Friday, April 6, 2012

pesach-licious a collection of favorite passover desserts and recipes

Over the years between my stint as a pastry chef in the 1980's and our extensive catering experience around the world, we have collected, created and adapted many Passover friendly recipes.

Here are a few that we have shared before collected in one place on this our newest blog
and we've even added some new additions to the rooster.

Let's start with desserts
... since they are always FUN!

Chocolate Orange Mousse
Piped on Dark Chocolate Spoons
I recently posted my signature triple chocolate threat cake recipe 
that is perfect for Passover on another blog post
about Passover catering in NYC at the Actor's Temple.

If you look at that recipe,
here we have used Chef Andrew Alexander-Crossan's
chocolate- orange mousse recipe
Passover Dessert Quartet
Fresh Raspberry Mousse Shooters, Chocolate Orange Mousse Spoons,
Apricot Piped with Rosewater Marscapone  + Sugar Glazed Pesach Macaroon

for a plated dessert quartet for an intimate
sit down Passover celebration
at a client's loft apartment in Chelsea last year.

lovely vignette of passover desserts

My Beloved Grandmother, Ella B. Glick's 
Favorite Passover Cake Recipe

Family Heirloom Recipe:  

Magical Passover Citrus Sponge Cake 

the "magic" is in the memories...

Throughout my life experiences, 
Food and Family are tied together in a way 
that creates sensory memories
and everlasting bonds.  

Can you see the splatters of love 
in the recipe pictured above.??

For me, looking beyond the splatters, 
I  recognize my mom's 
beautiful penmanship  and notice  
my grandmother added notes
in her handwriting, clear and concise from many years of 
teaching in NYC elementary schools, and 
am instantly transported to the kitchen at 125 Ann Street, 
where this recipe was produced year after year after year 
and to the beautifully set mahogany dining room table 
with sparkling crystal wine glasses, heirloom china, 
polished silver cutlery and crisp linens, 
where ultimately this magical cake was consumed

Closing my eyes I can still conjure up the smell 
and taste of this wonderful 
Passover Sponge cake lovingly baked 
by my beloved "Gram"  Ella B. Glick.

- A  Passover Sponge Cake 
that is a simple masterpiece.
... feather light, eggy and  redolent of 
fresh orange and lemon zest...
I  joyfully share with you 
the original splattered recipe 
- complete with cherished memories 
of family and LOVE..
Happy Pesach - may all your family celebrations and memories be as 
wonderful and fragrant as my Grandma Ella's Passover holiday sponge cake. 

Grandma Ella's Passover Sponge Cake
with Meyer Lemon Zest, Almond Meal + Walnuts

Aunt Fifi's Blintz Cupcakes

Recipe for Blintz Cupcakes
- courtesy of  caterbuzz buddy and good friend,
Mimi Markofsky, Elite Kosher Catering, West Bloomfield,  Michigan

 BLINTZ CUPCAKES (great dessert or breakfast during the  PASSOVER season)

1 pound cottage cheese

2 ounces margarine or butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup matzo cake meal, scant

4 eggs, beaten

1. Mix all ingredients together except eggs;
then add eggs. Grease muffin tins.

2. Fill tins 3/4 full; bake 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes if using large muffin tins.
Smaller muffin tins will require less time.

    • Lisa's Notes:

  • Serve topped with sour cream and/or preserves/jelly/jam or fresh fruit. 
  • Freezes beautifully, individually wrapped.  
  • Defrost overnight in refrigerator and warm in oven to refresh for 10 - 15 minutes
  • Can be served warm or at room temperature - my preference is warm.
  • font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">We have made byte sized but watch out not to overcook - they are best at regular muffin size or larger.  
chocolate walnut epiphany cookies

This fabulous toasted walnut chocolate cookie recipe comes from the Luna Cafe Blogsite, and is an adaptation of a Payard recipe.  Ever since stumbling across it several years ago has been a favorite year round but is perfect for Passover since it is a flour less cookie - basically a no whip meringue.  

