I love Passover. It’s the combination between spring, cleaning, new clothes and family that makes it so unique.
Living far away from family for the past couple of years has changed the essence of Passover and I find that keeping the traditions that I remember from childhood are even more important.
I remember the long family tables at my grandmother Bella’s house where the kids sat together at the end of the table. Our family was very international with Americans, Israeli and Danish representatives so the Hagadah was read in 3 different languages. We went around and each one read in the language they felt most comfortable with and it was great fun. As kids the part of the Hagadah read before the dinner always seemed much longer to me as a child than it does now.
I still love all the traditions and how you stop every so often to eat something that symbolizes something big and meaningful. The sweet, the bitter, the tear drops, the hardship and the hope. How you start the evening with the despair and sadness and end it with happiness and hope.
It’s a great reminder that no matter what you feel now, if you commit to a journey to change your situation, you can. It might take 40 years in the desert, and it might take less. Today everything is faster so believe that any change can be done in less than what it took our forefathers.
So whether you are celebrating with your family or with friends, whether you read the Hagadah in Hebrew, English, Danish or any other language and whether you are the host or the guest, it is about coming together. The Seder is about traditions, about doing it like you did it as a kid and remembering what it felt like then and keeping that so that your kids will want to keep the tradition when they have their own family.
I remember the Maror so much- the horseradish. We would always compete, down at the kids table, who could eat more at a time. some put it on the Matzoh and some straight up, we were all red with teary eyes from the heat and the laughter.
But I want to share some sweet thoughts. Passover is a holiday of gluten Free or if you use flour than only Matzoh flour. So a couple of thoughts for deserts:
Pavlova is a great desert. It is sweet, gorgeous and can be made Parve or dairy- whatever works for your dinner.
There are 2 parts to the Pavlova –
1. The Meringue Base.
2. The topping
The Meringue Base
4 egg whites
200 grams sugar
1 flat tablespoon potato starch
a bit of Vanilla extract
mix the egg whites until you get a white foam. Add the sugar, vanilla and the potato starch and mix well on high speed. Continue to mix until you get a stiff foam. Very stiff. Many bakers call to spread lemon on the mixing bowl to get a stiff foam but I always mix it as it and get a great foam. The potato starch (and on non Passover days I use corn starch) gives it the extra hardness it needs.
Put the egg foam in a piping bag and shape small bowls- start with a flat round circle the size os your bowl and then go back to pipe the sides.
Place in a low heat oven for about 90-120 minutes, until the meringues are hard, but still white. Note that when you first take them out of the oven they might not feel completely hard but they harden as they cool down.
The classic dairy option is a vanilla cream-
For 4 servings:
1 carton of heavy cream 250 m”l
add half a bag of vanilla instant pudding or vanilla extract
mix well until the consistence is of a semi firm whipped cream.
Boil frozen berries with 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar and 1/4 cup of water until you get a sweet sauce.
To serve- fill the meringue bowl with vanilla cream and top it with berry sauce.
If you are a chocolate fan, I suggest:
Warm the heavy cream until almost boiling. Add 100 gram of delicious dark chocolate chocolate and mix well, add a bit of vanilla or even better some whiskey or Kahlua.
Cool for about 2 hours in the fridge and whip like regular whipping cream. You will get the tastiest chocolate pudding.
Non dairy topping- Easy:
Melt dark chocolate and mix in chopped nuts.
Cut fresh fruit- strawberries, berries and pineapple.
Fill the meringue cups with fruits and pour the chocolate sauce on top.
Another wonderful non dairy desert is (By Roy Cohen- my amazing chef!):
Pears in wine-
Peal 6 whole pears
Place the pears in a deep saucer
Fill the saucer 1 bottle of red wine- doesn’t have to be an expensive wine
1 cup orange juice
1/2 orange peel
1 -2 clovers
1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom bean
1 cup of quality raisins
Cook until the pears are soft, take the pears out and let the wine simmer down til about a quarter of the original volume.
Place 1 pear inside the Pavlova bowl, and pour sauce on top of it. Sprinkle with chocolate.
Chocolate Fudge Cake-
A great gluten and dairy free cake for the any day!
180 gram of dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
180 grams of non dairy margarine
60 gram (1/2 cup) of dark cocoa powder
220 grams of sugar
5 eggs seperated
1.5 shots of espresso
Heat oven to medium heat (160C, 320F).
melt chocolate and margarine in the microwave or on the stove.
mix egg yolks and half the sugar together in the kitchen aid until you get a light yellow fluffy mixture and fold in the chocolate and espresso.
Whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar to get a stiff but not hard foam and fold into the chocolate mixture.
Place 3/4 of it in a pre-oiled round baking pan and place in the oven. place the remaining mix in the fridge.
Bake for 25 minutes. Place the rest of the mix on top of the cake and bake for another 15 minutes.
Take the cake out and let it cool. It will sink a bit.
The day it’s baked the cake tastes like a chocolate mouse cake. Fabulous. After a day in the fridge it is even better and more like a chocolate fudge cake. Sprinkle it with sugar powder and serve with fresh Strawberries or sorbet.