Desserts for Passover
Surprisingly moist, light, and springy, this almond cake is a delicious departure from the dense, rustic ones you might be accustomed to. We use six beaten egg whites to give the cake lots of lift—without the use of leavening agents, which are forbidden on Passover. Because traditional versions of almond extract and powdered sugar can contain spirits and cornstarch (respectively), be sure to seek out kosher-for-Passover versions. (You can find kosher almond extract here and kosher powdered sugar here on Amazon.) Also, check the label on your cooking spray for any ingredients that aren't permitted; you can grease the pan with mild-flavored olive oil if your cooking spray doesn't comply.
Because it contains no flour, the traditional Australian pavlova is an excellent choice for a Passover dessert. It's a big, fancy meringue with a crisp surface and a soft, almost marshmallow-like interior. You can top it with any fruit you like; the classic ones are strawberries, kiwis, bananas, and passionfruit.
Notes: Cornstarch and cream of tartar, ingredients typically used to help thicken and coagulate the egg whites, are omitted here because they're not kosher for Passover. The pavlova is just fine without them, we found. Vanilla extract, because it has alcohol, isn't kosher either; instead you can use vanilla flavoring made under the supervision of a rabbi (see below for more on kosher for Passover guidelines). You can make the pavlovas up to 1 day ahead; store the ungarnished pavlova airtight, at room temperature.
Prep and Cook Time: About 1 hour, 30 minutes, plus 2 hours to cool.
Lemon-Almond Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
Citrus and almond is a quintessential Mediterranean flavor combination, while the lemon curd filling is a traditional British dessert topping. And as with many Passover desserts, this cake gets its structure from beaten egg whites instead of chemical leaveners. Prepare the curd a day or two ahead of time (leftovers are delicious on ice cream or fruit). You can bake the cake earlier in the day and let it cool on a wire rack, but decorate with the curd and berries just before serving.
Passover Chremslach with Mixed Fruit Compote
"When Cooking Light asked me to prepare light Passover desserts, I thought including these fritters, which are usually deep-fried, would be impossible. But making a few changes to the batter - and briefly pan-frying, then baking - worked well. You can crisp any leftovers in a warm oven and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar for breakfast." -JN
Passover Pear-Ginger Crisp
Chocolate-Pine Nut Meringue Smooches
These are traditionally sevred at Passover, when flourless desserts are the rule. The meringue can be very sensitive to humidity, so it's best not to make them on a damp day.
Pistachio Pavlovas with Lemon Curd and Berries
Filled meringues are a lovely finale to a Passover seder. Make components ahead, and assemble at the last minute. If serving on an occasion other than Passover, try adding one teaspoon vanilla extract to the meringues.
Strawberry-Apple Macaroon Crumble
Notes: Matzoh cake meal is available in supermarkets during the Passover season. If you're not making this dessert for Passover, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour can be substituted for matzoh cake meal, and an equal amount of cornstarch for potato starch. You can make the dessert up to 4 hours ahead; let stand at room temperature, then reheat in a 325° oven for 15 minutes before serving.
Becka's Passover Apple Cake
My mother's friend Becka makes this amazing cake. It's so light and fluffy, it's hard to believe there's no flour in it. Prep: 30 minutes; Bake: 50 minutes.
Passover Pecan Bars
This dessert is reminiscent of pecan pie--with the extra sweetness of maple syrup and flaked coconut baked right in.
Macaroons are a European confection especially popular at Passover. Here, the use of pecans adds a taste of the American South.
Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cake
Oakland chef Tanya Holland puts a Southern spin on this classic Passover cake. It will rise as it bakes, and then sink rather dramatically in the center. Don't worry about this--just trim the top with a large serrated knife and save the pieces for snacks.
Salted Chocolate Matzo Toffee
You can make this sweet snack year-round using saltine crackers for a crispy, salty base.
Sponge Cake with Orange Curd and Strawberries
Dairy- and flour-free, this cake is a winner year-round. Matzo cake meal—finely ground matzo—stands in for wheat flour.
Sweet Cinnamon Passover Rolls
Fallen Chocolate Cake with Cherry Red Wine Sauce
This moist, dense, rich cake contains no flour or other grains, making it appropriate for Passover. You can find kosher-for-Passover wine, vanilla, and almond extract in grocery stores this time of year or at www.kosher.com. To achieve the cake's fudgy texture, be sure to pull it from the oven when a wooden pick comes out nearly clean. You can prepare and chill the sauce a day ahead.