Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ethnic Flavor: Passover Roundup (Part I)

So, I thought I was going to be all ahead of the game and make and post about all my Passover desserts before the first seder.  However, the oven gods were conspired against me, and our oven died on Saturday night.  Luckily, we have a very generous neighbor who allowed us to kasher her extra oven for Passover, but by then we were many hours behind.  These desserts just made it under the wire.  However, there are still five more days of the holiday, which is more than enough time to try some of these desserts.  Without further ado, I present the Passover dessert roundup, Part I.

Mixed Berry Crisp from Couldn't Be Parve

This is one delicious dessert.  And it is so easy!  All you do is mix together a few pounds of fruit (Shoshana uses strawberries and rhubarb, we used a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries) with a few other things, top with a basic crumble topping and cook.  Yum!  Everyone at the seder loved it and the leftovers have been just as good.  It would be delicious with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if you are having a dairy meal (or don't keep kosher).  You can find the recipe here.  Even if you think you are not a cook or a baker, you can make this...and you should!  Brooke is going to try making it with apples.  Perhaps she will leave a comment letting us know how it turned out.

Fallen Chocolate Souffle Cake from Baking and Books

This cake was good, but I think I overcooked it, and so it would have been a lot better if that had not happened (remember I was working with an unfamiliar oven).  It was very light, which was nice after the seder, unlike flourless chocolate cakes which tend to be heavy.  It puffed up nicely in the oven and fell when I took it out, but after a dusting of powdered sugar, it was very pretty.  The orange flavor from the zest (I skipped the alcohol) was very subtle the first day, and intensified as the days went on.  I liked the combination of flavors, but if you don't like orange and chocolate, this cake might not be for you after the first day.  You can find the recipe here.

Success Cake from My Most Favorite Dessert Company Cookbook

I think this needs to be renamed -- failure cake.  The meringue part went fine, and then it came to the buttercream.  I don't know if it is because of the differences between Passover and regular margarine (the recipe was written to be non-dairy) but the frosting would not come together.  It looked disgusting -- like cottage cheese that had been on the counter too long.  I tried three times and it had the same problem each time.  I don't know if it was the margarine or the fact that the recipe called for sugar syrup to be heated to 240 degrees, which seemed too hot in my experience, but it was a total failure.  In the end, I just cut up the large pieces of meringue into smaller cookies, which didn't look pretty but tasted good.  I am posting the recipe just for the meringues, since the frosting was so terrible.  I have made other things from this book and they have been fine, so I think it was just Passover or something.

Success Cake Meringues
2 1/4 cups ground almonds
1 tablespoon potato starch
6 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine almonds and potato starch.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixture fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, beating until the meringue is glossy and holds peaks.

With a rubber spatula, fold in ground almonds and potato starch, gently but throughly.

Pipe onto cookie sheet in desired shape.

Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes and allow them to cook on the baking sheets.


  1. About the frosting for the meringues....did you melt the margarine in the microwave?? If you try to soften butter by heating it when making frosting, it tends to get sort of curd-like in texture. Just a thought from my baking knowledge :) It's erin by the way ;)

  2. Hey Erin. I didn't melt the margarine, but maybe when the sugar syrup was added, as the recipe indicated, it got too hot. The recipe said it would look like it would curdle, but then set up. I don't know....

  3. I did indeed make the crisp recipe just with apples but didn't adjust the recipe at all to balance the flavors. In addition, I didn't measure the lemon zest or juice - I just used the juice of half a lemon and the zest of most of a large lemon (I got overexcited using my microplane for the first time). It was fabulous. Delicious, not "pesachy" in any way but a little too lemony. I think if I had added another fruit with the apple that had more tart to be balanced by the sugar and lemon it might have been better, but I don't know how to do those things so just did it straight and am really happy with it. Apparently, you can't go wrong.


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