This month, we’ve dedicated our food column to some Pesach recipe-sharing. We asked community members to send us a favourite recipe — and were not disappointed! Thank you to our generous contributors, and hope this leads to some new favourites at the Seder table. Chag Sameach to all — wishing you a happy, memorable and delicious Pesach.
Gateau de Datle (Date cake)
A simple recipe that my mom used to make.
• 4 eggs
• 3 Tbsp sugar
• 2 Tbsp oil
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• 1 packet dates soaked in 1 cup hot water
• 4 Tbsp cake meal (can substitute 1 Tbsp cake meal with 1 Tbsp potato flour)
• Beat eggs and sugar well.
• Add oil and dates with water.
• Mix nuts and cake meal and add to egg mixture.
• Pour into greased pyrex dish and bake at 180˚ for 30-40 minutes.
The fluffy kneidel recipe
When the CJC asked for my favourite Pesach recipe, the kneidel surfaced immediately — for me, synonymous with Pesach and triumphant in all its variables! It is that ‘hold your breath’ moment at the Seder table as the spoon cuts into the ball to proclaim its fluffy success!
So why the kneidel and why this chosen recipe? When I was growing up, my mom was more of a businesswoman than she was a cook and her kneidlach were certainly not for the faint-hearted — you needed a knife to slice through them. Of course, we loved those kneidlach and it was only years later that I experienced the ‘fluffy kneidel revelation’ of kneidlach floating majestically in the chicken soup! I was won over and had to share this with everyone — it became one of the reasons for compiling The Pesach Recipe Book.
Over the years I’ve adapted a cousin’s Fluffy Kneidel Recipe and made it my own. Try this recipe and be uplifted!
• 4 eggs
• ½ cup/ 25ml cooled chicken soup
• ½ cup/ 125ml melted schmaltz
• 5ml/1 tsp salt
• pepper, ginger, cinnamon
• 1 rounded cupful/250ml matza meal
• Beat eggs very well, then beat in schmaltz and cooled soup
• Add seasoning to taste, then stir in matza meal
• Refrigerate mixture for at least ½ hour
• Make golfball-size balls with wet hands and boil in rapidly boiling salt water* for 20 minutes, without lifting the lid!
*When boiled directly in the soup at this stage, they absorb too much of the soup. Can be made in advance and kept in an ovenproof dish. To serve, heat up in soup to absorb flavours. After serving, remove leftover kneidlach from soup and refrigerate separately.
Brisket roll with flaumen tzimmes
• 2 kg brisket or short rib, rolled
• 500 ml /2 cups chicken stock, hot
• 2 onions, sliced into rings
• 2 cm piece root ginger, peeled and bruised
• 2 potatoes, cubed
• 125 ml / ½ cup syrup
• 2 or 3 sweet potatoes, cubed
• a squeeze of lemon juice
• 4 carrots, thickly sliced
• 30 extra large prunes (soaked overnight)
• 2.5 to 5 ml / ½ to 1 tsp ground ginger
• 45 ml / 3 T oil
• 1 bay leaf
• Heat a little of the oil in a roasting pan and brown the onions gently. Season and set aside. Heat the remainder of the oil and brown the meat on all sides. Season generously with salt, black pepper and ground ginger. Return the onions to the pan, tucking them with the bay leaf under the roast.
• Pour the chicken stock into the pan, cover tightly and roast at 160˚C / 325˚F for approximately four hours, basting every 40 minutes or so. If necessary top up the liquid with a little water from the soaked prunes or stock. When the meat is softening, strain the gravy. Mix with syrup and lemon juice and return to roasting pan with the ginger and vegetables.
• Stir the gravy to blend. Adjust seasoning. Baste the contents of the pan, cover and continue cooking until the vegetables are almost soft.
• Remove lid, add prunes, baste well and finish roasting uncovered for about 15 minutes or until golden and glazed.
• Discard the bay leaf and ginger root. Place roast on a serving platter surrounded by the vegetables and prunes. Deglaze the roasting pan with water, scraping well. Strain off fat and thicken gravy with a little potato flour, about 10 ml / 2 tsp, which has been slaked in a little cold water. Moisten the roast with a little gravy and serve the remainder in a warmed gravy boat.
Serves 8 – 10
*Note: rolled brisket takes longer to cook than flat, so the meat needs to be cooked for more than four hours.
As a previous pescatarian — now vegetarian following a sudden allergy to fish a year ago — Pesach can be a challenging time for me.
No meat, plenty of non-fish dishes so that I can eat with my family, and all strictly kosher for the whole of Pesach. I also want my food to be appealing, and not have guests feel like it’s a detox rather than a hearty family meal.
The dish that I am sharing with you is just delicious and has even the meat-eaters impressed. It doesn’t rely on special ingredients.
• 3 tablespoons oil
• 250g mushrooms, chopped small
• 1 small onion, chopped finely
• 1 cup walnuts, chopped small
• 2 hardboiled eggs chopped
• Salt and pepper and a splash of Kiddish wine
• Sauté mushrooms and onion in oil in a large pan. until mushrooms are brown and onions translucent. Combine in a blender/food processor with walnuts, salt, pepper, and water. Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of water or kiddish wine.
• If you are feeling particularly energetic, you can caramelise the onions and toast the walnuts before adding them — totally delicious, but not strictly necessary. Try to leave some texture to the paté — you want it blended, not pureed.
This recipe can be doubled.
Pesach cheese latkes
• 500g cottage cheese
• ½ teaspoon sugar
• 4 eggs
• 2 cups matza meal or enough to make a semi-thick batter
• ¼ cup oil to fry (or butter if preferred)
• Mix first four ingredients into a batter (will be slightly lumpy because of the cheese).
• Heat oil/butter in a large frying pan.
• Drop spoonfuls of batter into oil.
• Flip when lightly brown.
• Remove from pan and drain.
• Serve with sour cream, apple sauce or cinnamon + sugar
Apple and banana soup
Having vegetarians in my family, I have had to come up with replacements for previously standard items.
• 2 cups peeled chopped apples
• 2 bananas peeled and sliced
• 2 cups peeled chopped potatoes
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 2 cup chopped celery
• 3 cups pareve chicken stock
• Simmer until tender – about 20 minutes
• Add I tsp salt and 1 tsp curry powder (optional but great)
• Blend in food processor. If too thick, add water or milk
• Serve cold or hot with cream
These biscuits were made only at Pesach, so as a child it was always associated with the festival and as children my mother let us take part in the preparation. As it is Parev it was also served at the end of the Seder and Pesach meals with dessert.
• 125g margarine (melted in the microwave or in a pot on low heat)
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup almond flour/finely ground almond
• 1 cup matza meal
• 1 Tbsp cinnamon
• 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
• Preheat oven to 180˚.
• Mix all ingredients well.
• With wet hands, roll into little balls.
• Place on a lined baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes until not shiny.
• When cool, sprinkle with icing sugar.
Matza meal porridge
My favourite Pesach recipe is matza meal porridge. My Ouma used to eat it over Pesach, as does my mom and now me In fact, from Pesach onwards until summer, it is my staple lunch. It’s comfort food at its very best.
There are many ways to make it but the easiest is:
• Pour into a pot: 1 cup water and 1/2 cup milk.
• Add salt, cinnamon powder, ginger powder and 4 Tbsp matza meal
• Boil it up, stirring constantly with a whisk for three minutes. The porridge will thicken.
• Pour it into a bowl, drizzle some honey over it and pour a little bit of milk just around the edges.
Eat it all up and enjoy!
Published in the PDF edition of the Pesach/April 2022 issue – Click here to get it.
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