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.
It’s that time of year again when we go through cabinets, fridge and freezer searching for chametz and rack our brains on how to use them up before Passover. I love this challenge each year, especially because I usually have a few bags full of leftover challah just waiting to be used in a new recipe.
Bread puddings are often sweet and served for dessert; while stuffing is usually savory and served as a side dish. But I wanted to sort of combine both these concepts and do something a bit different – a savory, dairy bread pudding perfect to serve for breakfast or brunch! And thus, my Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding with Goat Cheese and Mushrooms was born!
Don’t like mushrooms? Use spinach or peppers instead.Serve with scrambled eggs and some fruit for a perfect, rounded breakfast.
4 cups leftover bread, preferably challah
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 ounces goat cheese
Cut or break bread into chunks. Grease a 9x9 square pan and place bread into pan.
Heat olive oil and butter in saute pan over medium heat. Add fresh thyme to pan. Saute mushrooms for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream and eggs. Add goat cheese. It's ok if the goat cheese remains in small chunks. Add mushrooms to milk mixture, but remove the fresh thyme.
Pour milk mixture over leftover bread chunks and let sit for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake bread pudding for 35-45 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature. Can be served next day.
I went to Jewish day school from pre-school all the way through 12th grade, and looking back, there were definitely some lessons that had a much bigger impact than others. Perhaps my most enduring lesson is one I got way back in kindergarten at Solomon Schechter: challah baking. The teachers guided us through the recipe, and eventually gave each child a small mound of dough to shape into a challah that we took home at the end of the day. We also took home a piece of paper with the recipe typed on it, and it has been my go-to challah recipe ever since.
Since kindergarten I’ve made this challah hundreds of times. I’ve made it on three continents, at four universities, and in half a dozen homes. It never disappoints. I hope it brings as much doughy goodness to your table as it has to mine. Shabbat shalom!
2 packages yeast (about 2 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup very warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
8-10 cups flour
1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
1 Tablespoon honey (optional)
2 Tablepoons maple syrup (optional)
1 Tablespoon vanilla (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 beaten egg
Poppy or Sesame seeds
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water from the tap with 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat eggs with sugar. Add oil, water and salt. If you'd like a sweeter challah, add honey or maple syrup. For a little spice in your challah, add cardamom and vanilla.
Mix yeast mixture into egg mixture, using beaters, your hands, or the dough hook on a standing mixer. Add 2 cups of flour at a time, mixing between additions (feel free to substitute whole wheat flour for up to 3 cups of regular flour). When the dough gets thick and sticky, turn it out onto a floured counter and knead the flour in by hand. Stop kneading when it seems like the dough will not accept any more flour (usually about 9 cups of flour). Put the dough back in the bowl and cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Let sit for at least 4 hours, up to 8 hours.
After the dough has risen for at least four hours, punch it down, and knead in raisins if you'd like to us them. Then divide the dough into three sections. Each section will be a loaf. Braid or shape the challot however you like. (The Shiksa has a wonderful and very comprehensive guide to braiding and shaping challah dough here.)
Once the loaves are braided or shaped, place them on cookie sheets, and cover loosely with a towel. Allow to rise at least another half hour, preferably an hour. Preheat the oven to 350F. Then, beat an egg, and brush it lightly on each challah, making sure to get the egg wash in all the crevices of the loaf. Sprinkle the tops with poppy or sesame seeds if you wish. Bake the challot for 30-40 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top, and are making your kitchen smell like heaven.
Some of the best ideas are made on the fly, and this recipe was one of those. While perusing my local fruits and veggie market I decided it had been far too long since I had made acorn squash – a childhood favorite.
My dad used to roast acorn squash with maple syrup and then let us eat up the the sweet squash with a spoon. But I wanted to try a slightly new spin, and instead of roasting it with maple syrup, I opted to roast it and then finish it with pomegranate molasses and for crunch, some chopped walnuts.
2 acorn squash, cut in half
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix brown sugar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle over each half of squash.
Roast squash for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
Scoop out flesh and mash with a fork until desired consistency. If you prefer very smooth, put through a food processor.
Finish squash with pomegranate molasses and chopped walnuts
Food related traditions like hamantashen are some of my favorite parts of being Jewish. I had to work on this hamantashen recipe for a while, because creating a gluten-free cookie dough that can be rolled and cut is no easy task. But I think I’ve finally got it (don’t skip chilling the dough, it really makes all the difference)!
This recipe makes hamentashen that are crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. If you prefer them to be completely crispy, bake an additional 2-3 minutes.
