Sunday, April 4, 2010

More Passover - sorry!

Here's the other thing (apart from the dirty little secret about matzoh) people won't tell you about Passover:  it's the stinkiest holiday EVER.  First you have the overpowering smell of fish stock in your house.  Then chicken stock.  Then, that horseradish.  And finally the "egg" smell which lingers in your kitchen sink and on your countertops, especially if you miss a spot when you're trying to clean everything up.  Eggs, you ask?  What's up with that?

That would be because eggs are the only things you can use for leavening.  That would be because I was trying yet again to best Andy at those nasty Passover desserts.  Oh, and I needed them for the matzoh balls too.

But for now, that meant a sponge cake.  With potato starch, eggs and no other leavening.  Sigh.

Here's the neat thing, though.  I unearthed Henry's mom's recipe for sponge cake from a 1959 version of her Temple Sisterhood cookbook.  Cool!  I recalled that she filled it with raspberry jam, rolled it up and served it with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

And then a faint memory struck me:  my non-Jewish mom (you know, the one who shows up in online videos) used to make a jelly roll also.  I remembered that coconut was involved.

I called her to ask about it.  Sure enough, my memory was correct (that never happens).  Her mother (Ethel Barrow Valsek who was a great southern cook - guess where you got those genes from Andy?) made a similar jellyroll but she glazed the top with raspberry jam then sprinkled it with fresh coconut.  

So the following result is a collaboration between a mom who is Jewish and a mom who is not.  A good combination, I think.  If only the Israelis and Palestinians could find such common ground......

JELLY ROLL (for Passover)

8 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (superfine, if possible), divided
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest and juice from 1 large lemon
1 cup potato starch
Confectioner's sugar
12 oz. seedless raspberry preserves
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Line a baking sheet (1/2 sheet pan) with parchment and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Place egg yolks in electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add 1 cup of the sugar and salt and beat for 10 minutes, or until thick and creamy.  Add vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and blend well.  Remove to a large mixing bowl.

Wash mixing bowl thoroughly then fit mixer with a whisk attachment.   Place egg whites in bowl and beat until foamy.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until whites are stiff but not dry.

Fold beaten whites into the yolk/sugar mixture, using a spatula and a folding motion.  Fold in potato starch.  Do not overmix.  Turn into prepared pan.  Smooth evenly with an offset spatula or knife and run a finger around edges of pan.

Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes.

While cake is cooling, place a kitchen towel (preferably linen) on the counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Turn cake out onto towel.  Starting from the long side, roll cake into the towel.  Let cool completely while rolled up.

When cake is cool, carefully unroll and spread 3/4's of the raspberry jam over top.  Re-roll and transfer to serving platter.  Heat the remaining jam and brush it over the top of the cake.  Sprinkle coconut over top.  Slice, serve and enjoy.  Even if it is a Passover dessert.

Serves 8 - 10

Note:  this is a lovely and light confection and I would happily consume it apart from Passover.  However, in that case, I would also add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the potato starch. 

Coming soon:  Lessons from Andy!


  1. Thanks for this recipe! They do have baking soda / baking powder for Passover, though you may not want to invest in it for just a week each year...

  2. Wanted to report back now that it's done. I split this between two tinfoil cookie sheets and it filled them beautifully. Filled one with melted raspberry jelly and the other with apricot jelly & thinned "almond paste" (sugar, a bit of water, ground almonds). Oh, and I did use baking powder. Don't know if it made a huge difference, though. Then I made another batch in loaf pans for sponge cake. Tasty!