Saturday, April 8, 2017

Just Desserts For Your Holidays

Everyone obsesses about the Easter and Passover dinners  - what to serve and how its' going to be cooked. Yet dessert is just as important . It provides not only an end to the meal but the time to really relax and chat with family and friends. There should be just as much thought put into it as the main meals.

Easter can be a time of  gravity or fun.  An easy idea for a cross is buying  five pound cakes and arrange in a cross shape. It's then decorating them with white buttercream icing and marzipan flowers. Craft shops do sell cross cake molds so making one is doable. It's usually double the amount of batter and icing.Another religious themed cake is the Easter lamb. You need a special mold for this which can be bought at any kitchen store along with a dense pound cake batter. Ice with buttercream and coconut to simulate the lamb's wooly coat along with colored icing for the eyes, ear interiors and nose.  Another idea is just a regular round cake decorated with buttercream or cream cheese icing lilies. Then there is the fun shaped egg, bunn,,y and carrot cakes. Bake these in a simple chocolate or vanilla or for whimsy  - carrot. Decorate an egg cake with colored icing, pastel sprinkles (which can be bought at your local grocery or Target) and colored sugar.. A bunny cake can also be coated in flaked coconut for a fuzzy look. If there are kids, then think fun cupcakes iced in Easter colors. You can do a two color swirl on top for extra fun or turn the cakes into mini baskets. This requires green icing for the grass. Use red string licorice or green pipe cleaners for the basket handle and of course, jelly beans for the eggs.

Passover presents a different but exciting challenge - baking without flour.  There are many cakes and cookies that are flourless, and would work well ending any seder. For the first night, you may want to try a show stopper. Think a chocolate sponge made with ground almonds and ten eggs to give it a chewy , sweet density. A real crowd pleaser would be the Passover brownie cake, made with finely ground matzoh which many cooks use  to create all sorts of baked goods.It, too, is rich in eggs, using five along with a cup and a quarter of almonds.Passover cakes can even be layer cakes and there is a seven layer one created from  not surprisingly - matzoh sheets. It's creating a kind of mousse with eggs, melted chocolate margerine, and sugar and spreading it on layers of  kedim soaked matzoh. This is made with raw eggs, so be careful with who it's served to. Macarons are another holiday tradition. It's creating airy puffs from egg whites, and white sugar along with desiccated coconut. You can go trendy and use aquafaba - bean water.It's the protein rich water that chickpeas are canned in and since it has the same make up as egg whites can be made into a glossy meringue . The bean flavor dissipates with cooking and the finished product is a glossy , light as a feather treat.

Easter and Passover are all about the traditional foods. Just remember to just make dessert as important as the min meal. It can be serious or fun,. but always full of sweetness and flavor.

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