The photo above is from a Buddhist event we catered for an artist client of cuisinEtc a few years ago in her Soho Loft - These cookies have the ability to change your attitude - if made correctly - important to follow all the instructions that Susan Bradley so generously offers, including but not limited to using the best cocoa you can find - 

These are best slightly under baked (unless you are the crunchy cookie type) and a reminiscent of a really decadent brownie that did not come out of a box mix!

For Passover, if you strictly follow the "rules", Hershey's Cocoa may be your best option as "Kosher for Passover" but once Passover is over, look for a more sophisticated brand and notice the taste difference.  Recommended brands include Organic Black and Green, Sharfenberger California Cocoa, anything from Belgium and Lindt Swiss Cocoa.

We recently made these using a cocoa we had from Penzey Spices and generally we love their products, but compared to the ones we had made using French cocoa we brought back from a trip to France, the difference was quite noticeable!  Of course if you didn't know better they would still be good but perhaps not an epiphany!

This year the culinary team of CuisinEtc Catering + Events decided to make a variation of the chocolate cookie and created the chocolate coconut cherry chewie .  We substituted toasted coconut for toasted walnuts, and enveloped a fresh cherry in syrup into the cookie dough before baking.  It created a very different cookie than the epiphany - a nice variation for a passover coconut cookie - next time we will try it with coconut chips instead of sweetened coconut and see how that works.
chocolate coconut cherry chewies

color sugar glazed passover meringues

beaten egg whites, granulated sugar, pinch of salt, fold, pipe, sprinkle with colored sugar, bake and away we go.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Yield: 24-30 small meringues
  • 4 large egg whites,
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Separate eggs. Place egg whites in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on high speed for 5 minutes.
3. With the machine running the entire time, sprinkle in the sugar a little at a time as you beat on medium high speed for 10-12 minutes. When you lift the beaters, the meringue should hold its shape and be shiny. 
4. With a spatula, fold in the vanilla until just mixed
5. Roll down the top of the Ziploc bag, 2 or 3 rolls. This will make a cuff on the outside of the bag. Using a spatula, transfer the meringue from the mixing bowl into the bag. Unroll the cuff and twist the top a few times, to close the bag and force the meringue into the bottom of the bag. (you can also use a piping bag with a star tube)
6. Using scissors, snip a very small corner off of the bag. 
    Squeeze 1 1/2 inch circles of meringue onto the cookie sheets. 
    If it is coming out too slowly, snip the hole a little bigger. 
    If you squeeze slowly and then pull the tip up you will get a pretty top.
7. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired - we like blue for the Jewish holidays
8. Place into the oven and bake for 2 hours.
9. Turn oven off and partially leave oven door open.
    Leave meringues in oven for at least another hour.
10. Remove from oven and carefully remove from paper. 
    If they stick at all, return them to the oven for another 30 minutes to finish drying out. 
    Cool completely on oven racks. Store in an airtight container.
classic meringues dusted with blue sugar

hand formed coconut pyramid macaroons
Rochers à la Noix de Coco
Rochers à la Noix de Coco
-       250 grams (9 ounces) sweetened dried coconut flakes
-       (1/2 cup ) sugar 
-       a fat pinch of fine sea salt

-       3 medium egg whites
Makes about 32.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C and prepare a baking pan with parchment paper.
Combine the coconut, sugar, and sea salt in a medium bowl. 
Add egg whites and mix well using a fork.
Scoop out rounded tablespoonfuls of this mixture and shape them into pyramids with your fingers; hint, have a bowl of water by your side to moisten fingers as well as clean them.  Of course start by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water.  Since the cookies are baked and any stray germs will be killed in the oven (no that does not mean sneeze on the pan), bare hands are essential to form the right shape.  Some find this too tedious and just make simple balls but the ridges that the pyramids form, not only create delicious contrast of crunchy to creamy, brown to white, but also remind us of the days of slavery in Egypt and how we must always fight oppression.
Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden at the edges. Let set on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, and transfer to a rack to cool completely.
The pyramids keep for a 3-4  days, stored at room temperature in an airtight container.  Can also be frozen in air tight container, defrost overnight and serve.

