The Jew And The Carrot

Truffles, Date Cake and More — Passover Desserts From Four Famous Chefs

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

  • Print
  • Share Share
Food Network Magazine

Any chef will tell you that the secret to a great Passover dessert is not trying to make kosher-for-Passover versions of year-round cakes. Don’t even think about baking a loaf cake or pie that requires switching out cups of flour for loads of matzo meal or potato starch. Instead, stick to recipes that have little or no flour, or recipes that call for nuts instead of flour.

Flourless chocolate cake is the most well-known Passover-friendly dessert, but we checked in with four talented chefs — a Jewish cookbook author, a Food Network test-kitchen director, a fine-dining restaurateur and a Food Network host — for some more unusual recommendations. Whether it’s a refreshing granita, decadent chocolate truffle, a Mediterranean-style walnut and date cake or the more traditional mandel bread, we think these desserts are winners — on Passover and all year long.

Katherine Alford, director of the Food Network Kitchens, and a judge on the Food Network’s “Ultimate Recipe Showdown,” recommended a flourless walnut-date cake, that she featured in this month’s Food Network Magazine.

Why did you choose this recipe?: “There’s a huge tradition of nuts and flourless cakes in Viennese desserts. The flourless walnut-date cake is really delicious. It’s the kind of cake you’d want to have any time, not just on Passover. The nuts and dates together have a great Middle-Eastern taste, so it’s within the language of Passover… Another nice (and simple) thing to do is a chocolate soufflé. It’s just chocolate, eggs and egg whites. The only issue with that is that you have to serve them immediately.”


Susie Fishbein, author of the “Kosher by Design” cookbooks, loves making Passover seders. “I don’t play into that fake food. I know it can’t possibly be good, and it’s so unhealthy.”

Susie’s Go-to dessert for the seders: “Our seders end sometimes around midnight. I know that at that time, when people have eaten so much, they’re not looking for a dessert buffet. I like to make chocolate truffles and pineapple truffles. I also make a warm runny chocolate soufflé. It’s nice to have something warm at the end of a meal.”

Passover Dessert Tips: “Look for desserts that at their core don’t start with cups of flour. If you’re making a dessert that calls for four tablespoons of flour, like a flourless chocolate cake or soufflé, matzo cake meal is the closest substitute for flour. Or you can use half matzo cake meal, half potato starch. Stay away from things that require lot of margarine. It’s hard to work with the Passover margarine,” she adds.


Bill Telepan, chef-owner of Telepan restaurant in New York City, holds a seder at his restaurant each year. “I’ve had a couple of seder dinners,” he said. “And I’ve learned what’s involved in it. You want to capture certain essences of what you’d get at home, but it has to be a little more refined in a restaurant.”

A simple granita: At Telepan, the chefs make a seasonal pineapple sorbet with mint and pineapple syrup. It’s really easy to make: Just puree fresh pineapple, add simple syrup, and mint and then freeze it. “It’s nice and light for dessert,” says Bill.

You can have your cake too: “We always gravitate toward chocolate almond cake. It’s not thought of as a Passover dessert, but it works on Passover. It’s delicious.”


Adam Gertler, host of Food Network’s “Kid in a Candy Store,” and former “The Next Food Network Star” contestant lives in California but grew up on Long Island. He has fond memories of his family’s seders.

Favorite family recipe: Adam said his family always had a healthy sense of competition when it came to the seders. But the one thing they all agreed on, was the superiority of his mother’s Passover rendition of mandel bread. “My mother has made it every holiday I can remember, sometimes with nuts , sometimes with chocolate, and most frequently with both. It is the reward I look forward to most after the last song is sung on the night of seder. Crunchy like biscotti, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar baked into each slice. This is the gold standard of mandel bread,” he said.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Truffles, Souffle, Passover, Kosher for Passover, Flourless Cake, Dessert

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.