Pascale's Kitchen: A safe, sweet Passover

Wishing all of you a happy and tasty Passover, and may we all get through the coronavirus safely and in good health.

THE WRITER (right) with top pastry chef Eran Schwartzbard (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
THE WRITER (right) with top pastry chef Eran Schwartzbard
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Now that spring is officially here, Passover is just around the corner. Unlike previous years, however, this year the coronavirus has taken over our lives and forced us to stay inside. Last week, I thought that offering my readers a number of easy, family-friendly cakes would help us pass the time with just the nuclear family at home. This past Shabbat, my husband and I enjoyed a rare and quiet Friday night dinner, just the two of us, without the boys.
Since Passover is almost here, I’ve already begun thinking about which desserts I will be serving, even if the Seder will be much smaller this year. I am a natural optimist, and so I’d like to offer my readers a number of dessert options that will give you a break from updates on the pandemic and enable you to prepare something sweet and tasty for your loved ones.
This year, I decided to meet up with one of Israel’s top pastry chefs and acclaimed cookbook author, Eran Schwartzbard, who agreed to join me in my private kitchen in Ra’anana and show me how to prepare three kosher-for-Passover recipes. At first glance, they may seem complicated, however, they just involve more easy-to-follow stages.
Wishing all of you a happy and tasty Passover, and may we all get through the coronavirus safely and in good health.

Please read through these tips before beginning preparation of this week’s recipes.
1. All the recipes require preparing some of the steps a day or two ahead of time, so make sure to plan accordingly.
2. All the amounts are listed in grams, so make sure you have a cooking scale available. Exact measurements are extremely important to the success of these desserts.
3. Read all instructions through to the end before beginning to make the desserts.

ALMOND RASPBERRY CAKE WITH PINK CHOCOLATE ICING
Makes 2 disposable pans 25 cm. x 10 cm.
Crumble:
100 g. softened butter
100 g. demerara sugar
100 g. matzah meal for cakes or gluten-free flour
80 g. ground almonds
Cake:
200 g. (about 4 medium) eggs
250 g. mascarpone cheese
200 g. cream
200 g. sugar
10 g. vanilla extract
2 g. salt
75 g. corn flour
200 g. ground almonds
Zest from one lemon
100 g. fresh or frozen raspberries
Icing:
500 g. white chocolate
100 g oil
1-2 drops white food coloring
1-2 drops red food coloring
Decoration:
1 cup powdered sugar
Toppings:
½ cup coarsely ground roasted almonds
¼ cup dried raspberries
1 Tbsp. dried rose petals
To prepare the crumble, add the ingredients to the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook and mix well. Split mixture into two parts. Place one-half in the fridge. Take the remaining half and spread half on the bottom of one pan, and the other half on the other pan. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 160ºC for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.
To prepare the cake, use an electric mixer with a whip attachment. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, except for the raspberries. Mix until smooth, then add raspberries and mix gently. Pour into both pans. Sprinkle the rest of the crumble on top. Return the cakes to the oven that has been preheated to 160ºC and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool well and then place in the fridge or freezer for 1 hour.
To prepare the icing, melt the chocolate a few seconds at a time or over a bain marie. Add the oil and blend with an immersion blender. Add a little bit of white and red food coloring until you obtain a pink shade you like. Blend until mixed well.
Remove cakes from the pans and place on a wire rack. Smooth on icing and then sprinkle the bottom half of the sides with powdered sugar. Adorn with almonds, dried raspberries and rose petals.
Level of difficulty: Medium to complex.
Time: 3 hours until the mousse stabilizes and an hour to assemble and serve.
Status: Dairy.

