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

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Lemon Meringue Pie

This past weekend, there were two birthdays in my suite. One on Friday and my roommates on Sunday. As joint venture between the two, we had a lovely little party on Saturday night. Since they are both known to like a little lemon, I decided to try a lemon meringue pie since I have never made one and I bought a tart pan weeks ago that I have been dying to use.

Since it’s still Passover, I decided to make a tart crust with cake meal, so that I would be able to eat it as well. After much research, and finally discovering that the cake meal box itself gave me the answer, I ventured into tart making territory knowing that I could subsititute 5/8 cup of cake meal for every 1 cup of regular flour. I found that the cake meal made the crust much more crumbly, so I wasn’t able to roll it out, but had to press it into the tart pan bit by bit. I know that this is a big no-no when making pie dough as it can cause shrinkage, but I had no choice.

Making lemon meringue pie is definitely a two day process unless you have ALL DAY to make it. On Friday I made the crust and curd and refrigerated it over night. I made the meringue the next afternoon, but it in the fridge again and it was perfect for serving later that evening. 10 minutes gave me the perfect brown over the meringue, but make sure the meringue stretches all the way to crust, or else it will start to shrink. I think it was a big hit for both the birthday girls and all the guests. I am definitely going to try it again after Passover with an actual flour crust, but it still makes an excellent Pesach treat 🙂

LEMON MERINGUE PIE

(Adapted from joyofbaking.com and ME)

DIRECTIONS:

crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I substituted 1 cup of cake meal)
  • 1/8-teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

lemon curd:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons) (do not use the bottled lemon juice)
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

meringue:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

INSTRUCTIONS:

crust:

1) In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and salt.  Set aside.

2) Place the butter in your mixer and beat until softened.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated.  Don’t over mix or the butter will separate and lighten in color.

3) Add flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball.  Don’t overwork or pastry will be hard when baked.

4) Flatten dough into disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until firm.

5) Have ready an 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) tart pan with removable bottom.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11 – 12 inch (28 – 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick.  To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness). To make sure it is the right size, take your tart pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out pastry.  The pastry should be about an inch larger than pan. (I had much issue with using cake flour. If you do use cake flour, you can try using cake flour, otherwise, I just pressed pieces into the tart pan)

6) When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll.  Unroll onto top of tart pan.  Never pull pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan).

7) Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan.  Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry.  With a thumb up movement, again press dough into pan.  Roll rolling pin over top again to get rid of any extra pastry.

8 ) Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes).

9) Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten in the flour.

10) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.  Line unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

11) Fill tart pan with pie weights, rice or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface.

12) Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly golden brown.

lemon curd:

1) While the crust is baking make the Lemon Curd.

2) In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended.  Cook, whisking constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes pale in color and quite thick. This will take about 10 minutes.

3) Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps.

4) Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted.

5) Add the lemon zest.  Immediately pour the lemon curd into the baked crust and smooth the top.

6) Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

7) Bake the tart for about 10 minutes or until the lemon curd is firm but still a little wobbly in the center.  Do not let it brown or burn.

meringue:

1) In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form.

2) Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

3) Using a spoon, place dollops of the meringue over the entire surface of the hot lemon curd, starting at the outside edge of the tart.  (Make sure the meringue comes right up to the crust and there are no gaps between the crust and the lemon curd.)

4) Then, with the back of your spoon, gently press down on the meringue to get rid of any air pockets and to make sure all the lemon curd is covered with the meringue.  If desired, swirl the meringue making a few decorative peaks.

5) Return the tart to the oven and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the meringue has nicely browned.

6) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool, away from any drafts.  When cool, serve or else cover and refrigerate.

Flour-less Chocolate Torte

Second day into Pesach and I’m not sick of matzo yet. That being said, I haven’t eaten that much so far, so I guess I shouldn’t speak too soon.  I’ve been sticking to fruits and veggies as snacks and had a nice big salad for lunch yesterday. I’m going to try and make matzo ball soup later on this week for my roommates and am figuring out some good Pesach safe cake recipes for a birthday party this weekend.

For my seder last night at my uncle’s apartment uptown, I made a few things. I made chocolate caramel matzo, which I spoke of in the previous post and I also made a flour-less chocolate torte. The matzo I had made before, so it was pretty easy, but I was a little worried about the torte since I had never made anything like it and obviously because I never quite trust my oven. My fears were not needed because it came out just fine. The egg whites made is much more puffy then I anticipated and I almost thought it was going to go over the pan in the oven, but it didn’t and after I took it out of the oven, it sunk a good inch and a half. This will definitely be a go-to Pesach dessert treat from now on.

Per the original post, you can make raspberry sauce for the torte, but due to time constraints and the exorbandant cost of raspberries these days, I opted not to and stuck with a simple powder sugar dusting over the top. We also had fruit salad, and really delicious meringue/macaroon chocolate cookies. I think I might have eaten more dessert than dinner itself 🙂

PASSOVER CHOCOLATE TORTE

(adapted from epicurous.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted kosher-for-Passover pareve (non-dairy) margarine
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Powder sugar for dusting

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with parchment paper.

2) Stir chocolate and margarine in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool until lukewarm.

3) Using electric mixer, beat yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl until pale and very thick, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture in 2 additions and beat until well blended.

4) Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until whites are stiff but not dry.

5) Fold 1/3 of whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

6) Bake torte until crust forms on top and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist batter and some moist crumbs still attached, about 55 minutes (top may crack).

7) Run small sharp knife around torte to loosen. Cool in pan on rack (torte will fall and crack). Remove pan sides. Invert torte onto platter. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.)


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