When I think of my childhood Passovers, I confess that my thoughts go to dessert. Funny how that works with me — I have such a sweet tooth. Unfortunately, those desserts were very underwhelming.
I have worked tirelessly over the years to find amazing dessert recipes that not only adhere to the kosher-for-Passover traditions, but are also so good that you’ll want to make them all year.
Take, for instance, my delicious fudge brownies. You can’t get a better-tasting brownie, if you like them dense and fudgy. I love to serve them cut into cubes and layered in a small cup with whipped cream and berries.
And, then there’s my mini raspberry cheesecakes. The “graham cracker” crust tastes just like the real deal, but it's made with matzah cake meal. These are luscious and gorgeous.
I hope you enjoy these recipes, along with your Passover holiday!
Delicious Fudge Brownies
Makes 25 squares
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter
or unsalted Passover margarine, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
¼ teaspoon salt
1 scant cup matzah cake meal
½ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan.
In a bowl, mix the sugar and melted butter, then add the eggs, coffee, cocoa, salt, cake meal and toasted walnuts. Stir to combine.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading with an offset spatula or spoon. Bake for 20-25 minutes and be careful not to over bake.
The brownies should be set and seem dry to the touch, but there should not be a crust around the sides.
Cool in the pan and cut into squares. Total time is 30 minutes.
Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes
Makes 4 individual mini cheesecakes
“Graham Cracker” Crust:
1 cup matzah cake meal
1 cup potato starch
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons unsalted butter or pareve Passover margarine, cold
¼ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or pareve Passover margarine, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup sour cream
6 tablespoons whipping cream
1½ teaspoons Passover vanilla extract (see chef’s note)
1 pint raspberries
¼ cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon brandy
Preheat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the matzah cake meal, potato starch, brown sugar and cinnamon in a processor bowl with the metal blade. Pulse on and off until ingredients are blended. Add the butter and pulse a few more times until the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients. Turn out onto the parchment paper.
Press the mixture together to form small lumps. Place the baking sheets on the middle and lower racks in the oven. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned, switching the positions of the two sheets after 6 minutes. Let cool.
Place the lumps in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the brown sugar to the processor and pulse to blend. Add the melted butter and pulse until the dough starts to cling together.
Butter bottom and sides of 4 mini springform pans. Press the crust onto bottom and of pans. Place the mini springform pans on a baking tray and bake until set, about 15 minutes.
Cool on rack and maintain oven temperature.
Using a mixer, beat cream cheese in bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar, then salt; beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake cakes until top begins to brown but center still moves lightly when pan is gently shaken, about 45-50 minutes. Open oven door slightly; turn oven off. Leave cakes in oven for 30 minutes. Chill overnight uncovered. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
Run small knife between pan sides and cake. Release pan sides. Decorate cake tops with raspberries.
Stir preserves and brandy in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until mixture boils. Strain preserves. Brush glaze generously over raspberries, allow some glaze to drip between berries.
Can be made 4 hours ahead. Chill. Total time is 1 hour 45 minutes plus one night in the refrigerator.
Chef’s note: Regular vanilla extract isn’t kosher for Passover as it’s made from grain alcohol. It is possible to find kosher-for-Passover vanilla extract. If you can’t find it, you can substitute vanilla sugar which is available online. JN
Francine Coles is a food blogger based in Phoenix. Find more of her food insights at thefancypantskitchen.com. Subscribe for free and receive a complimentary dessert e-book, “Hey Sugar.”