This cake is inspired by the uber-popular Israeli sweet lemonade that’s always punched up with fresh mint called limonana.
Limonana is really just a simple drink, but it has taken Israel by storm over the last 25 years. It’s a delicious, super sweet lemonade—tooth-achingly sweet—like a good Mississippi sweet tea. What makes it unique is the addition of copious amount of bright, verdant, incredibly fresh mint leaves. It’s a snappy addition that takes the lemonade from good to great.
Israeli Hebrew is often marked with anglicized words, but not this drink. Without even naming it through an official Ministry of Made-up Words (with apologies to Monty Python, it actually has existed), it’s a clear amalgam of lemon in Hebrew (limon) and mint in Arabic (nana), creating a drink word that even chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi could love.
But it’s all about the taste, which is bright and lively and endlessly refreshing. You can find limonana-flavored sorbets and sherbert and the lemon and mint—or even a lime and mint—would be a great foil for a granita.
Light and delicate, this lemony chiffon cake is lovely paired with a minted whipped cream and candied mint.
A few tips:
Superfine sugar, also called caster sugar, is granulated sugar that has been ground into very fine crystals. It dissolves quickly and is excellent for use in drinks, meringues, puddings, candies and lighter baked goods such as angel food cakes. If a recipe specifies superfine sugar, do use it; it makes a difference. If you don’t have any, just grind your granulated sugar in a food processor for 2 minutes, until it is very, very fine.
To make your own mint oil, heat 1 cup canola oil in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, add the mint, and cook for about 5 minutes until the oil is very warm (if you have a candy thermometer, it will read about 180°F). It should not boil or sputter; it is, essentially, poaching. Set up a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a medium-sized mixing bowl. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand until the oil reaches room temperature. Then, using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. (You can also do this in a regular blender.) Pour the blended mixture through the sieve and let it slowly drip through. The oil can used immediately, or kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
When beating egg whites an impeccably clean bowl is a must; even a bit of grease can keep them from firming up to form soft or stiff peaks.
Limonana-Inspired Lemon Chiffon Bundt Cake
For the cake:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine salt
¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp superfine (caster sugar, see Kitchen Tips)
4 large eggs, room temperature, separated
¼ cup good quality olive oil
Zest of 4 lemons (about 2Tbsp )
Juice of 4 lemons (¼ cup)
¼ cup lemon vodka or water
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean pod
½ tsp cream of tartar
For the candied mint leaves:
2 bunches fresh mint leaves
1 egg white
½ cup superfine (caster) sugar
For the mint whipped cream:
½ cup heavy cream or whipping cream
2 Tbsp superfine (caster) sugar, sifted
½ tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
¾ tsp mint oil, store-bought or homemade
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 7-inch bundt pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray and dust it lightly with flour.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ¾ cup of the sugar and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vegetable oil, lemon juice, vodka or water, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture, and whisk for about 1½ minutes, until smooth and thick.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or, if you are using a handheld electric mixer, in a large mixing bowl), beat the egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat for about 1 minute, gradually increasing the speed to high, until soft peaks form (see Kitchen Tips). Gradually add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and beat for about 2½ minutes at high speed until stiff peaks form and the eggs are stiff and almost dry.
Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter and gently stir to lighten the mixture. Add the next third, folding carefully, leaving some white streaks. Add the last third and fold gently until the last white streaks just barely disappear. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top. Bang the pan on the kitchen counter once. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake is golden.
While the cake is baking, make the candied mint leaves (see Kitchen Tips): Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the leaves on it in a single layer, With a pastry brush, brush the leaves very lightly with the egg white. Sprinkle with half the sugar, allow to dry for 5 minutes. Turn the leaves over, brush with the egg white, sprinkle with the remaining sugar and allow to fully dry.
Remove the cake from the oven and gently invert it, still in the pan, onto a cooling rack and let stand until fully cooled and the pan is cool enough to touch. Turn the pan right-side up. Run a knife between the cake and the side of the pan. Place a serving platter that is slightly wider than the pan over the cooled cake, so that the bottom of the platter faces up. Holding the pan with one hand and pressing the plate firmly onto the pan with the other, invert them so that the plate is on the bottom. Lift up the cake pan to reveal the cake.
Just before you are ready to serve, make the whipped cream (see Kitchen Tips): Using a stand mixer, electric mixer or whisk, pour the cream into a mixing chilled bowl. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. (If using an electric or stand mixer, beat the mixture on high for about 60 seconds.) Add the sugar, vanilla, and mint oil to the cream and whip just to combine.
Serve slices of cake garnished with whipped cream and candied mint leaves.
Ah, Manischewitz. We all love to poke fun at the super sweet kosher wine, and yet I think we all secretly love it, Jews and non-Jews alike.
When Passover comes around and we buy a few bottles, I always catch my husband taking a swig right from the bottle. And while I don’t love drinking it, I do love using it in recipes like my Tuscan-style chopped liver, Manischewitz gin smash cocktail and even this retro wine cheese ball.
I also decided to use the empty bottles this year as festive vases. I mean, why not?
But I still had some leftover wine after the Seders were finished. What to do?
I made a BBQ sauce using the last sweet drops and smothered some chicken legs with it. But there are no shortage of ideas for using Manischewitz in ways other than drinking it from the bottle during Passover. Here are just a few of my favorites. And see below for my recipe for Manischewitz chipotle BBQ sauce.
I love when someone I know inspires a new challah creation in my kitchen, and that’s exactly how this marbled rye challah came to be: inspired by a friend and colleague.
This past autumn, Liz Alpern of The Gefilteria said she would like to come over and bake challah with me. Oh, twist my arm. I was very excited and told her we could create a new flavor, anything she wanted. She said she would love to do something “super Ashkenazy,” and so I mentioned I had always wanted to try a marbled rye challah. And so that is just what we did.
