During Passover each year, I really like to keep things simple. My husband and I make mostly the same dishes for our seder, stock the fridge with all our favorite produce and dairy products and try to keep things basic, fresh and delicious. But of course, I also rack my brain trying to come up with fun new ideas that are scrumptious but not too difficult to execute.
Last year I made Rachel Khoo’s cheese and potato nests with brie (no bacon) and this year I am going to make some zucchini noodles with a hearty Bolognese sauce (made with my new spiralizer – have you ordered one yet!?)
And I also dreamed up a light but delectable new dessert recipe. Of course it isn’t really peanut butter & jelly, since I know most American Ashkenazi Jews don’t eat kitnyot. But it has the same richness as peanut butter and tastes like a bread-less PB&J sandwich. Adults and kids will love it, and it’s a nice break from all the flourless chocolate cake and macaroons.
If you don’t have mini cups, you can use individual plastic cups to make the trifles or also use a large trifle dish for family-style serving. After all, Passover is definitely a holiday all about family. So grab a spoon and dig in!
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For the pie crust:
1 cup sliced almonds
4 Tbsp melted butter or margarine
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp almond meal
¼ tsp sea salt
For the almond butter mousse:
2 14 ounce cans full-fat coconut milk, or 1 can coconut cream
¾ cup almond butter
¼ cup sugar
4 egg whites
2 cups raspberry or strawberry jam
Whipped cream (optional)
Fresh berries (optional)
Make sure to chill the coconut milk overnight.
To make the crust:
In a sauté pan over medium heat, toast almonds until fragrant, around 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to toast too long or almonds will burn and taste slightly bitter.
In a food processor fitted with blade attachment, pulse toasted almonds, butter or margarine, brown sugar, almond meal and salt. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Set aside.
To make the mousse:
Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the ¼ cup sugar, whisking until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Remove lid of coconut milk without shaking or tipping the can. Scoop out the solid cream and place into a chilled bowl. Leave the liquid in the bottom of the can and reserve it for soups, smoothies or other recipes. If cream has not come to top, put coconut milk through fine mesh sieve and discard liquid.
Using a hand mixer, beat until creamed together, around 1 minute.
Add almond butter one tablespoon at a time and mix until smooth.
Gently fold egg whites into almond butter mixture a few tablespoons at a time until incorporated. There shouldn’t be any streaks.
Layer individual cups or trifle dish with pie crust crumbles, then mousse, then jam and repeat.
Garnish with whipped cream and berries if desired.
Passover and I haven’t always been friends. There was a time when I thought about Passover approaching and my mind would be overrun by what I can’t eat. As a girl who has always loved carbs (I love you, pasta), the thought of saying “good-bye” to my beloved noodles and bread, even for eight days, caused me to have a little anxiety attack.
But as the food world has become increasingly creative to help accommodate the never-ending list of folks with food allergies, Passover has become less about what I can’t have and more about what I can have by flexing my creative foodie muscles.
The recipe below is a great example of this. I’ve made a version of these before for one of my clients who prefers gluten-free food options. I wanted to give my old recipe a new Spring season twist so I added the roasted strawberries, which are coming out in droves here in Miami. The result is a not-too-sweet but supremely delicious (and healthy) breakfast/snack treat. I hope you enjoy!
3 cups roasted strawberries
2 Tbsp coconut oil
½ cup vanilla yogurt
¼ cup honey
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
To make the roasted strawberries:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss 3 cups of quartered strawberries with a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoon melted coconut oil or other cooking oil that your prefer.
Spread strawberries in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until juicy and reduced in size. Set aside to cool.
To make the muffins:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all the wet ingredients into a bowl and mix well with a spoon.
Add the dry muffin ingredients and mix well. Fold in the strawberries
Place cupcake liners in a baking pan, and fill the liners halfway with batter. Note: feel free to not use cupcakes liners but make certain that you are using a NON-STICK mini muffin pan. Coat the muffin tins with a healthy dose of butter or cooking spray and sprinkle each with almond flour to ensure the muffins don't stick.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the tops are starting to brown.
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
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These toffee squares are a part of my family’s yearly Passover repertoire. After eating them at a close friend’s seder for years, my mom finally asked for the recipe so we could enjoy them year-long. It turns out that the recipe originated in the kitchen of a woman who had deep roots in Akron (my hometown) and who loved to share her recipes with others.
