Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Debbi does Passover

Wow, I haven't written in here in a while-sorry I've been slacking! In an attempt to get in writing mode to start my philosophy essay (ya, right-more like procrastinating further) I decided I should sit down and fill ya’ll in on what I’ve been baking and making lately. Though this post will primarily focus on my delicious Passover desserts I’ll also mention my conquests prior to Passover!

My last post followed Rachel’s goodbye party that I baked for over spring break, but her party desserts were the least of my spring baking extravaganza. During the course of the one week I was home I managed to crank out not only the red velvet cupcakes, peanut butter bars, and cream cheese frosting but also homemade whipped cream, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cup cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, two angel food cakes, and a challah. Exhausting? Absolutely not! More like refreshing. I only have pictures of the peanut butter cup cookies, but everything was incredible.
The peanut butter cup cookies were absolute heaven.

Now onto Passover. The first Seder (big feast to welcome the holiday) fell on Monday night and I celebrated in San Antonio with Louis’ family. In order to show my gratitude and contribute to the meal I made a flourless chocolate cake (one of my favorite desserts year round) as well as caramel and chocolate covered matzah. To say that these desserts were a hit is an understatement. Everyone loved them, and they perfectly complemented the incredible meal that Louis’ mother made for everyone. No exaggerating when I say that it was quite possibly one of the best and most fun seders I’ve attended. Just because I’m still in awe over the fish that Louis’ mom made, I have to mention it. It was the most simply delectable salmon. All she topped it with was a little brown sugar and orange for acidity. I know that this sounds like it would be super sweet, but it wasn’t. These flavors perfectly balanced the fishiness of the salmon, making it an absolute treat for me as a non-meat eater. As everyone else consumed the brisket (which, not gonna lie, I was definitely salivating over…) I enthusiastically gobbled up my fish. For the second seder Marcie invited a gaggle of us over, and her family put on one of the most festive seders ever. There was music, games, and DELISH food to put everyone in a merry mood. Though I intended to bring my desserts to her seder also, I had a brain fart and forgot to buy pareve margarine (rather than butter-my favorite) at the grocery store, and was unable to contribute because it would have been dairy. Alas, I e-mailed her family my recipe and they knocked the cake outta the park-soooo good. Thank you both to the Stahl and Kirschner family for including me in your celebrations-they were wonderful!

Ok, back to the desserts. Flourless chocolate cake and the caramel and chocolate covered matzah are not only delicious Passover desserts, but also mind-numbingly simple. The matzah has 7 ingredients and the flourless chocolate cake has 5-all of which are bound to be laying around the kitchen. I’m posting both recipes because they both add something special to Passover when flavorless food reigns. This year, change it up. Even if it means more sugar than you’re comfortable with, at least you’ll be consuming something way more appetizing than a Passover boxed cake mix or store bought gummy fruit (I’ll admit-I’m a total sucker for the fruit slices-only the orange ones, though!) and EVERYONE you know will be appreciative. Rather than hoarding all of it for yourself make up gift bags to bring to friends, and wish all your loved ones a hag sameach with something sweet and decadent!

First, the flourless chocolate cake:
Adapted from a recipe on
1 cup butter, cubed (or pareve margarine for a pareve cake)
8 oz semisweet chocolate (Kosher for Passover variety)
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan, and line with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in chocolate, and continue to stir until almost melted. Remove from heat, and stir until melted and smooth. In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cups sugar and the cocoa powder. Whisk in the eggs until well blended, then whisk in the chocolate and butter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes in the preheated oven. The cake is ready when the edges have nicely puffed and the surface is firm except for a small spot in the center that will jiggle when the pan is gently shaken. Cool cake in the pan over a wire rack. Run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, then remove the sides of the pan, and invert onto a serving plate. Remove the parchment paper.
End product-DELICIOUS!
Caramel and chocolate covered matzah:
A recipe from David Lebovitz
4 to 6 sheets unsalted matzohs
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (215g) firmly-packed light brown sugar
big pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (160g) semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate)
1 cup (80g) toasted sliced almonds (optional)

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17", 28 x 42cm) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.
  3. In a 3-4 quart (3-4l) heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350F (175C) degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it's not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325F (160C), then replace the pan.
  5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
  6. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.
  7. Let cool completely, the break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
The finished matzah-so so so good (not an adjective I typically use to describe matzah)

Ps-I'm about to embark on making a matzah grilled cheese...could either be an innovative, delicious meal or a disaster. I'll let you know next post!

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