Passover is a weeklong festival celebrating freedom and spring. The holiday commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery from Egypt more than 4,000 years ago. It’s also a wonderful time for culinary challenges, experiments and delights.
Passover’s symbolic foods
According to tradition the Jews had to leave Egypt in such a hurry, they did not have time for the bread to rise. To commemorate this event, Jews eat unleavened bread called matzah. Traditional families refrain from eating all wheat products except matzah for eight days. European Orthodox families don’t eat any risen flour, barley, corn or rice products. Jewish people eat many symbolic foods during the Seder. Around the world customs vary, but everywhere Jewish people eat matzah — unleavened bread.
This does not mean observant Jewish people don’t eat desserts or cookies or cakes or candy during Passover. Passover is the festival of spring and freedom. The theme is remembrance rather than denial.
On the contrary, all kinds of highly inventive sweets and desserts abound. Jewish cooks have learned to bake with matzo meal, matzo cake meal and farfel. They have also created many flourless desserts. Passover is a wonderful time to experiment and try new culinary challenges.
Passover dessert recipes
Passover pear and strawberry compote
To complete the Passover meal, here is a light, simple fruit dessert.
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger spice
1 pear (Bartlett), diced
3 strawberries sliced
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
In a saucepan, stir together sugar, orange juice, ginger and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Turn to simmer for five minutes. Add one diced pear to syrup. Leave on low heat and cover for three minutes or until pear is soft. Pour into bowls, garnish with sliced strawberries and crushed walnuts.
Per serving: 127g Carbohydrates; 3g Fiber; 5g Protein; 9g Fat; 595 Calories.
Passover coconut brownie recipe
Serves 6 to 8
Who doesn’t love brownies? Here’s a simple recipe you can make with the kids for the Seder or for snacks.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
6 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Zest from one small orange
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Separate eggs and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg yolks. Melt chocolate over double boiler. Cool and add to butter mixture. Add finely ground walnuts and raisins. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter. Pour into greased baking tin. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Serves six to eight.
Per serving (based on six servings and with dark chocolate): 44g Carbohydrates; 2g Fiber; 6g Protein; 45g Fat; 581 Calories.
Passover non-dairy ice cream recipe
Serves 6 to 8
My mother makes this non-diary treat year around. Observant Jews don’t mix milk with meat so they can eat this ice cream right after a meat meal. It’s also a wonderful make-ahead dish.
1 large carton (500 milligrams) non-diary whipping cream
1/2 cup pancake syrup
2 packages of the pudding of your choice.
Separate eight eggs. Place the egg yolks in the larger bowl. Don’t stir them. Set the egg whites aside.
Whip up the non- diary whipping cream at a low speed, add one egg yolk at a time. Stir in pudding and syrup.
Whip up the egg whites until stiff peaks appear. Gently fold in egg yolk and pudding mixture. Place mixture in a large container and freeze.