It's a nice touch to dip the bottoms in dark chocolate - dipped in chocolate, the taste is reminiscent of a homemade mounds bar.

Passover Spinach and Potato Matzo Pie
at the Actor's Temple NYC

Serves: 8 to 10 

Matzo pies, called minas, are common at the Sephardi Seder table. 
Minas consist of layered matzos, vegetables and cheese.
      8 medium potatoes (we think about 3#)
      20- 24 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
      1 bunch  scallions, thinly sliced and chopped
      1 # ricotta cheese,
      Juice of 1 lemon
      Salt and hot pepper flakes to taste
      1/2 cup roasted garlic 
   olive oil to saute spinach
      6 to 8 matzos
      2 cups (about 1#) grated mild white cheese, plus 1/2 cup extra for topping
such as  pepato, mozzarella, provolone, Monterey jack or white cheddar  
(we used a mixture of half  feta and half pepato) 
Bake or microwave the potatoes in their skins until tender; cool. 
Peel and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Sauté the well sqeezed out spinach with roasted garlic, 
salt and hot pepper flakes.  Let cool slightly

In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, scallions, ricotta cheese, lemon juice,

Soak the matzos in warm water in a shallow container until pliable but not mushy, about 2 minutes; drain. Lightly oil two 9- by 9-inch casserole dishes; line the bottoms with a layer of pliable matzos. Layer each with the spinach mixture, potato slices, more matzos and 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used. top with sprinkling of  cheese.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes. (may need to cover to start with so cheese doesn’t get too overdone or sprinkle cheese towards end.  Can be held in low oven or in cambro.

Cut into squares to serve. 


Spice Route Carrot, Zucchini and Quinoa (dairy, parve)

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed well, drained
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries or golden raisons
  • 1/2 -1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup  olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, julienned or cut into circles
  • 2 medium zucchini, trimmed, julienned cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • juice of fresh limes or lemons to taste
  • 1/2 - 2/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Combine water, quinoa, raisons and salt in large heavy bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a boil using medium high flame.  Reduce to medium low, top with cover and simmer until water has absorbed and quinoa is tender - approximately 20-25 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking, heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat.  Add carrots, toss and saute until tender 2-3 minutes, then add zucchini, and cook briefly 1-2 minutes  (be careful not to overcook), stirring or tossing the vegetable mixture.  Stir in paprika, cinnamom, and cumin, then add quinoa to skillet and season with salt and pepper.  This can be done one day ahead.

Transfer to baking casserole dish or hotel pan.  Cover and chill.  Rewarm, covered in 350 degree oven for about 15-18 minutes.  Mix in cilantro, grate the zest of the lemon or lime over the mixture and squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice, stir and serve.

Egg Battered Zucchini Roulade 
Stuffed with Sicilian Spinach

Thinly slice planks of zucchini on mandolin  or slicer.

Lightly beat eggs to make egg wash.

Dredge zucchini in egg wash and sautee in vegetable oil until lightly golden crust forms.

Let cool to room temperature, blotting on paper towels, 
can stack up without problems.

Sauteed defrosted squeezed out spinach in olive oil,  add chopped olives of choice (we used a tapenade we had made with pitted california olives (a secret pleasure), pimento stuffed green oives + marinated artichokes), and sautee.   Caramelize onions separately and once cool, mix together with rondele cheese and shredded mozzarella or provolone.  This will be the stuffing for the roulades.

Place a small scoop of stuffing at one end of the battered plank and roll up.

Place seam side down in rows closely packed in a shallow hotel pan or casserole dish.
Can refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze a few weeks ahead.

Place in oven at 325 for 20-25 minutes to melt the cheese and warm through. 

Can be served hot or at room temperature. 

these zucchini spinach roulades
taste as good as they look,
try the methodology and see if you agree

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