Passover Treats

It’s that time of year again – out with the baguettes, the croissants, the pain au chocolat, in with the matzohs, brisket and macaroons. Somehow giving up these leavened confections seems to much more difficult here in France, but luckily for me I’m headed to London for the first 4 days of Pesach, so I won’t be tempted too much. 

I have never been to London before. Actually, I’ve never been anywhere in England, so when my friend Jess invited me to her home in London for seder, I was thrilled! London is one of those places that I’ve always assumed I would go to but never set my mind on going. Now that I’m finally headed across the channel, I’m really starting to get excited. While I won’t be able to do all my usual culinary samplings because of Passover, I’d say it’s fortunate I’m not coming to Paris for the first time, as missing out on all the boulangeries here would be just sinful.  

All London is straight out of a Harry Potter film, right? 

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite Passover recipes. Hopefully I’ll be able to whip something up before I hop on the train Friday morning or maybe I’ll be able to make something when we arrive 🙂 I’m going to head down to the Marais in a little bit (the Jewish section of Paris) to see what treats they might have on sale now! And I’m sure I’ll have a full update on London next week!

My award winning macaroons 

An easy flourless chocolate torte

Lemon meringue pie

And probably my favorite recipe at all (that I never get around taking pictures of) Caramel Matzoh

Long forgotten, but still remembered

I must apologize for my lack of updates in the recent months. I’ve had a few recent bumps in the road in terms of my health that have kept me from updating as often as I would have liked (take a look here for more information on that side of my life – http://abvdinnyc.wordpress.com/) I’ve been baking a bit here and there still, but with summer upon us, I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things baking-wise!

Instead of backtracking to find all the recipes I’ve used in the past month, I thought I’d just share some pictures that I have taken of my creations. We’ve had a few birthdays in the apartment, Passover, and the usual baking adventures. I also hosted a baking birthday party for some 6 and 7 year olds along with my roommate. It was loads of fun and if anyone is interested in having a baking party, let me know!  With school over in just a few days, my time will be opened up once again to try some new things this summer!

Coconut brownies made during a ski vacation in Vermont. 

Chocolate cake with caramel butter cream, chocolate ganache, and salted praline for my grandfathers birthday. 

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for my grandfathers birthday. 

Adventures in juice making with our lovely new juicer. 

Carrot, pineapple, and apple juice made at home. 

Lemon cheesecake cupcakes with glazed blueberry topping for a roomies birthday party. 

The birthday spread. 

The start of the most amazing meal I had while on spring break in France. 

The most perfect steak. 

Leading a six and seven year old baking birthday party. 
A sugar cookie baking adventure at a birthday party. 

Lemon Lime Bars

Sometimes, you have those nights, when it’s 9:30 pm, you want to bake something, but realize that anything you make is going to take almost an hour from start to finish (unless you make 5-minute cake of course). Well, that happened the other night and instead of settling on something that would actually be done in an hour, my roommates and I settled on lemon bars, which may take 10 minutes to bake, but then take another 2 hours to cool down in the fridge. Whoops! Well, we went forward anyway (actually, I didn’t realize they would have to cool for that long until I was half-way through making them, so there was no turning back).

The outcome – expedited by the freezer – was still delicious. I have a hard time in general with custards and this was no exception. I don’t think I let it heat up for long enough, making the lemon custard a little more liquidy than I would have liked, but after baking and freezing, it turned out just fine. I myself, am not the biggest sour lemon eater, but all my roommates, who suck on lemons as a hobby, said that they were the bars had the perfect balance of sweet and sour. I added coconut into the crust as per the recipe. I’m not sure it added anything to the crust, although mine wasn’t sweetned, so perhaps some sweet coconut would have tasted better and added to the texture. They are a delicious lemon lime bar that should be made in advance of any occasion, not in a rush 😉

LEMON LIME BARS

(Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

INGREDIENTS:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melter

For the lemon lime filling

  • 11 large egg yolks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbs grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbs grated lime zest
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

For the crust:

1) Preheat the oven to 3oo°F. Butter the side and bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2) Spread coconut on baking pan. Toast in oven for 7 to 10 minutes until it turns golden brown. Remove from oven, toss the coconut, and return it to over for 3 more minutes.