I did some research, in fact, a lot of research, and I was shocked and somewhat confused by all the methods and recipes for rye bread. I came across this recipe which included a starter, a method I really wanted to try. Starters, also known as “mother dough”, are probably most well known in sourdough breads. The fermentation of the flour and yeast for an extended amount of time is what gives it a distinct, sour taste.Some mother doughs can even be hundreds of years old.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to wait years or even weeks for the starter in this recipe to develop. The starter for this challah sits just overnight, and while it may seem weird or even gross, it adds a great depth of flavor and slight tang to this challah.
Can you skip this step? Yes absolutely. If you forget to make it the night before, or if it just seems too daunting, don’t worry about it. I tried it both ways, and they were both delicious. Nevertheless, if you are up for the extra step, the starter does add a special depth of flavor.
I’ve always loved deli sandwiches on challah bread, and so this hybrid challah is truly the ideal vessel for some pastrami and mustard.
It’s about this time during the week of Passover – right in the middle of Hol Hamoed, the intermediate days – that all I want to do is shove an enormous pastry or bagel in my mouth. I know Passover isn’t all about the food, but as a baker, I am seriously missing my sweets and carbs.
Last year I was flipping through cookbooks around this time for inspiration and came up with an idea that combined several of my favorite desserts: cheesecake, ganache and macaroons.
This chocolate chip cheesecake is really like making any other cheesecake – but instead of a graham cracker crust, you combine ground almonds, shredded coconut, butter and melted chocolate as the base. I mean, what could be bad? Add in some mini chocolate chips and top it all off with deep dark glossy ganache and this is simply a really beautiful gluten-free dessert you can enjoy all year, but especially right about now during Passover.
When I started eating a mainly Paleo diet I immediately began to think about how to convert some favorite recipes into Paleo recipes. It soon became clear that my now favorite recipes are also perfect for Passover.
This year I am overly cautious about the fact that I have to bring lunch to work multiple days in a row but I am excited to make a batch of these tacos served with guacamole and plantain chips.
Knowing that kitchen supplies are limited during Passover, a few quick things. I use a crock-pot to make this recipe. But give directions for both a crock-pot and a Dutch oven.
This plant based version of chopped liver dip makes a lovely addition to your holiday meal. Mushrooms and walnuts give this dip a unique flavor that everyone will enjoy.
The inspiration behind this recipe was to make a modern and healthy version of this traditional and much beloved Eastern European Jewish dish, I like to serve it with crunchy, fresh celery and matzah crackers.
I am not particularly a traditionalist where Passover food is concerned and yet there is something about coconut macaroons for me. I absolutely must make macaroons when Passover arrives.
But this year a dear friend and fellow cook suggested I try pistachio and apricot as a macaroon flavor. Well, as usual she was right, and they were divine. They are also beautiful – the specks of green and orange from the pistachio and apricot are such a welcome sight as spring nears. These light and sweet cookies will be so pretty as part of any Passover dessert spread. Or for breakfast with coffee, which is how I prefer to enjoy them. And they are ridiculously easy to make.
A few notes: this recipe makes exactly 12 macaroons if you use a standard cookie scoop to make them (which I suggest doing), so if you are making them for a crowd, just double the recipe. To make the ground pistachios, just put whole, unsalted pistachios into a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse for 30 seconds. Do not over-pulse – you don’t want to make pistachio butter.
Ashkenazi-style haroset made with apples, cinnamon, walnuts, and sweet wine may be the haroset many North American Jews grew up eating. But there is a whole other world of harosets out there, quite literally.
Like so many other Jewish foods, each region where Jews have lived developed their own spin on haroset. Some make it with dates, others with dates and raisins, and even others with apples and dates. The symbolism of the dish is perhaps more important than the actual ingredients, which is why you can really make it any way you like.
But if you are looking to try a different recipe this year, pick your favorite region! I tried out this Moroccan haroset and my family loved it. Here are a few others and a short video on how to make this important (and delicious) Passover dish.
VIDEO: How to Make Sephardi Haroset
Brisket. Chicken soup. Chopped liver. These are the traditional foods served at a Passover seder, right? Well what if you’re a vegetarian? Or what if (gd forbid) you just don’t want to eat heavy meat meals two nights in a row, and want to make a healthier choice for your body and the environment?
We get you. And so we wanted to pull together a variety of delicious vegetarian recipes that will make even those brisket-eaters jealous of your non-meat seder. Have other ideas for us? Post below or on our Facebook page!
Soups and Salads
Sure, you’ve got your seder menu all planned. But as the week of Passover continues we can all get bored with leftover chicken soup and potato kugel. And for one lucky Nosher reader we’ve got a delicious opportunity to make the last days of Passover a little easier with a lunch box from Grow and Behold Foods.
Your post-seder Passover menu will get a little more exciting with these items. Or, if you’re traveling, this is a perfect host gift for the holiday. The pack includes: 1lb pastrami (4 packs) 6 burger patties (2 packs) and 1 pack each of hot dogs, merguez, mild chorizo, and spicy chorizo sausages. Your prize will ship or deliver during Chol Ha Moed – just in time for the last days of Passover.
People frequently ask me where they can get quality, sustainably-raised meat and I always recommend Grow and Behold to friends, family and readers. Grow and Behold brings OU Glatt Kosher-certified pastured meats raised on small family farms to people all over the country.They adhere to the strictest standards of kashrut, animal welfare, worker treatment and sustainable agriculture. Their practices make eating meat that much more delicious.
Enter today and make sure to tell your friends! We’ll choose on lucky winner THIS Thursday.