Start now: New recipes to get ready for Passover
Photo: Tina Wasserman
Passover Baklava Ice Cream Loaf 

By Tina Wasserman

I have been trying to create some new recipes for Passover. Some have come out well, like the Swedish Jelly Roll with Lingonberry jam (or raspberry, if you prefer), and others have gone almost directly into the trash! I have tried hard to make a baklava with matzo instead of phyllo dough. Either the matzos are too crisp to cut (in which case, I chopped the entire mixture and layered it in between layers of ice cream and froze it into a loaf — YUM!) or I soaked the matzos in milk before layering with the nut mixture and the milk diluted the syrup which was meant to bind the nuts and matzo. The entire mixture went into the trash!

But as much as I like creating new recipes for my family and you, my readers, I am reminded that so much of Passover is bound to memory. We couldn’t have Passover without Mom’s chicken soup or easy brisket or my Passover granola (which causes a run on farfel at our local supermarket!). Our families expect certain dishes that are heavily seasoned with memory. In this and future articles I will intersperse new recipes with classics so you can “spice” up your Passover meals while keeping your heart and stomach close to home.

So, pace yourselves as you plan, shop and cook your menu for a bazillion people. Think of the satisfaction you get from bringing memories into your kitchen and the joy you have when a new recipe is delicious and doesn’t wind up in the trash!

The following recipes can all be made well in advance. Put on your cooking clothes and get started!

Eat in good health and have a Zissen Pesach!

Ruota Del Farone (Pharaoh’s Wheels)

Getting your kitchen ready for Passover can be lots of work but it can also be fun. Since noodles and other pasta products can’t be eaten during Passover, Italian Jews prepare this pasta dish for Parashat B’Shalach or the Sabbath before Pesach. But this is no ordinary pasta dish; it tells a story! Sauced thin pasta noodles are twirled into mounds to look like the waves in the parted Red Sea and raisins are sprinkled around the pasta “waves” to represent the Egyptian soldiers drowning in the waters after the Jews escaped.

Pot roast gravy makes this dish very easy to make but I have also included a classic recipe for a meat sauce to be used when pot roast is not served.

  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (or more oil)
  • 2 large leaves of fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 6 ounces turkey sausage cut into ½-inch rounds or ground turkey or beef
  • ¼ cup white wine or 1 cup pot roast gravy
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces tagliatelle noodles
  • 1 quart chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. If raisins are hard, soak them in warm water while you prepare the pasta.
  2. Turn the burner on the stove to high and heat a 10-inch skillet for 15 seconds.
  3. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil and chicken fat to the hot pan and heat for another 10 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium.
  4. Add the herbs and stir once or twice to coat the herbs with oil. Add the meat and sautéin pan until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add the wine and mix and cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Meanwhile, in a 4-quart pot bring chicken broth, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions. When done, reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid and then drain noodles in a colander.
  7. Add the noodles and the reserved cooking liquid to the sauce and gently mix so sauce is mixed in well. Add the drained raisins and pine nuts and gently stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserolewith a little olive oil.
  9. Scoop up some noodles into a ladle. Using a fork, twist the noodles into a mound and place it in the casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles until you have lots of mounds that look like waves in the sea.
  10. Combine the bread crumbs with the teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle over the top.
  11. Place the casserole in the hot oven and bake until bread crumbs are lightly golden.

Serves 4

Tina’s Tidbits:

  • To make this meatless you could use an assortment of mushrooms and substitute more olive oil for the chicken fat.
  • Whenever you see pine nuts and raisins together in a recipe it is indicative of Sephardi origins. The Moors’ conquest of Spain in 711 introduced many foods and food customs to the Jewish Spaniards and this food combination was a result of the interaction between the two communities.