*Make sure you choose a gluten-free flour that includes xanthan gum (I like Bob's Wonderful Bread Mix or Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend), or add 1 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum with the flour.
Cream margarine and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, allowing to combine before adding the next.
In a separate bowl, whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of gluten-free flour (and xanthan gum if required). Turn mixer to the lowest speed and add to wet mixture a 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the dry ingredients to be incorporated before adding more. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Divide the dough into four parts, roll each into a ball, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Dust the counter and the rolling pin with gluten-free flour. Remove 1 dough ball from the refrigerator and cut into circles using a 4 oz. mason jar or small juice glass (if the dough is too sticky to roll out and cut, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it is pliable enough). Fill with 1/4 tsp tsp of filling, pinch into a triangle, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Rella Kaplowitz has blogged gluten-free and mostly dairy-free as the Penny Pinching Epicure for the last 3 years. In "real life," Rella lives in Washington, DC with her husband where she specializes in organizational improvement consulting for the federal government.
As you may remember from my post last year about Hamantaschen…I am typically not such a big fan. The ones I remember growing up with were always dry and crumbly.Until I found my friend Rachel’s Hamantaschen recipe, I had written off the triangle treats entirely.
Last year I made PB & Jelly flavored hamantaschen as well as a s’mores flavor. And this year I am happy to share a new flavor: Dark Chocolate Ganache with Salted Caramel Drizzle.
I know some people are “so over the salty sweet thing;” but I am not. My favorite chocolate will always be chocolate covered pretzels. And you know what’s better than chocolate covered pretzels? Chocolate covered potato chips. And perhaps the best? The peanut butter filled pretzel bites covered in milk chocolate from Trader Joe’s. But I digress.
I surprised even myself with this recipe – it is really delicious, and both my husband and I could not stop eating these.
Rachel’s Best Hamantaschen dough often requires a bit more than merely 1 1/4 cups flour it initially calls for. Also, keep flour-ing your work surface as you go.
Plan ahead – you really need to make the dough and the ganache ahead of time because they both need to chill properly before making them.
Pinch pinch pinch! Pinch those corners, otherwise your filling will spill out and make for ugly cookies.
½ cup butter (or margarine)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Dark Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
Rum to taste (optional)
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, vanilla and orange zest until mixed thoroughly.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.
Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by ½ cupfuls until firm.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Over a double boiler, heat cream and chopped chocolate. When chocolate is mostly melted, lightly whisk until ganache is smooth and shiny. Whisk in rum and salt. Chill for several hours.
Dust surface with powdered sugar or flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick.
Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar or flour before each cut!
Remove ganache from fridge, and using a teaspoon form about 1/2 inch round balls and place in center of dough. Carefully fold in the edges to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners tightly to seal.
Bake at 400° for about 7-9 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool completely.
Using a teaspoon or a small plastic squeeze bottle, drizzle caramel sauce back and forth on cookies. If desired, sprinkle with scant amount of thick sea salt.
Purim has always been one of my favorites out of the many, many Jewish holidays. Dressing up in fun costumes, masks, festive food and drinks. What’s not to love? One of my fondest memories growing up was attending out synagogue’s annual Purim Carnival. They went all out with games, face paint, and prizes all to celebrate Esther saving the Jews from Haman’s plans of extermination. Of course, as a young foodie, one of my favorite parts was the carnival themed food. While others went straight for the popcorn or cotton candy, I was all about the build your own ice cream sundae bar. Oh my. I piled on scoops of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate, rainbow sprinkles and a cherry or two.
Hamantaschen, the symbolic Purim cookie, are a great base for all sorts of flavors. I’ve made Chocolate Dipped Hamantaschen, Hamantaschen Tarts and even Caramelized Onion Hamantaschen. But when it came time to recreate a version this year, I reminisced about my favorite ice cream flavors and went with Neapolitan. A strawberry cookie filled with chocolate and drizzled with vanilla. Why should kids have all the fun?
Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her grandmother’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.
¾ cup sugar
2 ¾ cups flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 stick butter, room temperature
½ tsp vanilla
1 egg plus 1 for egg wash
Red food coloring if desired
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup chocolate nut butter, homemade or store bought
½ cup powdered sugar
few drops vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Meanwhile, puree strawberries in a food processer until blended.
Then add in the wet ingredients to the dry: butter, vanilla, 1 egg, pureed strawberries and orange zest and combine well with a mixer. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour. If it is dry add a bit of water. Form dough into a large ball and chill for at least one hour or up to overnight.
