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04/02/2012 05:38 EDT | Updated 06/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Recipes For Passover Desserts: Norene Gilletz Shares Her Tips

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Passover desserts can be a challenge because no leavening can be used. Here are some recipes for sweet treats that have been served at many seders.

My Mother's Passover Cake, Enlightened

The original version of this recipe used nine eggs. Norene Gilletz makes a healthier version using only two egg yolks and seven egg whites. Sabra liqueur is rich, bittersweet chocolate and orange liqueur produced in Israel.

60 g (2 oz) bittersweet Passover chocolate

7 egg whites

2 egg yolks

250 ml (1 cup) sugar, divided

50 ml (1/4 cup) orange juice

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla or Sabra liqueur

5 ml (1 tsp) lemon juice

250 ml (1 cup) potato starch

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Grate chocolate and set aside.

In a large, grease-free stainless or glass bowl, place egg whites and bring them to room temperature. In another mixing bowl, beat egg yolks for 2 or 3 minutes. Gradually add 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the sugar and beat for 3 to 4 minutes longer, until light and lemon-coloured. Gradually add orange juice and vanilla; beat for 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Wash beaters and dry well. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in lemon juice. Gradually beat in remaining 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar. Beat until whites are stiff and glossy but not dry.

Sift potato starch and salt into egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in whites and chocolate. Don't worry if some white streaks remain. Gently pour batter into an ungreased 25-cm (10-inch) tube pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake cake on centre rack for 1 hour. Top of cake should be golden and will spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester should come out clean. Invert pan immediately and let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. (If your pan doesn't have little feet, invert cake over the neck of a bottle or on a rack.)

To remove cooled cake from pan, slide a thin-bladed knife between pan and sides of cake. Push up the bottom of the pan; remove sides. Carefully loosen around the centre tube and the bottom of the pan. Turn cake over onto a large round serving platter.

Note: This cake is delicate, so pack it carefully to prevent crushing if you are going to freeze it. This cake can be decorated with a chocolate drizzle and orange slices or with a strawberry puree. If freezing, decorate after the cake has thawed.

Makes 12 servings.

Source: "Healthy Helpings: 800 Fast and Fabulous Recipes for the Kosher (or Not) Cook" by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap Books).

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Flourless Fudge Squares

These squares are yummy and decadent. Cereal replaces part of the nuts to allow for small indulgences.

50 ml (1/4 cup) tub margarine

175 g (6 oz) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

125 ml (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

1 egg plus 2 egg whites (or 2 eggs)

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla or Sabra liqueur

125 ml (1/2 cup) almonds or filberts, finely ground

175 ml (3/4 cup) Passover cereal (Crispy-O's or frosted flake-style cereal), finely crushed

Heat oven to 160 C (325 F). Coat a 20-cm (8-inch) square Pyrex dish with cooking spray.

Melt margarine and chocolate together on low heat; stir until smooth. (You can microwave them together on medium for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring twice, just until melted.) Let cool slightly. Blend chocolate together with sugar, egg, egg whites and vanilla. Add nuts and cereal; mix well. Spread evenly in prepared dish.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until top is dry to the touch. When cool, chill until firm. Cut into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 25 squares.

Note: These freeze well.

Source: "Healthy Helpings: 800 Fast and Fabulous Recipes for the Kosher (or Not) Cook" by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap Books).

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Mustachudos

This gluten-free cookie is perfect all year-round.

750 ml (3 cups) almonds (or a mixture of walnuts and pecans)

250 ml (1 cup) sugar

2 eggs

5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Using a steel blade in your food processor, process almonds using on/off pulses until coarsely chopped, about 30 seconds. (Walnuts and pecans will take less time.) Don't grind nuts too fine or you will have nut butter. Empty bowl.

Process sugar with eggs and cinnamon until well mixed, 25 to 30 seconds. Add nuts and process for 10 to 15 seconds longer to combine. Mixture will be like a thick paste.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving 2.5 cm (1 inch) between cookies. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. When done, cookies will be oatmeal-coloured with lightly browned edges. However, they will be slightly soft and not look fully baked. Do not remove cookies from pan until completely cooled. They will firm up as they cool. If baked until firm, they will be too hard when they cool completely.

Yields 4 to 5 dozen.

Note: These freeze well.

Source: "The New Food Processor Bible" by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap Books).

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Passover Chocolate Almond Torte

This nut-based cake is a great way to end a Passover seder, says Brenda Donner of London, Ont.

8 eggs, separated

5 ml (1 tsp) almond extract

250 ml (1 cup) sugar, divided

500 ml (2 cup) ground, blanched almonds

50 ml (1/4 cup) margarine or unsalted butter

125 to 140 g (4 to 5 oz) semi-sweet chocolate squares

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla

Almond Frosting (recipe follows) or frosting of choice

Refrigerate bowl and beaters to cool before beating egg whites.

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in almond extract and gradually blend in 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the sugar until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Gently fold in ground almonds.

Pour into sprayed 23-cm (9-inch) springform pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until cake is set.

Meanwhile, melt butter and chocolate in a heavy pot over a low heat. Stir until smooth. Set aside to slightly cool.

In a bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla gradually; beat in remaining 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar and combine until thick.

Using a mixer on low speed, gradually beat melted chocolate and butter into yolk and vanilla mixture. Gently pour over baked almond cake and return to a 180 C (350 F) oven for 25 minutes or until just set.

When cool, remove sides of pan and ice with almond or chocolate frosting.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Note: Cake can be frozen once cooled. If cake is frozen, take out of freezer, remove pan completely and ice before thawing.

Almond Frosting

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

500 ml (2 cups) icing sugar

2 ml (1/2 tsp) almond extract

Liquid (orange juice, coffee or non-dairy milk substitute)

Sliced almonds

In a medium bowl, cream butter into icing sugar. Add almond extract. Add liquid by 15 ml (tbsp) until desired consistency is reached. Ice cake and decorate with sliced almonds.

Source: Brenda Donner, London, Ont.