Come and eat. This is a tradition of passover and I am happy to oblige by inviting our friends over for a Passover feast. Though we celebrate Passover with our families on the first two nights, it is really nice to be able to spend the holiday with our friends too. Unfortunately, with our families, it has gotten to a point where the meaning of the holiday and the preparation of the food is not given much attention. Ben and I are starting our own traditions – taking the time to set a pretty table, carefully selecting and preparing a wonderful menu, and going through the hagadah, telling the story of Passover. I think that deep down, everyone really appreciates it!
I had a lot of food to make, so I started the Thursday before, and made a matzoh apple kugel, my grandmother’s raspberry streusel squares and the Moroccan charoset. Kugel is one of my favorite things, but it is a very generic term referring to many types of casseroles or puddings. In my family, we love the sweet apple kugel – made with noodles for the High Holidays, and matzoh for Passover. It is kind of like a bread pudding, but served the main meal. Yes, we love the sweet stuff! My grandmother’s raspberry squares are a family tradition, it would not be passover without them. The crust consists of matzoh meal (finely ground up matzoh), oil, eggs, sugar, coconut, and walnuts. And a layer of raspberry jam in between. Here is a picture of some raspberry square “mush” – it was a little to hot to keep it’s form, but I couldn’t wait to eat some!
Charoset is a staple on the Passover seder plate mean to symbolize the mortar with which our ancestors bound the bricks in their time of slavery. For Ashkenazic Jewish (Jewish of eastern European decent, ie most American Jews) charoset is usually a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, a bit cinnamon, honey, and some sweet red Passover wine. While that kind of charoset has always been one of my favorite things about Passover, I decided to try some Moroccan charoset. This is more in the Sephardic (Jews from the Iberian peninsula and northern Africa) tradition. This consisted of ground dates, nuts, figs, apples, raisins, and some sweet wine. The mixture is then rolled into balls. I coated half of them in cinnamon and the other half in coconut.
Fast forward to Saturday. First thing I did when I woke up was go to the grocery store to finish getting everything I needed. Then I got to work on my flourless chocolate torte. This was a new recipe for me, and it was oh-so-good. See, I just love chocolate and to me there is no such thing as “too rich”. I used this recipe from epicurious.com for Dark Chocolate Torte with Spiked Blackberry Coulis, but I skipped the coulis and made my own blackberry sauce. I never knew how difficult it was to straing pureed berried to get rid of the seeds! But the resulting smooth sauce was well worth it. No more Passover brownies from now on, this recipe is a keeper! Totally dense and moist and rich, I was very impressed, if I do say so myself!