JLife asked two food lovers to share their favourite Pesach recipes.
Simone Pinkus is the creator of Manchester-based Simply Cooking cookery courses and catering.Here she shares her family Pesach traditions:
“My grandmother installed the traditions of Pesach in me, and ultimately, it’s about being with my family. When we are in the UK we always go to my auntie and uncle’s, and my auntie always hosts the Seder night. I always do a lot of Pesach baking and I always make sure I change my pots beforehand. I make all my own cakes and my mum and I bake weeks beforehand to make sure everything is ready. Because I have my own catering business, I turn my kitchen pesadich and bake for people in the community too. I am usually in a supermarket every day and I use lots of disposable containers and special mixers for the season. I’d say my signature dishes for Pesach are cinnamon balls, chocolate coconut squares and sponge cake, of course. A staple in our house is matzah brei and I always make the kids that…with ketchup!”
Chocolate Molten Souffles
Molten chocolate cakes and soufflés have made a huge splash in restaurants in recent years, and this dessert’s warm runny centre is its signature. It can be made with dairy or parve and this recipe serves eight.
Non-stick cooking spray
4 ounces good-quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
½ cup unsalted butter or margarine
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar (and extra for coating the ramekins)
¾ cup matzo cake meal
2 tbsp potato starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 450˚F.
2. Generously coat 8 ramekins with non-stick cooking spray, and lightly coat them with granulated sugar. Tap the sides, turning the ramekin to coat the sides with sugar as well.
3. Break the chocolate into small pieces. Place it and the butter or margarine into a small microwave-safe dish. Microwave on medium power for 15-second intervals, stirring between, until the chocolate is completely melted.
4. Beat the eggs until foamy. Slowly pour in all the sugar, and continue beating until very fluffy and pale yellow.
5. Stir in the matzo cake meal, potato starch, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
6. While beating, slowly drizzle in the melted chocolate mixture. Once added, beat until all the chocolate is incorporated.
7. For ease of pouring, transfer the batter into a large measuring cup and fill each ramekin halfway.
8. Set the ramekins onto a baking sheet, and bake for 14–15 minutes until the tops are brown and the centres are warm.
9. Serve immediately. Be careful as the ramekins will be hot!
Since appearing on Channel 4 as a finalist on Gordon Ramsey’s ‘The F Word’, Lisa Roukin has gone on to provide healthy but hearty recipes for The Jewish Chronicle and Ocado, the online food retailer. Here, she discusses how Passover lives up to its decadent foodie promise:
“Food plays an important role in the celebration of Passover. It inspires many who may not keep kosher throughout the year to be more observant of food laws.
Most people get over-excited during this festival and suddenly an abundance of cakes and biscuits are served from morning to night! I am not suggesting that a little treat during the festival is a crime, but the word ‘abundance’ points to the problem. If we simply ate the foods from the Seder plate – an egg, some horseradish, a scoop of haroset – nobody would worry about weight gain during Passover, but our holiday feasts go far beyond unleavened bread and bitter herbs. It can feel challenging to resist the tantalising temptations placed before us during this time, but by remembering few key things, we can please our Passover palates without turning into matzo balls ourselves! With this in mind, below is a recipe for chicken breasts with almonds – a healthy but decadent alternative to Passover staples.”
Chicken Breasts Baked in Almond Flakes
Almonds have many health benefits. They help build strong bones, lower bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart attack, provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss. I like using coconut flour for coating my chicken as I find it absorbs the egg and helps the almonds stay on the chicken better than when using other flours. This is a fun recipe to make with the kids too.
550g chicken breasts
300g flaked almonds
40g coconut flour
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
FOR THE SAUCE
5 tbsp of almond butter
1 tbsp of lime juice
3 tbsp of maple syrup
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp of tamari soy sauce (gluten free)
1-2 tbsp of water
½ tsp of chilli flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/Gas mark 7/220°C (200°C fan-assisted).
2. Line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
3. Cut the chicken breast on the diagonal into five to six strips for each breast.
4. Beat the egg and season with sea salt, white pepper, harissa and Dijon mustard.
5. Coat the chicken in the coconut flour, then dip in the egg and coat with the almond flakes. Place it on the pre-lined baking tray and repeat with the rest of the strips of chicken.
6. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning the strips over after 10 minutes.
7. To make the sauce, add the almond butter and lime juice and whisk together and then add the maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, tamari sauce and water.
8. Season with black pepper and chilli flakes.
9. Warm up the sauce in a saucepan over a medium heat and serve with the chicken strips.
Louise Haft, wife, mum and local foodie shares what Pesach means for her.
“Pesach is a really busy time as I make sure that my whole kitchen is kosher for the festival. The entire kitchen is cleaned from top to bottom and everything is changed or replaced to make sure that it is ready in time for the festivities.
This time of year is when the whole family to comes together and enjoy this spiritual time as one. For me, of all the Jewish festivals, it is a chance to do something tangible and feel a connection to our Jewish ancestors. I get such a nostalgic feeling when I eat the matza, and I am sure that others do too. By recreating very accurately what the Jews did all those years ago as they were forced to flee Egypt, we feel a very real connection to them and to our community.”
Chocolate Chip Cookies
200g ground hazelnuts
200g butter or margarine, room temperature
170 g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
230g fine matza meal
½ cup of kiddush wine
150g dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
2. Beat the butter and sugar and cinnamon in a bowl until creamy.
3. Spoon the matza meal hazelnuts and wine into the mixture until well combined.
4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Roll the mixture into 24 balls, and bake for 12-15 minutes.
6. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack.