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Sweets for Passover

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Every year, my Passover menu includes a brisket, because my family loves my brisket, and I often wonder if they would come at all if I didn’t make the same thing each year. Desserts, however, are a totally different ball game. I pride myself on making a new (or a couple of new) desserts every time and am even tasked with bringing dessert to other Passover seders, as well. The prohibition against flour and leavening doesn’t intimidate me. There are wondrous confections that can be made without flour and without resorting to packaged, store-bought items. I have found that, with the right measurements, potato starch and cake meal can replace wheat flour with excellent results. And, with a little creativity and ingenuity, your Passover desserts can be as show stopping as any sweets you make throughout the rest of the year.


Matzah-based seven layer bars

o 5 leaves of matzah

o 3 tbsp. packed brown sugar

o 3/4 cup margarine or butter, melted

o 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

o 1 cup chocolate chips

o 3/4 cup dried cranberries

o 1/2 cup walnut pieces

o 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

o 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13×9-inch metal cake pan with parchment paper, so that the bottom is covered and there is a two-inch overhang on the long sides.

Break the matzah into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal S blade. Add the sugar. Pulse until the matzah is finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Pour in the butter, stirring with a fork until the matzah is thoroughly moistened. Pat into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the sweetened condensed milk over the crust. Scatter the top with chocolate chips, cranberries, walnuts, white chocolate chips and coconut. Drizzle the remaining milk over it. Return to the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on rack.

Makes about 30 bars. They will keep, in an airtight container, for up to one week.


Brownie cake with chocolate swirled meringue topping

Brownie Cake:

o 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

o 1 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

o 3/4 cup margarine, softened and cut into pieces

o 1½ cups granulated sugar

o 3 large eggs, cold

o 1 tsp. vanilla or vanilla powder

o 1/2 cup potato starch

o 3 tbsp. matzah cake meal

Meringue Topping:

o 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

o 2 tbsp. margarine

o 1 tbsp. light corn syrup

o 3 large egg whites

o 1 cup granulated sugar

o 1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the bottom of an eight-inch springform pan and line with a circle of parchment paper.

Combine the unsweetened and semisweet chocolate and margarine in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, over very low heat. Cook, stirring often, until melted.

Remove the pot from the heat. Whisk in the sugar. Let cool slightly. One at a time, whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the potato starch and cake meal. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan.

Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the chocolate, margarine and corn syrup in 30-second intervals, until the chocolate and margarine are melted.

Whisk the granulated sugar, egg whites and water in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking often, for five minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan. Transfer to a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer). Beat for five minutes, until the meringue is stiff, shiny and cool.

Remove the cake from the oven. Gently spread the meringue on top of the cake. Dollop the melted chocolate over the meringue. Swirl gently through the meringue. Return the cake to the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven to cool completely. Remove the springform pan and transfer to a cake platter.

Once cool, refrigerate the cake for at least one hour, or up to 24 hours.

Serve chilled. Makes 12 servings.


Lemon bars with coconut macaroon base

Crust:

o 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

o 1/3 cup granulated sugar

o 2 large egg whites

Lemon filling:

o 2 large eggs

o 1 large egg yolk

o 1 cup granulated sugar

o 2 tbsp. grated lemon zest

o 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

o 2 tbsp. potato starch

o 1/4 tsp. kosher for Passover baking powder

o pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an eight-inch square metal pan with parchment paper, so that there is a two-inch overhang on two sides.

Crust: Combine the coconut and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg whites and stir until well combined and thoroughly moistened. Pat into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven until golden and firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, potato starch, baking powder and salt. Pour over the coconut base. Bake until the filling has just set and is just starting to turn a golden colour around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Be sure to bake the base until it’s firm, to help prevent it from getting soggy once the filling is poured on top. Let cool on rack. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

This is beautiful when plated with some raspberry coulis drizzled on the side, or some fruity flavoured sorbet. It’s best served the same day it’s made. Makes about 24 bars.