PASCALE’S KITCHEN: Passover Delights

Ideas for treats.

Chocolate and coconut bars (photo credit: AMIR MENACHEM)
Chocolate and coconut bars
(photo credit: AMIR MENACHEM)
We are just hours before Seder night, and most of you are probably already set on what you’re going to prepare for your Seder meal, including dessert, so I’ve decided to offer you some ideas for treats you can make during Hol Hamoed that will turn your holiday into a sweet one.
Every year before Passover, I meet with a new pastry chef to widen my repertoire of special treats to prepare for Seder night. This year, I met with Eden Alkubi, a senior lecturer at Bishulim – the Israeli Institute of Culinary Arts.
Alkubi is one of the youngest, most talented and most modest pastry chefs I’ve ever met. He completed his studies at the Ecole Lenôtre in Paris, won a gold medal at the European Pastry Competition, and has participated in a number of workshops given by some of the world’s greatest chefs, such as Guillaume Mabilleau, Thierry Bamas, Michel Willaume and Carles Mampel.
I asked Alkubi if he would share with my readers a few of his favorite Passover recipes that are not too complicated. I’ve listed all the ingredients in both grams and cups to make it easy for everyone to prepare these delicacies. If you don’t have time to make these treats for Seder, maybe you’ll find some time during Hol Hamoed.
TIPascale It’s best to use disposable icing bags.
400 gr. (3 cups) rice flour 50 gr. (4 Tbsp) cornflour 230 gr. (2 packages + 2 Tbsp) butter 180 gr. (1½ cups) powdered sugar 60 gr. (½ cup + 1 Tbsp.) almond flour 2 gr. (pinch) salt 100 gr. (2 medium) eggs
Almond cream
130 gr. (1 package + 2 Tbsp.) butter 130 gr. (1 cup + 1 Tbsp.) powdered sugar 130 gr. (1 ¹⁄3 cups) almond flour 20 gr. (2 Tbsp.) cornflour 60 gr. (1 large) egg
Strawberry compote 250 gr. (1 densely packed cup) fresh or frozen strawberries cut into squares 70 gr. (¹⁄3 cup) sugar 40 gr. (2 ½ Tbsp.) water 20 gr. (2 Tbsp.) cornflour
Vanilla mascarpone cream 250 gr. (1 container) cream 110 gr. (½ package) mascarpone cheese 40 gr. (4 Tbsp.) powdered sugar 1 tsp. quality vanilla extract
Small basket of fresh strawberries and blueberries
To prepare tarte, add all the ingredients (except for eggs) to the bowl of a food processor and process until crumbly. Next, add the eggs and mix again. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 60 minutes.
To prepare the almond cream, put all the ingredients (except for the eggs) in the bowl of a food processor and blend well. Next, add the eggs and blend again. Transfer cream to an icing bag.
To prepare the strawberry compote, add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the flame and let cool. Place in the refrigerator.
To prepare mascarpone cream, add all the ingredients to a bowl and whip until creamy. Transfer to an icing bag with a No. 12 attachment.
To prepare the strawberry tarte, roll out the dough on a floured surface until it’s 4 mm. thick. Line a ring cake pan with the dough and cut off any extra bits hanging over the edge.
On top of the dough, add three tablespoons of strawberry compote and flatten. On top of this, squeeze on almond cream so that it reaches halfway up the side of the pan. Bake for 35 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 160º. Cool completely and then squeeze on the mascarpone cream so that it looks like small teardrops around the edge of the tarte. Fill in the center area on top with fresh strawberries and blueberries.
Makes 30 cookies.
Hazelnut cookies
60 gr. (½ cup) powdered sugar 220 gr. (2 packages + 1 Tbsp.) butter 60 gr. (²⁄3 cup) ground hazelnuts 2 gr. (pinch) salt 360 gr. (2½ cups) gluten-free or cake flour
Toppings ½ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Chocolate praline ganache 75 gr. (¾ bar) bittersweet chocolate 50 gr. (½ bar) milk chocolate 60 gr. (3 Tbsp.) praline cream 150 gr. (²⁄3 cup) sweet cream 100 gr. (1 package) butter 5 gr. (1 tsp.) invert sugar/honey To prepare cookies, put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer dough to baking paper and cover with a second sheet of baking paper. Take a rolling pin and roll out dough until it is 3 mm.
thick. Place dough on a baking pan and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove pan from the freezer and use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you desire.
Arrange cookies on baking paper and sprinkle hazelnut pieces on half of them. Bake for 15 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 160º.
To prepare the ganache, add all of the chocolate pieces and praline cream. In a separate bowl, add the sweet cream, butter and honey and bring to a boil, mixing continuously. Next, pour cream on top of chocolate pieces. Blend using an immersion blender and let cool until it reaches room temperature. Transfer ganache to an icing bag and cut off the tip of the bag. Spread a thin amount of cream on all the cookies that do not have nuts on them and then close sandwich with cookies with nuts on them.
Makes 40 bars.
100 gr. (1 bar) milk chocolate (or bittersweet chocolate if you’d like them to be parve) 130 gr. (6 Tbsp.) praline cream 15 gr. (1 Tbsp.) softened butter 100 gr. (1 cup) roasted coconut
Icing 400 gr. milk chocolate 100 gr. bittersweet chocolate In a medium pot, melt milk chocolate. Add the praline cream and butter and mix well. Add the roasted coconut and mix. Spread mixture in silicone “bar” tray or any other tray and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Place milk chocolate in a bowl and melt in the microwave using short pulses. Alternatively, heat over a bain marie.
Dip the bars in the melted chocolate and place on a tray.
Put tray in the refrigerator for five minutes.
In a separate bowl, add the bittersweet chocolate and melt in the microwave using short pulses. Transfer to an icing bag and cut a hole in the corner. Draw lines with the icing on the bars and put in the refrigerator for five more minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.