Garosa — Charoset from Curaçao

  • 2 ounces pitted dates, preferably medjool
  • 2 ounces pitted prunes
  • 2 ounces dark raisins
  • 2 ounces dried figs
  • 2 cups unsalted peanuts or almonds
  • ½ cup cashew nuts
  • Grated zest from 1 medium lemon
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon plus additional for coating
  • 1-2 tablespoons sweet Passover wine
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Combine the dates, prunes, raisins, figs, peanuts and cashews in a processor workbowl and pulse the processor on and off until the contents are fairly small.
  1. Add the zest and the remaining ingredients and continue to process until the mixture is moist and relatively smooth and firm.
  2. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and then roll each ball in cinnamon to coat well. Place in one layer on a flat plate until ready to serve.

Makes 20+ balls

Tina’s Tidbits:

  • One of the noticeable differences between Eastern European and Middle Eastern charoset is that the latter uses the abundance of dried fruits from that region and European Jews use more apples and pears and plums (prunes).
  • Using dried fruit in charoset makes the charoset pasty. Most charosets from the Mediterranean are shaped into balls.
  • Coating the balls with cinnamon not only adds additional flavor but prevents them from sticking together.
  • These can be made in advance and frozen. Flash-freeze them separately on a cookie sheet and when frozen, place in an airtight freezer bag.
  • Before defrosting the balls, separate them onto a plate; otherwise they will clump together when defrosted if left in the bag.

Passover Baklava Ice Cream Loaf

Remember the aforementioned Matzo Baklava disaster? Well, here is a dessert that can be loved by all whether you are able to serve it after Seder or anytime during the week. It is sweet so a simple ice cream is a good choice or try using coconut oil for the butter and Talenti or any high-quality dairy free frozen gelato for the filling.

  • 4 cups walnut pieces, approximately 1 pound
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 sheets of matzo
  • ½ stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 quart vanilla or coffee ice cream (plain, no chips or solids in the mixture)
  • Syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 strips of lemon zest ½ inch wide and length of lemon
  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the syrup in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir once. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon and lemon zest. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan and set aside.
  3. Place the walnuts in a processor work bowl and pulse on and off until a fine, but still coarse, texture. Place in a 2-quart bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon and cloves to the nuts. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Brush one side of a sheet of matzo with some melted butter. Place in pan, buttered side down. Butter the top of the matzo.
  5. Spread ½ of the walnut mixture on top of the matzo in the pan. Repeat Step 3 with the second sheet of matzo and cover with the remaining nut filling.
  6. Repeat step 3 with the last sheet of matzo, brushing any remaining butter on the top.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.
  8. Allow the baklava to cool for 10 minutes and then evenly pour the refrigerated syrup over all of the pastry. Refrigerate the pan until cold.
  9. When the mixture is cold, take a knife and crush/cut up the baklava into coarse but small pieces.
  10. Line the bottom and long sides of a loaf pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs the two long sides. Spray all insides of the pan lightly with cooking spray.
  11. Slightly soften the ice cream in the microwave for 15 seconds.
  12. Working quickly so ice cream doesn’t melt too much, evenly spread ⅓ of the baklava crumbles in the bottom of the loaf pan. Spoon ½ of the ice cream over the crumbles and spread evenly to distribute.
  13. Layer another ⅓ of the baklava crumbles in the pan followed by the remaining ice cream.
  14. Dot the top with the remaining baklava crumbles and fold the flaps of parchment paper over the ice cream. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to eat.
  15. Slice ½-inch slices from the loaf and serve.

Serves 8 or more people

Tina’s Tidbits:

  • The ground nuts shouldn’t be flour-like. If your processor bowl is small or you are chopping by hand, work in two or three batches so you don’t wind up pulverizing the nuts or creating some nut butter by overworking the machine.
  • Warming the sides of the loaf pan for 30 seconds with a hot, wet dish towel will make it easier to lift the ice cream cake out of the loaf pan. Use the overhanging parchment paper as handles for lifting the cake out.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. RB

    I would eat everything you threw into the trash!

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