Creating a delicious Passover dessert could seem a daunting task. No wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, corn or yeast allowed. And some go so far as to not include dairy either. But that doesn’t mean your dessert must be dry and lacking in flavor. Nor does it mean you’re stuck eating the same old coconut macaroons and flourless chocolate cake.
Change things up this year and bring some fresh tastes to your Seder. These dessert recipes are sure to be a hit.
Honey Nut Cake in Soaking Syrup
Adapted from Epicurious
If you like Baklava, you’ll love this cake! Rich and nutty and sweet – a little goes a long way.
¾ c sugar
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c vegetable oil
3 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ c matzoh cake meal
½ c finely chopped pistachios
1 c finely chopped walnuts
2/3 c sugar
¼ c honey
1/3 c orange juice
¼ c water
1 Tbs lemon juice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 7-inch round layer cake pan (if you do not have one, you can use a round foil pan of the same or similar size available in the supermarket baking aisle).
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, using a wire whisk, beat the granulated and brown sugars with the oil and eggs until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Stir in the remaining batter ingredients. Turn the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is light brown and set. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the Soaking Syrup.
In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients. Heat to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes syrupy. Cool well.
Pour the cooled syrup over the cooled cake, poking holes in the cake with a fork, to permit the syrup to penetrate. Allow it to stand for 2 to 4 hours to absorb the syrup. (Refrigerate this cake so that while it is absorbing the liquid, it is also firming up. This makes it easier to cut.)
Two-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse
Source: Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor
Believe it or not, you can achieve a flawless, creamy mousse with just chocolate and water!
¾ c water
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (use the best you can buy)
whipped cream (optional; for serving)
Simply pour water into a saucepan. Then, over medium-low heat, whisk in the chocolate. The result is a homogenous sauce.
Put the saucepan in a bowl partly filled with ice cubes (or pour into another bowl over the ice -- it will chill faster), then whisk the chocolate sauce, either manually with a whisk or with an electric mixer (if using an electric mixer, watch closely -- it will thicken faster). Whisking creates large air bubbles in the sauce, which steadily thickens. After a while strands of chocolate form inside the loops of the whisk. Pour or spoon immediately into ramekins, small bowls or jars and let set.
Note: Three things can go wrong. Here's how to fix them. If your chocolate doesn't contain enough fat, melt the mixture again, add some chocolate, and then whisk it again. If the mousse is not light enough, melt the mixture again, add some water, and whisk it once more. If you whisk it too much, so that it becomes grainy, this means that the foam has turned into an emulsion. In that case simply melt the mixture and whisk it again, adding nothing.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream if desired.
Cardamom Apple Almond Cake
Since confectioner’s sugar contains corn starch and is not Kosher for Passover, this recipe involves making your own – an easy step when you own a coffee grinder.
Vegetable oil for greasing pan
½ c matzo meal (not cake meal), plus extra for dusting
1 c. slivered almonds, toasted
½ tsp salt
scant ½ tsp ground cardamom
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c sugar
2 granny smith apples, peeled and coarsely grated
1/3 c sugar
½ tsp potato starch
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Oil springform pan and dust with matzo meal, knocking out excess.
Pulse almonds in a food processor with 1/2 cup matzo meal, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cardamom until finely ground. (Be careful not to pulse to a paste.)
Beat yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until smooth, then add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating, and beat until mixture is very thick and pale, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in nut mixture, then apples. Beat whites and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, beating, and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir one fourth of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Scrape batter into pan and rap pan once on work surface to eliminate any large air bubbles.
Bake cake until puffed, browned, and top springs back when touched, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely in pan (cake will sink slightly in center). Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then remove side of pan.
Make powdered sugar:
Grind sugar in coffee/spice grinder until powdered, then stir together with potato starch in a bowl. Sift some of sugar over cake before serving and reserve remainder for another use.
Almond Macaroon Torte with Chocolate Frosting
Source Smitten Kitchen
Is it a cake or is a candy bar? You decide!
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces or 300 grams) slivered almonds (or an equivalent weight of blanched, sliced or already ground almonds)
1 cup (196 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (37 grams) sugar
2 large pinches kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg whites
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Flavoring of your choice, such as 1/2 teaspoon orange oil or extract, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, almond or other extract
20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (61% or less is recommended, I think it would also be great with 72%, a nice bitter contrast to the sweet macaroons), chopped or chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted (at 350°F for 7 to 9 minutes on a tray, stirring once or twice)
Position an oven rack in the top and lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Draw two 12 x 4-inch rectangles, spacing 2 inches apart on a piece of parchment paper, then two more of the same size on a second sheet. In total, you’ll use 2 sheets of parchment paper and draw 4 rectangles. Turn each sheet of parchment over (so your ink or pencil lines don’t seep into the macaroon) and spray with nonstick spray.
Place almonds, 1 cup sugar and coarse salt in a food processor (you can skip the food processor, however, if you use an equivalent weight of almond meal or ground almonds, just mixing the ingredients in a bowl) with vanilla bean seeds, if using (you’ll add liquid extract in a bit) and blend until finely ground.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large, dry bowl with clean beaters (or a whisk attachment) until soft peaks form. Drizzle in vanilla extract (if using), then slowly add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Beat until stiff but not dry. Fold nut mixture into egg whites. Spread 1/4 of macaroon batter evenly within each rectangle, filling completely.
Bake macaroon layers until golden and almost firm to the touch in the center, reversing sheets halfway through. Check in on yours at 23 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter if they’re not done yet.
Cool macaroons on their sheets on a cooling rack.
Simmer 1/2 cup of water and sugar in a medium saucepan until sugar dissolves. Measure 10 tablespoons from this and either discard the rest of save it for another use. Put the 10 tablespoons syrup back in the saucepan and add flavoring of your choice. Bring the syrup back to a boil and add chocolate to the saucepan. Remove from heat and let sit for one minute, then stir the chocolate until smooth. This should yield a medium-thick frosting, good for spreading. If yours is on the thin side, you can let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes until it is a good spreading consistency.
If needed due to spreading, carefully trim your macaroon layers back to their intended rectangular sizes.
Place one macaroon layer on a long platter. (Slipping little pieces of parchment or waxed paper under the edges will help keep your platter clean; you pull them out when you’re done frosting the torte.) Spread 1/2 cup frosting evenly over. Top with another macaroon layer. Spread 1/2 cup frosting evenly over. Repeat 1 more time then top with last macaroon layer, flat side up. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of torte. Press sliced almonds onto sides of torte.
Honey, cinnamon and citrus combine to give these pears a delicious flavor and elegant presentation.
6 cups sweet red wine
2/3 c honey
2/3 c sugar
6 Tbs lemon juice
¼ c orange juice
4 cinnamon sticks
6 medium firm, ripe pears
1 Tbs orange zest
Combine wine, honey, lemon juice, orange juice and cinnamon sticks in a sauce pot and bring to a simmer.
While the poaching liquid heats, peel the pears in straight, continuous strokes from the stem end to the base using a Y-shaped peeler. Cut a small slice from the bottom of each pear so that they can stand upright.
Add pears to liquid, cover the pot, and simmer, turning occasionally, until the pears start to become tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow pears to cool in the poaching liquid, approximately 1 hour. Serve immediately, or for darker coloration, transfer to refrigerator for up to 24 hours, turning the pears occasionally.
To serve, pool poaching liquid as desired in center of dessert plate or shallow bowl. Stand pear in the center of the plate. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon orange zest.