used the oven in my kitchen instead of building a brick one, I managed to bake some unleavened bread on my outdoor grill in a covered pan! I felt very earth motherly!!! <3

  10. So I made up a batch of these and they are absolutely amazing. A question… Could I replace the wheat flour with something gluten free and have them come out just as good? Yes, i realize that would remove one of the seven species… Thanks.

    1. Howard, you could try an all purpose gluten free flour mix like King Arthur, though I haven’t tested it that way I’ve had good luck subbing in other similar recipes. However if you’re serving it to somebody with gluten intolerance, you’ll also need to replace the barley flour with the GF flour, as barley flour does contain a small amount of gluten (from what I’m told).

  11. I found your site while researching a topic assigned by my bible study teacher. I looked up the Feast of the Tabernacle, Sukkot and how it is practiced today. My small group shares a snack midway through the morning each week. I plan to make your Seven Species Muffins for my next turn to bring snacks!

Leave a Comment

Please read through the entire post and comments section before asking a question, as it may have already been answered. First time commenting? Read the comment policy.