By Tina Wasserman
The following are some recipes that I think you might enjoy and find useful for your Passover or any meal during the holiday. Easy to make, do not require 10 million eggs and delicious.
Speaking of eggs, here’s a few tidbits, up front, about the eggs.
Even though you are partial to using your mother’s old pot for Pesach, make sure you don’t use an aluminum pot to hard-cook your eggs or you will have that lovely gray ring around the yolk no matter how delicately you cook the eggs.
Eggs are to be hard-cooked, not boiled, or the same gray ring could appear.
Buy your eggs now, and get Grade A, not AA. They will be just as delicious as fresh from the bird but their membrane will have pulled slightly away from the shell, making it easier to peel.
Always put salt in the water before you add the eggs. The salt will help seal any cracks in the shell so that your egg doesn’t look like an alien!
If your traditions are slightly more flexible, buy the eggs that are already cooked and individually sealed.
Here’s another ”tidbit.” If you want to add some fun to the meal and pay tribute to our Polish and Ukrainian “landsmen,” buy a bottle of Polish potato vodka like Lyna. A few days or a week before the Seder, peel some of the extra root of the giant horseradish root that you bought and then, using a potato peeler, shred about ¼ cup of horseradish and place the long shreds in the bottle of vodka. When it’s time to serve the gefilte fish, offer a small glass of vodka to drink alongside the fish. Best news, do it this year and store in the refrigerator for as many years as it takes to drink!
Sally’s Gefilte Fish Loaves
Although I have made gefilte fish from my own ground fish, or doctored up the jarred version, the following recipe is simple to make, is absolutely delicious and, also refrigerates well and freezes even better if you want to make it in advance. This is in homage to my dear friend Sally.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium to large onions, finely chopped
- 4 carrots, coarsely grated by hand or in a food processor
- 3 loaves Ungar’s gefilte fish — thaw in refrigerator overnight — DO NOT COOK
- 3 eggs, beaten well with a fork
- ¼ cup matzo meal
- Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line bottom of loaf pans with parchment paper and spray paper and sides of loaf pans with cooking spray.
3. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over high heat for 20 seconds. Add the olive oil and heat for another 10 seconds.
4. Add the chopped onions to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onions until lightly golden brown.
5. Add grated carrots to the pan with the onions and cook, stirring often, until the carrots are limp but not mushy. Drain pan if there is excess liquid.
6. Place mixture in a 4-quart bowl and then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
7. Divide mixture into the prepared loaf pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
8. Cool completely before refrigerating or freeze tightly wrapped. Fish slices best when cold or partially defrosted.
9. Yield: 2-3 medium loaves or 4 smaller ones (the size of the disposable mini loaf pans.
• Although olive oil wasn’t readily available in Eastern Europe, you will find that it will often mimic the flavor of rendered chicken fat, which, along with goose fat, was the fat of choice. This is especially true if onions are cooked in the oil.
• If you freeze the gefilte fish, defrost it slowly in the refrigerator, drain any surrounding liquid and pat the loaf with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid. The flavor and texture will be unmarred and delicious.
Passover Carrot Almond Torte
Adapted from Alice Medrich
- 8 ounces whole almonds or *2 cups almond flour (brown specks of almond skin are OK)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 or 4 large carrots, peeled and finely grated in food processor or by hand (2 cups)
- Finely grated zest of ½ large orange
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sugar + an additional 2 tablespoons for the egg whites
- Confectioners’ sugar for garnish, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. If using whole almonds, place in a processor work bowl and pulse the machine until the almonds are a small coarse consistency. Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to pulse, and occasionally turn the processor on for 10 seconds at a time until the mixture is a fine consistency but not starting to turn into almond butter. *If you are using almond flour then just stir the sugar into the measured almonds. No need to process. Set aside.
3. Cut a 16-inch length of double-layer cheesecloth or layer three squares of paper towels. Place ¼ cup grated carrots in your hand and squeeze out the liquid as best you can. Place the squeezed carrots on the cheesecloth or towels and proceed with the remaining carrots in the same way. Gather up the corners around the carrots, twist to close and then squeeze some more until the towels are orange and the carrots are fairly dry. Set aside.
4. Place the orange zest, egg yolks, salt, cinnamon, extract and ¾ cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, preferably using the wire whip attachment. Beat until thick and a pale yellow, about 1 minute.
5. Place the egg whites in a 3-quart bowl and begin beating the whites on high speed with a handheld mixer. When the whites have begun to take shape, gradually add the last 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until soft, shiny peaks form.
6. Place the grated carrots over the egg yolk mixture and then add ¼ of the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the carrots. Gently fold this mixture to combine ingredients and lighten up the batter.
7. Now add the remaining beaten egg whites to the bowl and gently fold until the whites can no longer be seen. You should not have lumps of white or streaks of white in the batter.
8. Lightly grease an 8-inch springform or removable-bottom pan with cooking spray. If you have some parchment paper, cut a circle to fit the bottom of the pan and then spray it as well. Gently spoon the batter into the pan and smooth out the top.
9. Bake torte for 40 to 50 minutes until top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
10. Cool on top of your cooktop or on a wire rack and then remove the sides of the pan. Carefully remove the bottom of the cake pan and place on a serving plate.
11. Serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
Yield: 12 servings
• Almond flour is finely milled flour and makes the cake less gritty. Often it is made from blanched almonds so there won’t be brown flecks. This does not alter the flavor.
• Egg whites will give the most volume when no fat is present on the beaters or on the bowl and certainly if there is no remnant of yolk in the white before beating.
• If you would like, you could top the cake with some soft cream cheese frosting made with butter and confectioners’ sugar; otherwise, the cake is pareve.
Moroccan Baked Stuffed Apples
Using a butter substitute can make this dish acceptable after a Seder meal if you are following kashrut laws. The familiar baked apple is transported to the exotic by the use of spices and orange blossom water. Something different for dessert. To serve 6 to 8
- 6 to 8 Honeycrisp apples (or other firm, tart apples such as Fuji, Stayman, Winesap or Golden Delicious)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice or cloves
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- Zest of 1 orange
- ½ cup dried tart cherries or diced dried apricots
- ¼ cup dried currants or raisins
- ½ cup diced dried figs
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Optional: ¼ cup pine nuts (preferably Mediterranean pine nuts) and/or ¼ cup diced candied orange rind
1. Cream butter and brown sugar by hand or in mixer. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cloves, orange zest and orange blossom water. Beat to combine.
2. Remove from mixer and stir in cherries, currants, figs and optional pine nuts and candied orange rind. Set aside (can be made ahead and reserved).
1. Using an apple corer and a melon baller, remove the core of the apple without making a hole at the bottom of the apple. Make sure that the hole is about ¾ inch wide to be able to stuff it with plenty of the butter-fruit mixture.
2. Run a paring knife around the apple at the “equator,” cutting through the skin to prevent the apples from exploding when baked.
3. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each apple, so the fruit can stand on its bottom and not roll around.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Fill the apples with a portion of the butter mixture, then top them with the rest of the butter mixture and drizzle with the lemon juice.
3. Arrange the apples in a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold them. Bake the apples for 45 to 50 minutes or until soft when pierced with a skewer. Serve hot with the pan juices drizzled over top.
• Using large, firm apples is best because after removing some interior there is still much apple to retain its shape when baked.
• These apples would be delicious served with some whipped cream, mascarpone or vanilla ice cream although that is not typically Moroccan.