No missing flavor in these scrumptious Passover desserts

To many observant Jews, Passover is about the foods we don’t eat. Many Jews fabricate pizza, noodles and pancakes out of matzah, usually with unappetizing results. I prefer to steer my family toward feeling appreciative of the dishes we can enjoy during this Spring Fling we call Pesach.

We don’t eat flour, unless prepared in matzah, and most American Jews forego beans, rice, grains like oat and barley, as well as corn and its evil twin, high-fructose corn syrup. This would eliminate most treats from our pantries, but Passover desserts are something that we look forward to every year.

My Aunt Naomi’s seder wouldn’t be complete without a chocolate truffle torte. We also feast on chocolates, strawberries and meringues. During Passover, we always save room for dessert!

Apple Walnut Crisp | Serves 6-8

Topping:
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
11/2 cups toasted matzah farfel
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 oz. melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
Filling:3 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup dried cherries
4 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
Mix the walnuts, farfel, brown sugar, melted butter or oil and the cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the apple slices with the dried cherries, sugar and apple juice. Pour into an oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the apples, and bake the crisp in a 350-degree oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the apples are tender. Remove the crisp from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Date Nut Torte | Serves 10-14

8 eggs separated
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/3 cup matzah meal
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 apple, cored and shredded
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until very thick and pale yellow. Whisk in the orange juice. In a separate bowl, sift together the matzah meal, cocoa, cloves and allspice. Stir the dry ingredients into the batter. Mix the dates, walnuts and shredded apple into the batter.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Place the mixture into a 9- or 10-inch springform pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 60 minutes. Allow to cool before unmolding.

Meyer Lemon Pavlova | Serves 10-12

4 egg whites
3/4 cup superfine or baker’s sugar
1 tsp. white vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp. hot water
Meyer lemon curd (recipe below)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and dried
Place the egg whites, sugar, vinegar and hot water into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until soft, white peaks form. Spoon the mixture into the shape of a large (9-inch) circle onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 300-degree oven for 75 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Transfer the baked meringue to a serving platter. Spread the lemon curd over the top. Lightly spread the whipped cream on top of the lemon curd. Garnish with the strawberries.

Meyer Lemon Curd

3 oz. unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks. Continue stirring over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool before using.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a certified culinary professional. Visit her Web site at www.GoRebecca.com. She can be reached at [email protected].