When you are ready to make your hamantaschen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Use a 3-inch circle cookie cutter to cut circles in the dough. The top of a wine glass works too! Roll out the scraps and recut into circles.
Then take a teaspoon of the nut butter and put it in the center of each circle. Don’t add any more- the filling will spread to fill the cookie, and anymore would just run over the top making for an ugly hamantaschen.
Fold two sides together overlapping at the bottom, and then fold the top down and secure.
Use the white of the last egg as an egg wash to give the hamantaschen shine and help it hold its shape. Then bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Allow cookies to cool.
Mix powdered sugar with vanilla extract and enough water to get a thick glaze. Drizzle over hamantaschen, let harden and enjoy!
In this day and age, it’s hard to create a unique treat without consulting food magazines, blogs and social media sites like Pinterest. Ever since Carrie Bradshaw declared her love for Magnolia Bakery, cupcakes have been all the rage. I’ve always loved making cupcakes, as they are easy to serve, can take on little personalities of their own, and most importantly, I can try one before giving them to anyone else. (You can’t do that with an entire cake!)
For Valentine’s Day, I considered heart-shaped cupcakes or something red-velvet but while more frosting and more sprinkles make everything more delicious, for this project, I wanted to focus on simplicity. Multicolored cakes are all the rag these days, and I love anything pink so I decided to make mini three-layer cakes with fluffy buttercream frosting and a classic cherry heart lollipop to top it off. By definition, these aren’t exactly “cupcakes” but I don’t think you’ll get any complaints.
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.
For the cake:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened (plus more to grease pan)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour (plus more to dust the greased pan)
1 ¼ cup whole milk
Pink and red food coloring gel (I use Wilton)
For the frosting:
8 oz. Granulated Sugar
4 oz. Egg Whites
1.5 cups softened Butter (3 sticks)
Pinch of Salt
Pink food coloring gel (I use Wilton)
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat well. Add eggs and vanilla.
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add 1/3 of dry ingredients to butter mixture followed by ½ of the milk. Alternate adding the dry mixture and milk until all is incorporated.
Separate batter equally into three bowls and add pink gel dye to one and red dye to another and leave the third white.
Grease and flour three 9” x 13” cake pans and spread batter evenly.
Bake cakes for 12-16 minutes (check after 10 minutes to make sure it’s not burning since these are such thin cakes) until a toothpick comes out clean. If the top of the cake is wiggly, leave it in for a couple more minutes.
Let cakes cool on wire racks while you make the frosting.
(An easier alternative is to fill cupcake tins about 2/3rds of the way with layers of red, pink and white batter to create a gradient effect once baked)
For the frosting:
Put sugar, egg whites and salt in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved.
Pour immediately into stand mixer (or remove from heat and beat using hand mixer) and whisk until it is shiny white and stiff peaks have formed. Let cool.
Switch to the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. Add butter in small cubes (make sure the mixture is completely cool otherwise the butter will melt when added) Beat until a smooth and fluffy buttercream has formed. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes.
Add a small amount of the pink gel to the buttercream and mix with a spatula. Careful, the gel is very concentrated, you don’t need to use a lot to get a strong color and you can always add more.
Before frosting cakes, flip each over so the “nice side” is up, not the side that was on the bottom of the cake pan.
Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top of the red cake, use a cutting board to help slide the pink layer on top of the red. Repeat and put the white layer on top. Refrigerate between two layers of parchment paper, put a cutting board with some heavy objects on top for around 10 minutes.
Remove from fridge and remove parchment paper. Cut off around half an inch of cake to make clean edges on all sides. Cut into two-inch squares (should make around 20 squares), cleaning the knife between cuts.
If using a piping bag, use a large star-shaped tip or you can put the frosting in a zip lock bag and cut off the end to form a tip.
While squeezing the bag, pipe frosting onto the cake in a small circular motion to create a small dollop of frosting. Top it off by inserting an unwrapped heart-shaped lollipop (or any pink or red lollipop) in the center of the cake.
A few weeks ago I wrote about a delicious coconut rice cake we tasted while vacationing on the island of St. John. And this weekend I finally got the chance to recreate them!I often make wild mushroom risotto balls, but this was a new sort of rice endeavor. Arborio rice, which you use to make risotto, has a lot of starch and so when you form it into balls for frying, it sticks together very easily. Basmati (or jasmine) rice is less starchy and requires a bit more elbow grease to ensure proper sticking. I like to keep a small bowl of cold water on hand to wet my hands while patting, the same as you might do while forming matzo balls.
This recipe does take a bit of time but it is delicious and something different especially to serve for guests or on a special occasion. And best of all? It’s pareve!