They make a great addition to a dessert buffet, but my family makes them to keep on hand as a snack. Beware—they go quickly! We usually end up making more than one pan to last us the entire holiday.
1 cup butter or magarine, softened
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup matzo cake meal
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar and pinch of salt until light and fluffy. Beat in egg very well. Add matzo cake meal gradually, blending well. Dough should be stiff.
Lightly grease a 10x15 jelly roll pan. Evenly spread the dough in the pan, making sure to reach the sides and corners. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Spread with melted chocolate, the sprinkle with the chopped nuts, making sure to press the nuts gently into the chocolate so they stick. Allow to mostly cool, and then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
I love meringues. I love to eat them and I love to make them. They are so simple, require so few ingredients and can be colored or decorated in so many ways. With that crunchy outside and chewy inside, meringues are always a crowd-pleaser. Meringues are a great Passover treat because they require only egg whites, salt, sugar, and a little bit of food coloring. They’re quick to make but take a while to bake so it’s best to whip up a batch before folding laundry or cleaning your refrigerator, but I promise they’ll be worth the wait.
Brittany Wayne grew up in Weston, CT and enjoyed baking with her parents from a young age. In high school, Brittany completed a year-long independent study on cake decorating, culminating in a three-tiered wedding cake. The teacher who graded the study gave Brittany a D because she didn’t believe Brittany made the cakes she brought in each month. Brittany did make the cakes. You can follow Brittany and her cake creations on Twitter, and Instagram.
4 egg whites at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt
2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
At least three piping bags. (Two smaller, one larger)
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to whisk the egg whites and salt at a medium-high speed until peaks have formed.
Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time (wait 5-10 seconds between each addition of sugar) and beat on medium-high until stiff white peaks have formed.
Split meringue batter into bowls to add color (I used two colors, you can use as many as you want).
Add a small amount of food coloring to each bowl and fold until color is distributed but some white is still visible (I don’t like to mix all the way because it could deflate the meringue and I like the marbleized look).
Fill each small bag with one color of your choice. Cut a hole in the large piping bag and put the tip of your choice in the large piping bag (you don’t need a tip, you can just cut a hole in the large piping bag), followed by the two smaller bags with different colors. Make sure both of the smaller bags are evenly at the end of the bag so the colors distribute evenly.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pipe out meringue in a circular motion to create small meringue swirls (depending on your tip, they may have a star shape). Meringues should be 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
Bake for 90 minutes at 200°F, then turn off your oven and let the meringues cool in the oven. This will let the outsides harden a bit to get that crunchy texture while the insides won’t overcook.
Like the crazy Jewish woman I am, I start researching Passover recipes…well, you might say I research Passover recipes all year long. Passover is my least favorite holiday and so I am always trying to make the week as painless as possible with delicious “non Passover tasting” dishes.
When I came across this recipe from Whole Foods a few months ago I immediately thought: this will be a perfect Passover recipe since I will only need to make one substitution! I hate using matzo meal or other Passover-rific substitutions, so I always looks for those perfect Passover-friendly recipes.
In general I like making pies and cheesecake during Passover since you can easily replace a graham cracker or cookie crust for almonds, walnuts or pecans. In this sweet potato pie recipe, I replaced the gingersnap cookies with almonds. Combined with sweetened coconut and melted margarine or butter – voila! a perfect moist crust that tastes just like a macaroon. The sweet potato filling is light and flavorful, just like a pumpkin pie.
This pie recipe is so good you will make it all year, and THAT is a sign of the perfect Passover recipe.
For the Filling:
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
¾ cup canned coconut milk
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp sea salt
Extra coconut for garnish (optional)
For the Crust:
1 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
4 Tbsp melted butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make a few slits in skin of sweet potato and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 45 minutes or until soft. Allow sweet potatoes to cool slightly.
In the meantime, place almonds, shredded coconut, salt and melted margarine or butter into a food processor. Press mixture into and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden. Let cool.
Scoop flesh from sweet potatoes and place into food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add coconut milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and process until combined.
Reduce oven to 350 degree. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center of pie is set. Allow to cool.
In a saute pan, toast about 1/4 cup extra coconut on low-medium heat until golden brown. Sprinkle in center of pie as garnish.
