Passover 5783, lots of cooking

Passover 5783/2023 was relatively quiet in our home. On the other hand, like most previous years, there was lots of cooking.

Most of the pots called to service

And lots of washing of pots to clear away the evidence before we undertook the seder followed by lots of eating.

I always lose track of how many times I wash pots and pans

Some of Daughter’s friends were flying in for a few days exploring the local national parks coincidentally on the first night of Passover. We started the seder before their (late) arrival. We also started eating before reached our doorstep.

As usual, my cooking (and washing) was staged over two days. On Tuesday, I made my haroset and huevos (eggs) as well as the broth for the matzah ball soup. Remember, I carefully save trimmings from vegetables in the freezer to make a wonderful broth.

You can see that I’m not a perfectionist!

I also cooked one of my two desserts. Sometime ago, I downloaded a recipe for Raspberry Amaretti Cookies. I had been experimenting with almond flour (see 1/21/20 post for a marvelous recipe for orange-almond cake). In the meantime, a package of freeze-dried raspberries found its way into the pantry; it was a natural for flour-averse Passover.

ready for the oven

Raspberry Amaretti Cookies. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Stack two matching, heavyweight, cookie sheets one inside the other to keep the bottoms of the cookies from getting too brown. Line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Next finely grind 1 ounce freeze-dried raspberries in a food processor or spice grinder until finely ground powder.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups almond flour, 1 cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and the freeze dried raspberries until evenly incorporated. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk 2 large egg whites and ¼ tsp lemon juice until they hold soft peaks. Add the beaten egg whites and ½ almond extract* to the dry ingredients and stir until mixture forms a soft, sticky dough; you can knead hands if necessary (it’s pretty sticky).

*I omitted this ingredient; the cooking show judges are often critical of extract use.

Next, lightly dust your hands with powdered sugar.* Use a small cookie scoop to portion dough into 1-inch balls (or just take some dough in your hands) and roll into a smooth balls. Then roll in powdered sugar. Arrange on parchment or silicon-lined baking sheets, leaving 1 inch of space between cookies.

*No measurement was given for the powdered sugar, I think I poured about 2 cups in a bowl and used it liberally on my hands, then on the cookies.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until tops are cracked and bottoms are just barely golden. If you prefer crunchier cookies you can give them an extra 5 minutes or so or until the tops begin to brown too. Remove from oven; let cool a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

crispy and yummy

One or our guests particularly liked these cookies. He took them daily on their park treks.

Wednesday was the morning of Passover and back to cooking. I started with finishing the soup. This involved straining the vegetables from the broth, adding chopped onion, diced celery, sliced carrots and sliced parsnips (a must).* I also excavated some shredded cooked chicken from the freezer for the soup. That simmered for about an hour; matzah balls were made closer to dinner time.

*Carrot and parsnip peels and celery trimmings are in the freezer for my next soup!

Dessert #2 was cooked next, another new recipe, one I was waiting for company to prepare. Some time ago, a friend gave me a tin of chestnut spread brought from France by her daughter. Then I saw a Nigella Lawson recipe for chestnut pavlova or Mont Blanc. It looked luscious, but needed more than just Constant Companion, Daughter, and me. This year’s Passover was the perfect time. Wow, cannot wait for another fin of chestnut spread and more company!

Chestnut pavlova or Mont Blanc. First make the pavlova. My regular recipe calls for baking slowly in a warm oven, 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The result is a crunchy exterior and soft marshmallow interior.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Trace a 10-inch circle on a piece of parchment (trace around a dinner plate), place the parchment on a cookie sheet, set aside. In the bowl of a large mixer, beat the 4 large egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add ½ tsp cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating while gradually adding 2 tablespoons at a time of the sugar (up to about ½ cup of sugar) until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Beat until the whites are very stiff and glossy. 

Spread the meringue into the circle on the parchment. Swirl it around as you spread it. Use a spatula to help spread the meringue more easily. Bake it without opening the oven door for 2 hours, until firm to the touch and lightly browned. Check for doneness by poking it while still in the oven with the tip of a sharp knife. It can be a little bit sticky in the center. Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool in the oven another 1-1 1/2 hours. 

Yes, the brand Nigella recommends

Nigella’s topping. Stir together a can of chestnut spread and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth and spreadable, about 1 minute. Gently spread mixture over top of pavlova base. As you can see, I did not spread all the way to edges. Beat 1 12/ cups of heavy cream with electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Gently spread whipped cream on chestnut mixture, leaving a thin border (1/4 to 1/2 inch) of chestnut mixture visible. I forgot to shave some chocolate into long splinters over whipped cream, and served immediately.

I saw the real Mont Blanc in 1970, my first trip to Europe

The rest of the menu: my mother’s simple roast chicken with lots of lemon juice and oregano, richly delicious duck fat potato galette, and a crisp, refreshing celery and fennel salad.

The table, a Passover dinner

Of course, during Passover week I continued cooking, that is before I ran out of steam and the leftovers called us to them. Luckily a good amount of time falls between these very food-centric holiday celebrations.


  1. Sorry for the delayed response. Great recipes, and indeed, Passover is one of the best times for cooking!


  2. Hi Annette. I hope you and your family had a Chag Sameach! My Mom has had health problems recently, with 2 hospital stays in the past month. She’s home now and on the mend. Take care, Sylvia


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