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Passover desserts: Flourless treats to try

These flourless desserts are perfect for Passover, or any other day of the year.

Flourless chocolate-macadamia cake

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet
Photo Credit: Eve Bishop. Recipe by Lauren Chattman


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter, divided
8 large eggs
1 teaspoon of kosher-for-Passover pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

HOW TO:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a roasting pan in the oven and pour in 1/2 inch of hot water. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place the pan on a sheet of aluminum foil to the sides, but not over the top, of the pan to prevent water from seeping in.

2. Combine 1 pound chocolate and 1 cup of the coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until the chocolate is about 60 percent melted. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into prepared pan.

4. Carefully place the pan into the roasting pan of hot water and bake until set around the edges but still loose in the center, about 30 minutes. Carefully lift the pan from the water and let cool on a wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

5. Remove the springform pan sides, invert the cake onto a sheet of waxed paper, peel off the parchment, and reinvert the cake onto a serving platter, discarding the waxed paper.

6. Combine the remaining 4 ounces chocolate and 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until the chocolate is about 60 percent melted. Whisk until smooth. Spread over the cake, letting some drip down the sides. Sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut and let stand until glaze is set, about 10 minutes. Slice and serve. Makes 10 servings.

Classic coconut macaroons

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 3/4 cup sugar 2
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon kosher-for-Passover vanilla extract (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt

HOW TO:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla (if using) and salt in a medium mixing bowl and mix with a rubber spatula.

3. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, and press each cookie into a pyramid shape with your fingers, leaving about 11/2 inches between each cookie.

4. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Slide parchment onto a wire rack and let cookies cool completely. Carefully peel them off parchment paper. Coconut macaroons will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Makes about 24 cookies.

Flourless almond torte with apricot compote

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: For cake: 2 1/2
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

For cake:
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) blanched slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups sugar
7 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean

For compote:
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups (about 40) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 vanilla bean

HOW TO:

1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and line bottom with parchment. Spray parchment with cooking spray.

2. Combine almonds and sugar in work bowl of food processor and process until finely ground.

3. Separate 4 of the eggs, placing yolks in a large mixing bowl and whites in another large mixing bowl. Add remaining 3 eggs, salt and seeds from vanilla bean half to bowl with yolks. Whisk until smooth. Stir in almond and sugar mixture until smooth.

4. Use an electric mixer to whip reserved whites until very floppy peaks just form. Gently fold into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Bake until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Check on cake after 35 minutes. If it is browning too quickly, loosely tent with foil for final 10 to 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edges of the cake, but cool it completely in pan on wire rack.

5. Make compote: Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in apricots, bay leaves and vanilla bean half and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, scrape into a bowl, and let cool to room temperature. Remove and discard bay leaves and vanilla bean half.

6. To serve, release cake from sides of springform pan, slice and serve with compote on the side. Makes 8 servings.

TIPS: When making this dense and delicious torte, be careful not to overbeat the egg whites (they should just form very soft, not stiff, peaks) or the cake may sink in the center as it cools. A whole vanilla bean (half for the cake batter, half for the compote) adds wonderful flavor, but a little kosher-for-Passover vanilla extract (use 1/2 teaspoon in the cake and stir 1/2 teaspoon into the cooked apricots) can be substituted if you like. To decorate, sift some kosher-for-Passover confectioners' sugar (which contains potato starch rather than cornstarch) over the cake just before serving.

Flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1 cup (2 sticks)
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, plus more for greasing pan
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon kosher-for-Passover vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

HOW TO:

1. Place a large roasting pan on middle rack of oven and pour in 1/2 inch of very hot tap water. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan, line with parchment paper and grease parchment. Place pan on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and mold foil to sides, but not over top, of pan to prevent water from seeping in.

3. Put 1 inch of water in bottom of double boiler or large saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Combine butter or margarine and chocolate in top of double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl big enough to rest on top of saucepan and place on top of simmering water. Heat, whisking occasionally, until completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

4. Whisk eggs, vanilla (if using) and salt into chocolate mixture until well combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Carefully place pan into roasting pan of hot water and bake until set around the edges but still a little loose in center, 40 to 45 minutes. Carefully lift pan from water and let cool on a wire rack. Cover cake, still in pan, with plastic (make sure plastic wrap doesn't touch surface of cake) and refrigerate overnight or up to 1 week.

5. Make raspberry sauce: Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in work bowl of food processor, and process until smooth. Press through a fine strainer and into a bowl. Discard seeds.

6. Run a sharp paring knife around edge of springform pan, remove pan sides, invert cake onto a sheet of wax paper, peel away parchment and reinvert onto serving platter. Slice and serve with raspberry sauce. Makes 8 servings.

Chocolate-toffee matzo bark

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 5 lightly salted whole
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
5 lightly salted whole matzo crackers
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2/3 cup finely chopped toasted pecans, almonds or walnuts

HOW TO:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and lightly spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange matzo on sheet, breaking them into pieces as necessary to fit in a single layer.

2. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the mixture over the matzo and spread to the edges of the pan with a spatula.

3. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Transfer the sheet to the wire rack and drizzle chocolate over caramel. Sprinkle with nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces. Chocolate-toffee matzo bark will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Citrus spongecake with tropical fruit

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: For cake: 1/3 cup
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

For cake:
1/3 cup matzo cake meal
1/2 cup potato starch
9 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

For fruit salad:
3 cups diced golden pineapple
2 kiwis, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar

HOW TO:

1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together matzo cake meal and potato starch in a medium bowl.

2. Combine yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat on high until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in orange zest, lemon zest, lime zest and orange juice.

3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until foamy. With mixer on high, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.

4. Fold matzo cake meal mixture into yolk mixture, and then gently fold whites in, in three separate additions. Scrape into an ungreased 2-piece angel food cake pan.

5. Bake 15 minutes, turn heat down to 325, and continue to bake until center is springy, 35 to 45 minutes longer. Remove from oven. If pan has feet, invert onto a heatproof surface and allow it to cool completely. (If pan doesn't have feet, invert 4 drinking glasses on counter and rest inverted pan on top of glasses to allow air to circulate underneath cake while it cools.)

6. Make fruit salad: Combine pineapple, kiwi, ginger, lime juice and sugar in a medium bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.

7. To serve: Run paring knife around edges of cake. Run paring knife under cake. Slide it off removable bottom and onto serving platter. Slice and serve with fruit salad. Makes 8 servings.

TIPS: If you can't find matzo cake meal, you can finely grind 1/3 cup of regular matzo meal in a food processor. An ungreased angel food cake pan is essential for a high rise. As the cake bakes, the batter will grip the sides of the pan and rise high (the cake will have much more trouble rising in a greased pan). By cooling the cake upside down, you use gravity to prevent it from collapsing.

Apple cinnamon matzo "bread" pudding

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 4 matzos 3/4 cup
Photo Credit: Marge Perry


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
4 matzos
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
6 eggs, separated
Honey for drizzling (optional)

HOW TO:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Break the matzos in quarters and stack them in a bowl; add cold water to cover. Soak 10 minutes; drain in a colander and press to squeeze out the water.

3. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes; transfer to a bowl to cool. Add the oil to the skillet; heat over medium high. Add the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; cook until softened, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and 2 tablespoons of the sugar.

4. Beat the yolks until very smooth; add the matzos and stir to coat. Stir in the apple mixture and walnuts.

5. Beat the whites to soft peaks; add the 1/2 cup sugar in a slow stream and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites into the matzo mixture and transfer to the prepared pan. Bake 35 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Serve drizzled with honey if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Pavlovas with sorbet and strawberries

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 4 large egg whites
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon kosher-for-Passover vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon potato starch
2 pints strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 pint lemon sorbet

HOW TO:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine egg whites and vanilla in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Increase to medium-high and whip until white and increased in volume, another minute. With mixer running, add 1 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue to whip until whites are shiny and form stiff peaks, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Gently fold vinegar and potato starch into whites.

3. Scoop whites into 6 mounds (about 1/2 cup each), several inches apart, on baking sheet. Use a spoon to spread whites into 4-inch circles and to create an indentation in center of each circle. Bake until firm and dry, 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven, open oven door slightly, and let sit in cooling oven until completely dry, about 2 hours.

4. Combine strawberries and remaining tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Place two small scoops of lemon sorbet in center of each meringue shell, top with strawberries and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Sesame and honey candy

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1 cup honey 1
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant, Recipe by Lauren Chattman


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 cup honey
1 1/4 cups sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

HOW TO:

1. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Coat bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray. Fill a larger pan with ice water.

2. Place honey, sesame seeds and salt in a small, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until honey is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook.

3. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Set pan on top of ice water and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

4. Lift foil from pan and peel foil from candy. Place candy on a cutting board and cut into 11/2-inch diamonds with a sharp chef's knife. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve, up to 2 weeks. Makes about 1/2 pound candy.

TIPS: This mixture is very sticky, so don't forget to grease the foil before you pour it into your pan. Organic, unhulled sesame seeds from the natural foods store will give you the best flavor.

Coconut-ginger rice pudding

If you follow the Sephardic tradition (Ashkenazi
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant, Recipe by Lauren Chattman


If you follow the Sephardic tradition (Ashkenazi Jews don't eat rice during Passover), you can enjoy this dairy-free and delicious rice pudding at your seder.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1/2 cup arborio rice
2 (13.66-ounce) cans lite coconut milk
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch dice, plus extra for garnish
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachio nuts

HOW TO:

1. Combine rice, coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar, ginger and salt in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is soft, 30 to 40 minutes.

2. While rice is cooking, combine mango, lime juice and remaining tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

3. Scrape pudding into a large bowl, cover and set aside to cool to room temperature. Spoon into dessert goblets, top with some mango, sprinkle with pistachios and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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