This Passover, as every other, preparing desserts, especially interesting baked desserts, can be quite a challenge. It is important to understand what makes Passover baking rise. Many Passover baked goods can be easily plumped up with whipped eggs and/or egg whites, so stock up on eggs. Eggs also can provide the protein necessary to give cakes and cookies some shape.
Make sure that the right fat is selected for every occasion. Butter can be used in Passover desserts as part of a dairy meal. For a meat meal, use kosher-for-Passover margarine, or vegetable oil. For flavour and richness, depend on chocolate.
Chocolate is the Passover baker’s best friend. Unsweetened and semisweet pareve chocolate can be used to make countless chocolate creations and frostings. It also helps mask the taste of cake meal.
Use nuts, coconut and other flavors such as kosher-for-Passover jams, vanilla extract or the seeds from a real vanilla bean. Citrus zest is another great way to add flavour to Passover desserts.
Passover rainbow slices
Prepare powdered sugar for almond paste, then prepare almond paste. Wrap and place in the refrigerator until needed.
Passover powdered sugar
o 250 ml (1 cup) granulated sugar
o 7 ml (1½ tsp) potato starch
Mix and process until powdery.
o 175 ml (¾ cup) whole blanched almonds
o 410 ml (1-2/3 cups) Passover powdered sugar
o Egg whites of 2 large eggs
o 0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) kosher salt
Add almond flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until evenly mixed. Add egg whites and pulse until a smooth paste forms. Roll into a log, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Almond paste can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for 10 days.
o 170 grams (6 ounces) blanched almonds
o 375 ml (1½ cups) white sugar
o 6 eggs
o 170 grams (6 ounces) almond paste, (recipe below)
o 250 ml (1½ cups) pareve margarine
o 175 ml (¾ cup) matzah cake meal
o 3 ml (¾ tsp) salt
o 5 ml (1 tsp) kosher-for-Passover vanilla
o Pink, yellow and green food colouring (about 8 drops each)
o 340 grams (12 ounces) pareve dark chocolate
o 22 ml (1½ tbsp) vegetable oil
o Pinch salt
o 334 grams (12 ounces) cherry jam
Prepare three 23-by-30-cm (9-by-12-inch) baking pans by brushing them with vegetable oil and placing a piece of parchment paper at bottom. In a food processor, add sugar and almonds and pulse until they become fine crumbs. Combine in eggs. Add almond paste and combine. Add margarine, matzah cake meal, salt and vanilla. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Divide batter into bowls in three equal amounts. Add green food colouring to the first, yellow food colouring to the second and add red food colouring to the third and mix until batter is evenly tinted.
Pour batters into prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. Allow to cool completely.
Place chocolate, vegetable oil and pinch of salt in a glass bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds. Remove from microwave. Stir until smooth.
Place a piece of parchment paper on top of a platter or baking sheet. Add green cake layer to parchment paper. Spread with one half of the jam. Top with yellow layer. Add the remainder of the jam. Top with pink cake.
Carefully spread half the melted chocolate on top. Place in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or until the chocolate is completely hardened.
Turn over the cake by placing a sheet of parchment paper on top and then invert another tray over parchment, hold trays together, then flip. Spread remaining chocolate on the other side. (Reheat chocolate mixture for 30 seconds, if necessary.)
Place back in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Wrap well once set.
Before serving, trim edges and with a sharp knife dipped in hot water, slice cake in half and then cut slices from each half.
Chocolate cupcakes with halvah
Even though the halvah is placed in the centre of the cupcake, during baking, halvah will peek out the top, like an embellishment.
o 225 grams (8 ounces) semisweet Passover chocolate
o 250 ml (1 cup) pareve margarine
o 6 eggs, separated
o 125 ml (½ cup) sugar
o 125 ml (½ cup) finely ground almonds
o 60 ml (4 tbsp) sweet Passover-wine
o 330 ml (1-1/3 cups) potato starch
o 200 grams (7 ounces) vanilla halvah, cut into 24 cubes
Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F).
Melt the chocolate and margarine in the microwave for 1 minute, stir until melted and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. In a larger bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the chocolate mixture in a narrow stream. Add the ground almonds and wine, blending thoroughly.
Spoon beaten egg whites over the chocolate mixture. Sift the potato starch on top of the beaten egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites and potato starch into the batter. Place paper cupcake cups in muffin pans. Spoon 30 ml (2 tbsp) of batter into cups, place halvah cube in centre and cover with batter until cup is about three quarters full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out dry. Cool cupcakes before serving.
Makes 24 cupcakes.