BEYOND CHICKEN SOUP
No sooner than the final crumbs of hamantashen are consumed, my attention turns to the next holiday and its desserts. What's helpful is that this part of the Passover seder meal can successfully be prepared beforehand and then frozen. The last thing I want to do on the days of heavy-duty Passover cooking is worry about putting together time-consuming desserts.
From one Pesach to the next, I am subconsciously collecting ideas and recipes for flourless cakes, tortes, cookies and other sweets. I very rarely bake these days — just for holidays and other special occasions — but when it comes to Passover, it seems that my mixer, food processor and ovens work overtime.
There is something about the coming holiday meal's endings that are enticing to a baker because of their challenging nature. No flour or yeast — the very ingredients that are fundamental to any good pastry — are proscribed; thus, creativity and experimentation come into play.
Lots of eggs, ground nuts, matzah cake meal and potato starch are used as substitutes in the following cakes.
For freezing, remember to let cakes or cookies first cool completely. Wrap first in plastic, then in foil, making the cake or tart airtight. Flash-freeze cookies by placing on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen. Then place in a zippered plastic freezer bag.
Make sure all the air is out of the bag by squeezing it tightly.
Mocha Truffle Cake
(Dairy or Pareve)
- 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
11/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup very hot espresso or strong coffee
3/4 lb. butter or margarine, room temperature
6 eggs, room temperature
Glaze Ingredients (optional):
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 oz. butter or margarine
12 chocolate-covered coffee beans
Heat oven to 350°.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Cover the bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter the paper.
In a food processor, grind the chocolate with the sugar.
While motor is running, pour in the hot espresso. Process until chocolate is completely melted, about 15 seconds. With a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the butter and process until incorporated.
Add the eggs and process until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 6 seconds. Pour batter in prepared pan and bake about 55 minutes. Cool in pan about 30 minutes, then remove from pan.
To Make Glaze: Melt chocolate and butter over low heat until smooth and shiny. Let cool about 15 minutes, then pour over cooled cake. Place coffee beans around the edges. Let cake and glaze cool completely, then freeze.
Almond Macaroon Cake
- 41/2 cups sliced almonds
11/2 cups, plus 2 Tbsps., confectioners' or granulated sugar
6 egg whites
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Heat oven to 350°.
Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. Grease paper.
Add 3/4 cup of sliced almonds and rotate pan to coat the bottom.
In a food processor, grind the remaining nuts with the 11/2 cups sugar and lemon zest.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add remaining sugar gradually and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the nut mixture carefully. Pour into prepared pan. Smooth the top.
Bake in middle of the oven until the top is brown and the center springs back when touched lightly. Place on a rack to cool.
Remove sides and invert cake so sliced almonds are on top.
Serve with fresh berries or fruit compote.
- 3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup matzah meal
1 cup matzah farfel
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°.
Beat the sugar, oil and eggs until well-combined.
Add the matzah meal, farfel and remaining ingredients.
Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until cookies look done.
Let cool and freeze as directed above.
Makes about 3 dozen.
Louise Fiszer is a California cooking teacher and food writer. Among the six books she's co-authored is Jewish Holiday Feasts.