The Rivers of Exile: Nine-Day Pie

Traveling through the streets of Paris with his entourage, Napoleon passed a synagogue and heard heart-wrenching wailing from within.

“Why are my Jews crying? – asked the emperor, – What happened to them?

“Sire, – rushed an aide-de-camp, “they are lamenting the destruction of their Temple.”

“What? Their Temple was destroyed and nobody told me? Where? When?”

“Your Majesty, I believe it occurred about seventeen hundred years ago in Jerusalem, and every year on that day they get together, fast, and mourn their loss.”

Alors, – exclaimed Napoleon, “people who remember their past as if it happened just now, will definitely live to see their future!”


So says the Gemorrah (Taanis), that all who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit to rejoice in its rebuilding.  This story has been circulating in many variations and various settings, including the Russian Tzar and the Vilna Gaon, but the truth of the matter is that all we have left of the Temple is the Western Wall, otherwise called the Wailing Wail where we weep as we remember Zion.

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept…” – sang the Psalmist, and proclaimed:

Im Eshkakheih Yerushalayim – “If I forget Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning…”

We don’t forget. We start the mourning period of three weeks on the day the walls of Jerusalem were breached for the first time by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia in 586 BCE and for the second and final time by the Romans in 69 CE. On that day, the 17th of Tammuz, we fast from dawn to sundown and begin observing certain restrictions: we don’t listen to music, don’t engage in any water activities for pleasure, don’t cut hair, etc.


Mourning intensifies on the 1st of Av, the Yuhrzeit (date of passing) of Aaron the High Priest, Moshe’s brother.  Among all the biblical events and deaths of various important personages, Aaron is the only one whose demise is specifically mentioned by date:

Aaron the High Priest ascended Mount Hor at G‑d‘s behest and died there, on the first day of the fifth month, in the fortieth year of the Children of Israel‘s exodus from Egypt” Numbers 33:38).

Why did Aaron merit this distinction? A learned man, a distinguished patriarch, he was nonetheless mostly famous for his skill as a peacemaker among people.


This is what happened after the loss of Aaron the Peacemaker which, according to Gemorrah (Gittin), led to the destruction of the second Temple. A wealthy man was throwing a party. He sent out servants with invitations. One of the invites was addressed to his friend Kamtza. But the half-literate servant delivered it instead to someone named Bar Kamtza. It so happened that this Bar Kamtza was the worst enemy of the host, and when he saw the invitation, he decided that the guy wanted to make nice and sort of extend a friendly hand. So he dressed in his finery and showed up at the party. The moment he appeared, the host went livid and ordered his servants to throw him out. “Wait, – pleaded Bar Kamtza,- I’ll pay for my meal, just let me stay!”

“Get him out of here, – screamed the host.

“Look, I understand someone made a mistake, but this is embarrassing. Let me stay, and I’ll cover half of the cost of your party, – begged Bar Kamtza.

“Out, I said!”

“But we are both prominent businessmen, respectable people, I’ll gladly reimburse you for the total expense of this event, just let me stay and let’s make up already!”

“Didn’t you hear me, idiots? Throw him out!” – yelled the host, on the verge of apoplexy.

It is believed that this act of sinas chinom  – baseless, senseless hatred – initiated series of tragic historical events culminating in Tisha b’Av, the 9th of Av, the day when both Temples were destroyed, the day of the Expulsion of Jews from England and, later, Expulsion form Spain, the day when WWI started, and the list goes on. During these first days of Av, mourning restrictions strengthen: we don’t eat meat and don’t drink wine, as well as refrain from many pleasurable activities and festive occasions. Obviously, everybody is coming up with vegetarian recipes. If you look at my Nine-Day Pie and do your math, though, you’ll realize that there are eight parts to it. That’s because on the ninth day, i.e. Tisha b’Av, we fast from sundown of the night before to an hour after sundown on the day itself, as Napoleon had observed firsthand.

9 day pie 1.jpg

I use spelt flour which is gluten free for our purposes, but if you are allergic to gluten or have a celiac disorder, please consult your physician.  You can easily substitute gluten free flour. This is yeast dough, and I simply throw all ingredients into my bread machine and press the button. However, you can do it manually, by diluting yeast in a mixture of warm water and soy or any other non-dairy milk, adding oil, xylitol or sugar, and a pinch of salt, and then gently mixing in flour. Treat it like you would treat bread dough, i.e. cover and leave it in a warm place until it rises, then punch it down and let it rise again. The whole process should take about as long as my bread machine does – about an hour.