3) Put the graham cracker crumbs in large bowl, add the toasted coconut and brown sugar, and toss with hand until combined. Add the melted butter.

4) Use hands to combine, then turn it out into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the crust into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to create a perfectly even crust.

5) Put the crust into the fridge for 15 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Let the crust cool before adding the filling.

For the lemon lime filling:

1) Increase over temperature to 325°F.

2) Whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon and lime zests, and lemon and lime juices in large metal pot. Whisk until combined.

3) Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 180°F on a candy thermometer – about 10 minutes.

4) Remove from heat and whisk in butter and cream. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the cooled crust. Use a rubber spatula to press the curd through the sieve.

5) Make sure the curd is evenly distributed. Tap the pan gently against the counter to make a level layer.

6) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the filling is just set. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Wrap the pan in plastic, being sure to not let the plastic touch the filling, and put in fridge for at least two hours.

7) Enjoy 🙂

Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (less if you are using the thinner topping), or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Passover Preparations

Passover is right around the corner – Monday evening to be exact – and I’m getting ready! Today I went out and bought matzah, soup mix, coconut, and my favorite thing about this time of year – coconut covered marshmallows!!! They don’t make them any other time of year except for now and I am obsessed. Usually I don’t think that kosher marshmallows are that good, but these are just amazing!

Anyway. First night seder I plan on going to the Bronfman Center here on campus to connect with some other university Jews and second night I plan on heading up town for a nice big seder with the whole family. Not quite sure what I’m going to make yet, but here are a few of my favorite Passover treats…

MACAROONS – This is my signature recipe – one of my favorite things to make.

CHOCOLATE COVERED CARAMEL MATZAH – This is a great recipe if you’re in a rush, but still want a yummy dessert for your Passover table.

CHOCOLATE MERINGUE COOKIES

(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

2) Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.

3) Slowly add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form, and mixture becomes glossy. Fold in cocoa and chocolate chips.

4) Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Macaroons

My dearest step-sister, Sarah, recently broke her arm, so to help her in her healing process I decided to make her some cookies. Baking for Sarah is slightly complicated because she does not it wheat, so I had to make something that didn’t require flour, since honestly, I think the gluten-free flour just tastes nasty. So the perfect cookie of course was macaroons because they have no flour in them. I make these often because they are so incredibly easy to make and because they always turn out so delicious. I decided to put the chocolate on the bottom this time because the bottoms were a little sticky because I was worried that they were going to stick to the box I sent them in. All in all they turned out great and I just put them in the mail – so hopefully they will get to Sarah soon for her to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 7 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp sweetened condensed coconut
  • 2/3 cup egg white ( about 4-5)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon coconut or almost extract (I used vanilla because that was all we had on hand)
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 325 degrees. Grease several baking sheets
  2. Spread the coconut out on a baking sheet and toast for 7-9 minutes until just browned
  3. In a large bowl, stir coconut and condensed milk until well blended
  4. In a seperate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  5. Add sugar to eggs, mixing thoroughly, followed by the vanilla extract. Keep beating until stiff peaks form – about 2 minutes
  6. Fold coconut mixture into the egg
  7. Drop coconut mixture onto prepared cookie sheet using 1/4 cup measuring cup – or really any size you want them to be.
  8. Bake on the middle oven rack for 13-18 minutes or until lightly tinged brown
  9. Transfer to wire rack and let cool

Dipping:

  1. In a double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter
  2. Dip macaroons in chocolate, mixes every few to keep the chocolate smooth
  3. Place dipped macaroons on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate until chocolate is set
  4. Serve at room temperature