Paula Shoyer is the author of The Kosher Baker: 160 dairy-free desserts from traditional to trendy (Brandeis 2010). Paula is a pastry chef who owns and operates the Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School out of Chevy Chase, Maryland. She teaches scheduled and custom-designed classes in French pastry and Jewish cooking in the Washington, D.C. area, and all around the country. Appearances include Food Network’s Sweet Genius, WGN’s Lunchbreak, WUSA9 Washington, San Diego Living, NBC Washington News 4 at 4 and Martha Stewart Morning Living on XM Sirius. Paula believes that everyone deserves a delicious dessert no matter what special diet they are on. She develops dessert recipes that are dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan. Paula’s website is www.paulaspastry.com where you can find both sweet and savory recipes and blogs at www.kosherbaker.blogspot.com where she shares stories of her travels and events and new recipes.
4 ounces shelled whole almonds
4 ounces shelled whole hazelnuts
3 Tablespoons parve margarine
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
5 large eggs plus 3 yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
¼ cup lime zest (about 3 regular limes)
½ cup fresh lime juice (the three zested limes plus 1-2 more limes)
1/2 cup (1 stick) parve margarine
1 drop green food coloring (optional)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. To make the crust, cover a jelly roll pan with parchment. Place the almonds in one layer on one side and the hazelnuts in one layer on the other side. Toast for 20 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through, but keeping the two nuts separate. Let cool for 10 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350ºF.
Place the three tablespoons of margarine into a covered medium microwave-safe bowl and heat for 45 seconds, or until melted. Add the brown sugar. Place the almonds into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and grind until nuts are in very small pieces, but not powdered. Place into the bowl with the margarine and sugar. Lift up handfuls of the hazelnuts and rub between your hands to remove as much of the skin as possible. Place the nuts into the processor bowl and process into very small pieces. Add to the bowl. Use your fingers to mix until combined. Place this mixture into an 8- or 9-inch pie pan and press to cover the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides. To make a nice rim, use your thumb to press into the sides of the pan, while a finger on your other hand presses down on the top of the rim. Continue all around the pan until you have a little crust rim. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.
To make the lime filling, place the eggs, yolks, and sugar in a heatproof bowl and set over a medium saucepan with simmering water (or use a double-boiler). Stir to combine. Add the lime zest and juice and stir into the egg and sugar mixture. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a thick mixture is formed. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the margarine in tablespoons until the cream is smooth. Add the green food coloring, if using, and stir.
Pour the cream into the prepared crust. Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, or until the outside edges of the cream are set. Let cool and then place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
To make the meringue, in a small heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches 230ºF (use a candy thermometer to check the temperature). While the sugar is cooking, in a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff. When the sugar is ready, turn the mixer speed to low and then slowly pour the cooked sugar into the bowl, down the side of the bowl, not directly onto the wire whisk. When all of the sugar has been poured in, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 1 minute until the meringue is thick and shiny.
You can add the meringue to the pie in several ways. You can use a spoon to dump clumps of meringue on top and spread, or use a pastry bag to pipe out designs of meringue. If desired, use a blowtorch to lightly brown the meringue or place it in a 450ºF oven for a few minutes, watching the entire time, until the top browns. Store in the refrigerator until serving and for up to five days.
Lots of things taste better covered in chocolate. They taste even better when covered in chocolate and caramel with a sprinkling of sea salt! Use good chocolate to make this even more indulgent, and keep a candy thermometer on hand so that the caramel is Passover perfect!
Emily Pearl Goodstein is a photographer, sweatpants enthusiast, online organizer, and rabble rouser Washington, DC. She leverages her status as a native Washingtonian (and expert Googler) to recommend products, restaurants, recipes, and shops (in addition to other things she finds mildly diverting) on her blog, Wild and Crazy Pearl. She spends too much money on iTunes and her favorite possession is the cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer she used part of her Bat Mitzvah money to buy (it is still going strong). She also enjoys drinking grapefruit juice, photographing babies and baby bellies, and taking naps.
4 to 6 sheets unsalted matzah
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
big pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line the bottom of the sheet with matzah, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. The temperature on the thermometer should reach 120F. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzah, spreading with a heatproof spatula.
Put the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it's not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven.
Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips.
Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
If you wish, sprinkle with cashews, pecans, or some flaky sea salt.
Let cool completely, cut into pieces (I like to make large diamonds for a dramatic presentation) and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week.