Why is this Passover different from all others?
For one thing, I couldn’t get matzo. I am quarantined and can’t go grocery shopping, and it is not available through the online services available to us. But because this Passover is different from all others in so many ways, I texted my friends, asking if anyone had a box they could spare so I would develop a new recipe to share with readers.
Meanwhile, I asked around to see if any non-quarantined friends could pick some up next time they went shopping. I am very happy that I now have three boxes — enough to get us through our tiny Seder: just my husband, dogs and me.
This Passover is different for all of us in so many ways. My father and children will not be with us: they will be sheltering in place, keeping safe and healthy. We will use technology to share at least part of the Seder; I will eat an extra slice of brisket in my son’s honor and may have an extra glass of wine just because. On the second day, we will all set up iPads in our kitchens, and (maybe while still in our pajamas) make this dessert together. It is a recipe for cooks and non-cooks alike: a building project for some and a quasi-baking one (although no oven required) for others. If you are lucky enough to have young children at home, be sure to let them help. It is ideally suited as a group activity — as fun to make as it is to eat.
PASSOVER VANILLA-CHOCOLATE ICEBOX MATZO CAKE
6 cups cold heavy cream, divided
4 cups chocolate chips
6 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar, divided*
1 teaspoon vanilla, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1. Make the ganache: gently bring 2 cups of the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl; pour the warm cream over the chips and let it sit without stirring until the chips begin to melt, about 10 minutes. Stir until smooth. (Note: as tempting as it is, don’t add the chocolate chips to the pot with warm cream. Doing so increases the risk that the chocolate will seize.)
2. Meanwhile, beat 1 1/2 cup of the cream with 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla until peaks form that just hold their shape when you pull up the beaters. Refrigerate.
3. Beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa powder until soft peaks form. Refrigerate.
3. Place a cookie cooling rack over a sheet pan. Place one matzo on the rack. Spread to the edges with about 3 rounded tablespoons of the ganache. Scoop about 1-cup of the vanilla whipped cream in the center of the square and spread in an even layer to about 1/4-inch from the edge. Top with a second sheet of matzo and again spread with the ganache. Scoop about 1 cup of the chocolate whipped cream in the center of the square and spread in an even layer to about 1/4-inch from the edge. Repeat, alternating the two whipped creams, until you top with the final (ninth) matzo. Spoon most of the remaining ganache in the center of the top square and spread it toward the edges, teasing it here and there to begin to drip down the sides.
4. Use two large spatulas to transfer the cake to a serving platter and refrigerate 4 hours to allow the ganache and whipped creams to soften (and become somewhat absorbed by) the matzo.
TIP: You can buy superfine sugar or make your own: simply process regular granulated sugar in the food processor until very fine.