By Barbara Beltrami
Because Passover excludes the use of leavening, eggs play a major role in many dishes. And because with all those eggs the cholesterol police are going to get after you anyway, you might as well use them in some scrumptious Passover desserts. Many are easier than you would imagine and tantalizing to your sweet tooth. So take your pick from the following recipes and enjoy every bite.
Fig, Orange and Almond Passover Cake
YIELD: Makes one cake
10 eggs separated
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups matzo cake meal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Zest of 1 medium orange
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup chopped almonds
12 dried figs, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 10” tube or bundt pan with vegetable oil. In medium or large bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until lemon-colored; add cake meal, cinnamon, zest, orange juice, allspice and almonds. In large bowl beat egg whites till peaks are stiff; fold into batter, then fold in figs. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 50 minutes. Unmold cake and let it cool. Serve with coffee, tea or sweet wine.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Passover Torte
YIELD: Makes one torte
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate
8 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled,
1 cup skinned hazelnuts, very finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line bottom and side of greased 9” spring form pan with aluminum foil. Place pan of water on bottom shelf of oven. In large bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until they turn pale yellow; add chocolate, butter and hazelnuts and mix well. In large bowl beat egg whites until stiff, then fold into chocolate mixture. Pour batter into pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes; remove from oven and let sit a few minutes in pan, then unmold, invert onto a plate and peel off foil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired and serve with fresh berries.
Passover Sponge Cake with Strawberries
YIELD: Makes one cake
8 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sifted matzo cake meal
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
3 cups heavy cream
2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9” cake pans and dust with matzo flour. In large bowl beat egg yolks until pale yellow; add sugar and beat again. Stir in matzo cake meal, salt, lemon zest and juice. In large bowl beat egg whites until stiff, fold into batter and distribute evenly between two prepared cake pans. Bake 45 minutes, set on a rack to cool, then remove from pan. While cake is cooling, whip cream, then coarsely chop one quart of the strawberries and mix them into half the cream. Spread mixture over one of the cake layers; top with second cake layer and use remaining cream to frost top and sides of cake. Halve remaining strawberries and use to decorate top of cake. Serve with hot tea or coffee.
Passover Pistachio Macaroons
YIELD: Makes two dozen
3 cups shelled unsalted pistachios
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. In a food processor grind the nuts but don’t puree them. In a medium bowl combine the ground nuts and sugar; fold in the egg whites; refrigerate about 10 minutes. Leaving an inch or so in between, drop batter by the tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 11 to 14 minutes or until macaroons start turning golden brown. Serve with fresh fruit or sweet wine.