WALNUT CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED APPLE AND WHIPPED COFFEE GNACHE
Use a 23-cm. springform pan.
Base:
180 g. egg whites
40 g. corn flour
100 g. powdered sugar
100 g. ground walnuts
Chantilly cream:
2 g. gelatin + 10 g water (mixed together in a bowl)
225 g. sweet whipping cream 38%
25 g. sugar
Ground vanilla from half a vanilla pod
25 g. mascarpone cream, at room temperature
Caramelized apples:
250 g. apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
10 g. butter
15 g. sugar
5 g. calvados, brandy or any other fruit liqueur
Ganache:
3 g. gelatin and 15 g. water (mixed together in a bowl)
110 g. white chocolate
450 g. 38% sweet whipping cream
4 g. espresso cream or 6 g. ground instant coffee
Topping:
¼ cup chocolate chips
Caramelized apples
To prepare the base, add the egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold in the corn flour, powdered sugar and ground walnuts. Line a pan with baking paper, pour on batter and flatten.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170ºC for 25 minutes.
To prepare the Chantilly cream, add the cream, sugar, and ground vanilla to a pot and heat until boiling. Remove the pot from the flame and add the cheese and gelatin. Blend with a hand blender. Cool overnight in the fridge. The next day, whip with an electric mixer on high speed until creamy. Transfer to a pastry bag with a 15-mm. smooth tip.
To prepare the apples, melt the butter and sugar in a medium pot. Add the apple pieces and 1-2 tablespoons of water. Cook until the apples have begun to caramelize. Add the calvados or other liqueur and mix a little. Transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the cake.
To prepare the ganache, add the chocolate to a large measuring cup or other large container. Pour the cream into a pot and heat over a medium flame until it almost boils. Remove the pot from the flame, add the gelatin and espresso cream and mix well. Pour the hot mixture on top of the chocolate and mix well with an immersion blender. Let ganache cool overnight in the fridge. The next day, whip the ganache well with an electric mixer. Transfer to a pastry bag with a 15mm serrated tip.
To assemble the cake, place the caramelized apples on the base and then add mounds of ganache on top. Place in the freezer for 2 hours.
Take off the ring of the pan and place on a serving plate. Drizzle Chantilly cream between ganache mounds. Top with chocolate chips or pieces of caramelized apple.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: A day ahead.
Status: Dairy.

TAHINI MOUSSE WITH SESAME, CHERRY SAUCE AND MINT
Makes 7-8 servings.
If you’d like to make this cake pareve, you can use pareve cream, in which case you can leave out the brown sugar, since the pareve cream has sugar in it.
Tahini mousse:
4 g. gelatin and 20 g. water (mixed together in a bowl)
250 g. raw tahini
100 g. sweet cream
250 g. cream
25 g. brown sugar
Sesame sheet:
80 g. butter
20 g. powdered sugar
30 g. glucose or corn syrup
10 g. sugar
100 g. white sesame seeds
10 g. black sesame seeds
Cherry sauce:
250 g. frozen cherries
80 g. sugar
5 g. vanilla cream
Toppings:
Whipped cream (1 container of whipping cream with 2 Tbsp. sugar)
Fresh mint leaves
To prepare the tahini mousse, pour 100 g. of sweet cream into a pot and heat over a medium flame until it almost boils. Remove from the flame and add the gelatin and the tahini and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whip the 250 g. of cream with an electric mixer. Add the brown sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold in the tahini mixture (make sure the tahini mixture is not too hot). Pour into cupcake holders and store in the fridge.
To prepare the sesame pieces, melt the butter and glucose in a pot. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the sesame seeds and mix well. Remove from the flame. Flatten the mixture on a tray covered with baking paper and then cover with another sheet of baking paper. Flatten with a rolling pin until it’s 2-mm. high. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170ºC set on turbo mode for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Break into pieces.
To prepare the cherry sauce, add all of the ingredients to a pot and cook over a low flame until the sugar has melted. Store in the fridge or use immediately.
To assemble the mousse, remove the paper from the tahini cupcakes. Place one cake in a bowl and place one or two cherries on the tahini. Next, add a piece of sesame and then drizzle with cherry sauce. Add a dollop of cream and then adorn with fresh mint leaves.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: About 1.5 hours.
Status: Dairy.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
(Tools: Courtesy PIP STUDIO’s ROYAL PIP tool series, in the Novell Collection store)
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