I hear people groan about Passover food, particularly when it comes to desserts. But honestly, back in the day all we had was some aunt’s dry-as-dust sponge cake and two kinds of canned macaroons. In recent years there’s been much more, thanks to those wonderful cooks who created flourless chocolate tortes and mousse-filled Vacherins and so many other choices grandma never could have contemplated. Even the canned macaroons are better now and with many more flavors.
Still, when you can’t use regular flour or yeast, baking powder or cornstarch, our favorite desserts don’t taste the same as they do during the rest of the year. After a week of even the best of Passover sweets, most of us are ready to get back to normal eating. A post-Passover dessert chametzfest as it were.
Take brownies, for instance. Right after the holiday, wouldn’t it be swell to sink your teeth into a dark, sweet, chocolate-y brownie? That’s one of the first items on the list at our house. The grownups in my family like the brownies moist, fudgy and candy-like -- the kind that horrifies the dentist. The grandkids like their brownies somewhat chewier because those are better for dunking into milk. My recipe is flexible enough to suit all of us, but to make it easier here is my recipe for my Fudgy Brownies and my Chewy Brownies (more flour plus baking powder).
Then, there’s Babka. There’s something magical about the fragrance of yeast cake baking after eight days without. But beyond the captivating perfume coming from the oven, babka’s crumb, tender on the tongue, is incomparable. For dessert or afternoon break or even breakfast, hot coffee and a slice of yeast babka – cinnamon or chocolate – is a most welcome treat after the holiday.
Pudding? Oh yes. Like grandma used to make from a box, but so much better homemade (and without all the additives and artificial ingredients). Or layered with graham crackers for Graham Cracker Pudding Cake.
I always make a fresh bunch of these Chocolate Chunk Grand Finale Cookies (nut free version) after the holiday because these are the absolute family favorites and my freezer is never without them, except during Passover! I also follow my grandma’s tradition to make something sweet using phyllo dough. She made apple strudel, but I like a sophisticated dessert such as Almond Phyllo Snails (M'Hencha), which are beautiful, so they’re a good bet if you’re having company over for dinner or coffee and …