9 day pie 2.jpg

While the dough is in the making, you can prepare filling. Roughly chop about half an onion and dice a pint of mushrooms (that should give you about two cups). You’ll also need your favorite ground beef substitute – mine is Beefless Ground – and fresh chopped parsley.

9 day pie 3.jpg

Start by stir-frying your onions until translucent, then add mushrooms, mix, cover, and reduce heat to medium.

9 day pie 4.jpg

When mushrooms soften and give out liquid, add ground meat substitute and parsley. Season with a pinch of cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. I also added some Garam Masala, but that’s up to you. You can try cumin; I am sure it’ll work. Mix it all up, cover, and cook together for a couple of minutes, to blend flavors. Turn it off and let it cool.

9 day pie 5.jpg

Your dough should be ready by now. Turn it out onto a floured board or working surface and roll it into a rectangle about 10 by 15 inches (25 by 38 cm). It will be pliable and thick about 1/3 of an inch (1 cm). If it feels crumbly, add some warm water and kneed again. If it sticks to your hands, add some flour.

9 day pie 6.jpg

Spread the filling on top of rolled out dough, leaving about 1/2 inch (a little more than 1 cm) on all sides. Now just roll it – it should roll very easily.

9 day pie 7.jpg Once you make a fat roll, place it seam side down on an oiled baking sheet and join the sides to make a ring. Make sure you don’t stretch the dough too much so the filling doesn’t poke through.


9 day pie 8.jpg

Here comes the tricky part. With a sharp knife, make eight cuts from the outside to within an inch (2.5 cm) of the center. Gently turn each section sideways so that the filling cross-section looks up. You’d want to make sure the sections are roughly equal in size, but they shouldn’t be separated. Remember, it’s one period of eight days! Mist it with oil, sprinkle with sesame or caraway seeds, whatever you prefer, and leave it in a warm place until it almost doubles in size.

9 day pie 9

Bake it at 350 F for about 45 – 50 minutes and serve hot, crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, with juicy savory filling. I served it with my homemade kale chips (for recipe, please see Meatless Surprise Wrapped in Mystery). Enjoying this meatless, but comforting and so satisfying meal in the midst of the most tragic period of the year, let’s remember Aaron and his message – LOVING KINDNESS!


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup room temperature soy or any non-dairy milk substitute
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon xylitol or sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 3/4 cups spelt or GF flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 pint mushrooms, diced (makes 2 cups)
  • 1 cup ground meat substitute
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional 1/2 teaspoon garam masala or cumin
  • Optional sesame or caraway seeds to sprinkle.


  • For bread machine: place wet ingredients into pan first, followed by dry ingredients, topped by yeast. Turn on DOUGH cycle.
  • Mist deep frying pan with oil, stir fry onions. When translucent, add mushrooms, stir, cover, reduce heat.  When mushrooms soften and emit liquid, add the rest of ingredients, season, mix, cover, cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove, let cool.
  • When dough is ready, turn onto floured board or surface, flatten, roll into 10 by 15 inch (25 by 38 cm) rectangle.
  • Spread filling evenly 1/2 inch (about 1.5 cm) off all sides. Roll dough tightly, seal sides.
  • Place dough roll on misted with oil baking sheet seam side down. Form ring, connect sides securely.
  • Make 8 cuts, starting from outside to 1 inch (2.5 cm) from center. Turn each section sideways. Adjust sizes of section. Make sure sections are not separated. Mist with oil, sprinkle with sesame or caraway seeds.
  • Place into warm place for about 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until light golden. Remove, serve hot. Garnish with hot kale chips.





53 Comments Add yours

  1. This looks very delicious, Dolly 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Irene! How are you?


      1. On the right way, thank you ,z

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad to hear that – be well!


