Recipes for your Virtual Seder
There's a 5th question during the seder this year: How is this Passover different than every other Passover? The obvious answer: We're not together with family and friends in the same way due to COVID19. I'm here to help you create your own Passover seder at home, and find new ways to honor the old rituals.
Scroll down for a video on making matzo at home and for some of my favorite Passover recipes.
Check my IG @marksoffmadison for more photos and tips.
This matzo is not kosher for Passover, but is an easy and fun way to experience this most symbolic Passover food, especially if you make it with your kids. For best results, I make it with 50% whole wheat flour/50% all purpose flour. It’s also delicious with 25% spelt flour/25% whole wheat/50 all purpose, but in that case add 8 more grams of water. You can, of course, make it with 100% all purpose flour.
Traditionally, matzo is to be made quickly so as to prevent any fermentation of the dough. The matzo must be baking within 18 minutes of the time the flour touches the water, so it’s good to have a tag team making it, with one person shaping the balls, one person rolling them out, one person poking holes, and another baking.
Two forks (or dough docker)
Pastry brush (optional)
Pizza peel (optional, can use baking sheet)
Pizza stone (optional; can use baking sheet)
300 grams flour (add 8 more grams of water if using spelt flour)
200 grams warm water
5 grams kosher salt
Preheat oven to 500-550 degrees.
Measure the flour and set aside. Place warm water in a mixing bowl and add the salt, mixing it through. Add the flour and mix quickly, using your hands, until all the flour is incorporated. Sprinkle a little flour on the countertop and place the dough on it. Knead vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, then shape the dough into a ball.
Cut the dough into pieces the size of golf balls. Use your fingers to flatten the dough into a small disc then lay it on the floured countertop. Use a rolling pin to roll the disc out as thinly as possible. Aim for the thinness of fresh pasta, where you can make out newsprint through it. If the dough sticks to the countertop sprinkle more flour on it.
Use the forks to poke many holes in each piece. Brush any extra flour off the matzo and place on the pizza peel or baking sheet. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, making sure not to burn. Remove to cooling rack and repeat until all the dough is baked.
My most-requested Passover recipe, and a luxurious alternative to the traditional Ashkenazi-style apple/walnut charoses that's more common in NYC. I love to eat it at breakfast, all during Passover and beyond.
24 dried figs
24 pitted dried dates
4 oranges, peeled and sectioned
Fresh juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup almonds
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
Place the figs in a food processor and coarsely chop them. Working in order, add the remaining ingredients one at a time, pulsing or chopping after each addition. The mixture should be almost smooth and pasty, like mortar. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Italian Jewish Passover Brisket
Unless you're quarantined with a large family, you won't use this much brisket for your seder. Fortunately, cooked brisket freezes extremely well, so carve it up and freeze in smaller servings to use later.
Serves 6 to 8
1 brisket (about 5 to 6 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 chicken livers, membranes removed and cut into 1/2" pieces (optional)
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Season the brisket with salt and pepper and set aside. In a 7- to 8-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the brisket and brown well on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until all the vegetables are almost soft and the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken livers, if using, and cook, stirring, until they begin to firm, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, and rosemary, then add the brisket and any juices. Raise the heat to medium high, and bring to a simmer.
Cover the pot and place in the middle of the oven. Cook, turning the meat once, until it is fork-tender, about 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the brisket to a cutting board and lightly cover with aluminum foil. Let stand for 15 minutes, Meanwhile, spoon off the accumulated fat from the surface of the sauce. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce right in the pot (or transfer to a blender or food processor to puree and return to the pot). Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
Slice the meat and serve with the warm sauce on the side.
(Alternatively, slice the meat, return to the pot, and refrigerate overnight. Remove any solidified fat from the surface of the sauce and reheat, covered, in a 300 degree oven until piping hot.)
These macaroons were my mother's favorite, and that's why they're named after her. They're light and airy, a world away from the packaged macaroons of my childhood. At my restaurants we've always made two versions: plain and chocolate-dipped. Each type has its devotees, and both are delicious.
Makes about 3 dozen
1 14-oz bag unsweetened coconut flakes
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 egg whites, beaten until frothy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate Dip (optional)
1 cup grated dark chocolate,
preferably 70% cacao
6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine all the macaroon ingredients until the mixture is tight and sticky. Using a small scoop, shape small mounds and place them roughly 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the macaroons are golden brown. Allow them to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet.
To make them chocolate dipped:
Create a double-boiler by placing a stainless steel bowl on top of a saucepan filled halfway with boiling water. Over medium heat, melt all the dip ingredients in the bowl, mixing together with a wooden spoon or spatula until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
Dip the macaroon tops in the chocolate, covering the cookie a little over halfway with chocolate. Place on a metal rack or in the refrigerator to set before serving.
Store in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for 6 months.