If you’re looking for Passover desserts that you’d be proud to serve at your seder, or throughout the week, here are some tried and true favourites from my files. The nice thing is that they can be made in advance and frozen – and they’re also gluten-free and dairy-free! These scrumptious sweets will make perfect endings for Pesach, or any time.
Rocky Road Brownie Cake
There’s something blissfully nostalgic about rocky road brownies. This cake is beyond delicious, with its chocolate drizzle and puffs of fluffy marshmallow. It’s perfect for Passover. Recipe adapted from The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular by Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz (Artscroll).
ο 4 eggs
ο 450 ml (1¾ cups) sugar
ο 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
ο 250 ml (1 cup) potato starch
ο 175 ml (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
ο pinch kosher salt
ο 750 ml (3 cups) mini marshmallows
ο 125 ml (1/2 cup) chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Lightly coat bottom and sides of a 25-cm (10-inch) springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar and oil. Mix until well blended.
Add potato starch, cocoa and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle evenly with marshmallows. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, until marshmallows are puffed and slightly golden.
Let cool. Melt chocolate chips. Drizzle melted chocolate in a zigzag design over marshmallows. Transfer to a round serving plate. Remove sides from springform pan. Cut into wedges. Yields 12-24 servings.
This gluten-free cookie is perfect all year round. Be prepared to make several batches of this Turkish delight during Passover – they’ll disappear very quickly! Recipe adapted from The New Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap).
ο 750 ml (3 cups) almonds (or a mixture of walnuts and pecans)
ο 250 ml (1 cup) sugar
ο 2 eggs
ο 5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
Insert steel blade into food processor bowl. Process almonds using on/off pulses until coarsely chopped, about 30 seconds. (Walnuts and pecans take less time.) Don’t grind nuts too fine or you’ll have nut butter. Empty bowl. Process sugar with eggs and cinnamon until well mixed, 25-30 seconds. Add nuts and process 10-15 seconds longer, to combine. Mixture will be a thick paste.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving 2.5 cm (1 inch) between cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes. When done, cookies will be oatmeal-coloured with lightly browned edges. They will, however, be slightly soft and not look fully baked. Do not remove cookies from pan until completely cooled. They will firm up as they cool. If baked until firm, they will be too hard when they cool completely.
Yields 4–5 dozen; freezes well.
Ilene Gilbert’s Lemon Meringue Dessert
Montreal dietitian Ilene Gilbert shared this winner with me many years ago, and it’s guaranteed to bring rave reviews from friends and family. Prepare and freeze it in advance. Reduce the fat and calories and make this gluten-free by omitting the crust. This yummy dessert will disappear in a flash at your seder. Recipe adapted from Healthy Helpings by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap).
Passover pie crust
ο 250 ml (1 cup) matzah meal (gluten-free or regular)
ο 60 ml (1/4 cup) sugar
ο 5 ml (1 tsp) cinnamon
ο 60 ml (1/4 cup) margarine or vegetable oil
ο 30 ml (2 tbsp) orange juice
ο 3 whole eggs
ο 3 egg yolks (reserve the 3 egg whites)
ο 125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh or bottled lemon juice
ο zest of 1/2 a lemon
ο 300 ml (1¼ cups) sugar
ο 45 ml (3 tbsp) additional sugar
ο 6 egg whites
ο 15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar
To make the crust, combine ingredients in a food processor and mix until blended, about 20 seconds. Press into the bottom of a sprayed 23- or 25-cm (9- or 10-inch) springform pan. Bake in a preheated 190 C (375 F) oven for 12-15 minutes.
For the filling, combine eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and 300 ml (1¼ cups) sugar in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Heat until thick, stirring constantly. Let cool.
Beat the reserved 3 egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in 45 ml (3 tbsp) sugar. Beat until stiff. Fold into cooled lemon mixture. Pour over crust. Wrap with foil. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To make the meringue, beat 6 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar and beat until stiff. Spread on frozen dessert. Broil until meringue is light brown. When cool, cover and return to freezer.
Yields 12 servings. Freezes well (remove dessert from freezer for 15 minutes before serving).