  2. Osyth says:

    Well that is quite a pie but of course the story and your telling of it captivate even more than the lure of yeasty delights … And whether it was Napoleon or whether a Tsar or quite another less elevated fellow …. that quote is powerful in its truth. None of us should forget this saddest of times in your people’s history. None. If we all take the time to imbibe that tragic story perhaps we might realise that we are repeating the same inglorious folly right now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thank you for your understanding and for your compassionate comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Amal, I am so glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dolly you are amazing. Your culinary arts keep me wanting to make everything you present. My waistline keeps growing. Yummy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much – you are too kind!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. kelleysdiy says:

    I love reading your articles along with the recipes. So interesting and I learn something new every day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, darling, I really value your opinion!


  5. I continue to love how you relate your wonderful recipes to your interpretations of many lessons from history. This might be the most important of them all: the importance of loving kindness. The recipe sounds delicious, but your message is even more so.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Madelyn, I truly appreciate your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well deserved, Dolly. I recommend your blog to my history buff buddies all the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for the word of confidence! I always hope my readers realize the difference between “real history” and legends, rumors, historical anecdotes, etc. Sometimes I am concerned that people take me too seriously while I am just having fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I wouldn’t worry, Dolly – I think your take on history comes through clearly as YOUR take, massaged with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek for many of your posts.

        I also believe that your light touch is why your blog is increasingly popular. It’s FUN!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you, but I do get comments occasionally from people who take my jokes as history.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That’s their educational short-coming and not your responsibility. If they wanted to know more, all they’d have to do is Google! I’d hate to see you rein yourself in for the few who misunderstand.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I usually don’t “rein myself in” for anybody or anything; I just don’t want to mislead people. Should I perhaps post a sign “Caution: Humor!”?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. A sign like that would be a funny sidebar meme to post on your site. 🙂 But I’ll bet you’d still get the comments from people who think you are being serious and reporting THE news. ::sigh::

        Liked by 1 person

      8. How right you are!


      9. Yep! Your blog is fun and funny because YOU are fun and funny. Follow your bliss, as they say, and don’t worry about the atypical comment or two. (That’s my advice to myself, btw – and the only way I’d be willing to spend the time I do writing articles I hope will help).

        Liked by 1 person

      10. You’re right. As P.T. Barnum said, “There is an idiot born every minute,” so invariably we run across on two occasionally, by sheer numbers!


  6. Christy B says:

    From the stir fry to the dough, this one captivates me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Christy, you are so kind!


    1. Oooh, darling, I’d love to share it with you! Thank you for lovely comments!


      1. Laraib says:

        My pleasure dear. 😘👌

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reblogging.


  7. My goodness Dolly, what a work of art. It looks very impressive and sounds so delicious. I can’t wait to try it. I’ve pinned it for later. Thank you for the share ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Myra! Coming from you, it’s the highest compliment!


  8. I can’t pin it. It said authorization failed???


    1. I don’t know! I am technologically impaired – that means I am a computer idiot! Can you just press “reblog”?


      1. Ok, there’s a pin it button on the pictures on your post but it seems that you might have to activate it in your WP dashboard. But it’s ok anyway I’m going to remember this lovely post eitherway ☺

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much, Myra! I’ll try to activate it, even though I don’t even know what it is, but I trust you, my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sumith says:

    You are just amazing Dolly. Your stories with these great stories makes your posts more Interesting. Another beautiful share. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Sumith! Coming from a professional chef and incredible food artist like yourself, this is truly a compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. thecookingart says:

    Such a nice recipe! Great post!;)

    Feel free to visit my blog 🙂 I just updated it.


    Liked by 1 person

  11. notamigrant says:

    mushroom pies and history – love it…as it is near midnight, i am resisting raiding the fridge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One should never resist a sensory pleasure, especially a well-refrigerated one.
      Thank you for a lovely comment!


    1. Thank you so much for reblogging and introducing me to your readers.


  12. K E Garland says:

    That was a very interesting re-telling of historical/biblical narrative and the nine-day pie looks really yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Dr Kathy; I am so glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. oldpoet56 says:

    Wow, great story that within it were a few things that I did not know so I do thank you for enlightening my Soul of these very G-dly events. Plus the added pleasure of learning how to create food that I have never tried before. Dolly, I am going to reblog this article for you. I truly hope that you are able to have a great week my friend. G-ds blessings I pray to you and to your loved ones. Shalom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, wishes, and blessings, Ted! I hope you are well. Sending blessings your way!


    1. Thank you for reblogging.


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