Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Elegant Passover Kosher Collection Dessert Recipes Chocolate Strawberry Tart and Lemon Meringue Pie


I love Passover, also called Pesach, especially the customs and the food. Usually we have guests for both Seder dinners as well as other meals during the eight-day holiday when we retell the story of the mass exodus of the Jews out of Egypt so there's so much food to prepare. For me, it's a time to slow down and appreciate the true meaning behind the celebration and the importance of passing down traditions to my children.

Passover Chocolate Strawberry Tart I Baked

Passover is not only about matzah, the flat unleavened bread that we eat for the duration of the festival. It's also an opportunity to zone out in my kitchen with a blank canvas and some fresh ingredients -- especially California locally-grown produce -- to create some really beautiful and delicious masterpiece dishes for my family and guests to enjoy.

Though not a trained chef I'm passionate about cooking and baking. Particularly I enjoy the challenge of making Passover desserts that my guests and kids will talk about and beg for all year long. So when cookbook author and food artisan Pam Reiss sent me her first and second books for review Soup A Kosher Collection and Passover A Kosher Collection, respectively, I was excited to try her recipes out from the minute I leafed through both books right after they arrived.

I'll be spotlighting some fabulous Kosher Collection soups I've tested in a future post later this spring. Pesach starts on Friday night, though, so I'd like to share two amazing desserts from Pam's Passover cookbook that I made last year and plan to bake again for 2012.  The first recipe is titled simply Chocolate Tart but I think a better way to describe it would be to call it Dense, Luscious Chocolate Strawberry Tart. To make the Lemon Meringue Pie I actually used two different recipes from the Passover cookbook that I combined and transformed into my own original interpretation: Meyer Fresh Lemon Meringue Tart.

Passover A Kosher Collection and my Chocolate Tart

To make either of the tarts featured in this MBE post you'll need a tart  pan with a removable bottom and of course the beautifully-photographed cookbook Passover a Kosher Collection by Pam Reiss, $29.95 and available in the U.S. and Canada. Visit for information about the author and like on Facebook to hear the latest from Pam.

The Chocolate Tart (page 177) can be made parve with margarine (non-dairy) or dairy with butter and uses matzah cake meal instead of flour as well as cocoa powder, sugar, salt, egg and water for the crust. While the crust is baking you prepare the filling using a double boiler to melt/mix semisweet chocolate, butter or margarine, sugar, instant coffee, and vanilla extract. Lastly, six eggs are blended in one at a time which I think is what makes this the best chocolate dessert of any kind year-round that I've ever tasted. To top it off, garnishing it with fresh, ripe sliced strawberries adds an elegant presentation and requires very little extra effort.

Passover Lemon Meringue Tart I created Combining Two of Pam's recipes
The Meyer Lemon Meringue Tart I made is actually a combination of two of Pam's recipes. For the crust I used the crust recipe for the Chocolate Tart leaving out the cocoa and adding a tiny bit more cake meal than it called for to compensate. Then while the empty crust baked I made Lemon Curd (page 187) using freshly squeezed lemon juice made from our backyard Meyer Lemons which I cooked on the stove top with sugar, margarine, and egg yolks. The next step is to pour the warm lemon curd filling into the baked crust, cover it and chill in the refrigerator. After that I followed the recipe for the meringue in Pam's Lemon Meringue Pie (page 180) recipe. This tart made a stunning entrance at dessert time and everyone loved it. In fact a few friends asked for the recipe to take home, one commenting that this was simply heavenly -- that was my sentiment exactly too.

Mommy Blog Expert secrets to perfect meringue
  • Separate yolks carefully from the egg whites you'll be using
  • Beat to stiff peaks, but don't over beat whites to avoid toughness
  • When you browning meringue watch it so it doesn't burn
  • To serve meringue pie run hot water over knife to heat it, then dry and slice
What are your favorite things to cook and bake for Passover? Please leave a comment and share your ideas.

FTC Disclosure: I received Passover A Kosher Collection to facilitate this test and review post. However, MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one. 


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