Serve it with a spicy Pineapple Salsa like this one from Two Peas and their Pod or a Mango Chutney like this one from Alton Brown for a lovely appetizer. Or serve it as a side dish along side grilled chicken breast, steak or seared salmon.
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coconut extract
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
Bring coconut milk and water to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp olive oil. Add rice and reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and let cook untouched for 20 minutes.
Allow to cook, placing in fridge for at least one hour or up to 48 hours.
Place rice into large mixing bowl. Add two beaten eggs, shredded coconut, salt and coconut extract. Mix gently with hands.
In a medium skillet, heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil on medium heat.
Fill small bowl with cold water and another bowl with panko bread crumbs. Wet hands and make form flat rice patties using palms of your hand, packing tightly as you work. Patties should be about 1/4 cup size. Dip each side of the patty into panko bread crumbs,
Fry patties on each side about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from pan and place on wire rack or plate lined with paper towel. Sprinkle with extra salt while still hot.
Serve while warm.
Most of the time I plan my dinner menus in the beginning of the week. I collect links for recipes I want to make, and page through cookbooks, and then make a shopping list. There aren’t many surprises later in the week, since I’ve already planned. But occasionally I get a craving for something, and veer off my plan. Last week, for reasons I can’t explain, I suddenly decided I wanted Cauliflower Curry Pie. Unfortunately, googling around I wasn’t able to find a recipe that came anywhere close to approximating what I was imagining.
Molly Katzen has a recipe for cauliflower pie in the Moosewood Cookbook, but it has a potato crust, and isn’t curried at all. I had just received a gorgeous pie plate, and was itching to use it. It had to be pie, and though I do love a potato crust in this case I wanted a classic savory pie crust.
So, I was forced to make up my own recipe, and I forced the results on my step-daughter, a semi-picky eater who, at 5, is generally skeptical of all vegetables, but is solidly pro-pie. The results were an enormous success. The crust came out perfectly, and the curry was a savory, mildly spicy vegetable medley that I think I’ll probably make again soon, even without the pie surrounding it. Though this recipe involved a bit more work than I’d typically put into a weeknight meal, it was totally worth it, and I’m definitely going to add it to my Shabbat and holiday menus. If you want to cut down on the time and/or you’re pastry phobic, you can use store bought crust.
2 sticks butter, cold, cut into cubes
7-8 Tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ¾ cups flour (I bet you could integrate some whole wheat flour, but I didn't try this time)
1 large onion (red onion works fine), chopped
2-4 Tablespoons olive oil (use your judgement)
1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 Tablespoons mild curry
pinch garam masala (optional)
1 can coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes
1 head cauliflower, chopped
2-3 small potatoes, diced
1 8oz box frozen spinach
salt and pepper, to taste
milk to brush on top
parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
Put the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor. Drop the butter cubes into the flour mixture and hit the pulse button. Once all the butter is in the mixture should look like white gravel. Add 6 Tablespoons of the ice water, and run the food processor until a dough forms. If it still seems too dry, add another tablespoon or two of ice water.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead with a sprinkling more of flour. Divide into two hunks and shape into hockey pucks. Wrap in wax paper and stick in the fridge for at least half an hour. If making the dough more than a day before the curry, wrap in plastic wrap.
While the dough is chilling, make the curry. Fry the chopped onion in the oil for 5-10 minutes until onions are beginning to soften. Then add the ginger, curry, and garam masala and fry for another 2-3 minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, cauliflower and potatoes and simmer. Add the frozen spinach (no need to have it defrosted, though that won't hurt) by just plopping the square of frozen spinach in the middle of the pan. Cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, at which point the potatoes and cauliflower should be tender, and cooked through. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as desired. Turn off heat.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the pie dough from the fridge, and roll one of the hockey pucks out on a floured surface. Roll it pretty thin, and then place in the bottom of a pie plate, allowing whatever extra to spill over the sides. Using a slotted spoon, fill crust with cauliflower curry. Leave leftover liquid in pan, so you're left with a moist but not runny curry. Roll out the second hockey puck, and place on top of the curry. Press together the edges of the top and bottom crust, using a fork to crimp the edges together.
Brush the top of the pie with milk, and then make vents in the crust—I like to do this by writing a secret message, and this time my step-daughter requested that the pie say I'm Hungry, so that's what I wrote.
Bake at 400F for 40 minutes, or until golden on top. Sprinkle with parmesan, if desired. The pie is amazing when fresh from the oven, but is also surprisingly good when served cold, as lunch the next day.