Sunday, 24 March 2013

Pesach Baking

So, the first night of Pesach (Passover) is tomorrow night so today it was time to decrumb the kitchen and start the preparations. I'll be cooking for 14 tomorrow (and working all day) so today was baking day. Pesach is the festival that celebrates Moses leading the Jewish slaves out of Egypt. Whilst it is, of course, about remembering a sad story in the past it is also about all the food that needs to be prepared. I've bought the matzah - I love Waitrose. Who would have thought that a supermarket in Surrey would stock kosher food - normally we have to go up to Golders Green to get our supplies. I've also stocked up in matzah meal that I'll use to make kneidlach (matzah balls) and kremsels (matzah pancakes). I've boiled the eggs (traditionally everyone has an egg dipped in salt water at the Seder meal) and the parsley is ready on the windowsill (this will be the green herb that represents spring).

Pesach is the festival when we don't eat bread for 8 days - the story goes that the Jews had to leave Egypt so quickly that the bread didn't have time to rise so we eat matzah (unleavened bread) instead. All the baking that I've done today has therefore not used any flour. I always make a chocolate cake and then trawl the net for a new ground almond based cake. This is the best chocolate cake I have ever made and the recipe came from the Waitrose magazine. The recipe calls for green and black chocolate but I use value dark chocolate instead. It's one of the simplest recipes that tastes gorgeous. Here it is...

300g dark chocolate
275g caster sugar
165g unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
5 large free range eggs
1tbsp ground almonds

Break the chocolate into a microwave proof bowl, add the sugar, butter and pinch of salt. Microwave on defrost for 10 minutes (stir halfway through). Whisk the eggs with the ground almonds. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, pour into a 20cm greased tin and bake in an oven heated to 180 degrees centigrade for 35-40 minutes. And here it is....

I also found a new recipe on the net for apple and almond cake. I've been trying to find a recipe for ages that would use up the apples that have been sitting in the fruit bowl and here it is. It's a little more complicated than the chocolate cake but I'm hoping it will taste as good.

3 large eggs
3 apples
Lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
170g marg/butter
1 1/3 cups ground almonds
1tsp baking powder

Peel the apples. cube two of them and put in a bowl with half the lemon juice and 1tbsp sugar. slice the other apple and add lemon juice. Cream the marg and sugar. Add the egg yolks and continue mixing. Add the almonds and baking powder and fold in. Whip the egg whites until the stiff peak stage. Fold into the mixture. Add the cubed apples and fold in. Pour into a 20cm cake tin and place the sliced apples onto the top of the cake, fanned out. Bake in the oven at 150 degrees centigrade for 1 1/4 hours until browned on top.

And here it is (sorry about the dark photo). I'm now looking forward to eating them.

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