Oy. It's that time of year again when we have to forgo bread, anything with leavening and pretty much everything else one can think of. If you're really observant, you will also eschew beer, most hard liquor and anything not labeled "kosher for Passover." You will also drink kosher wine, but I say you have to draw the line somewhere. Have you ever tasted that stuff?
This year we escaped to the beach with our dear friends Ross and Sue. Passover is far less proper and structured in their beach house than at our Seders together in years past. Instead of a formal setting, we eat on their screened porch, on a big plank table. Instead of dressing up, we dress down. In our sweats, because even though we were in Florida, it was way too cold. (Since when is it chiller in Florida and Georgia than in New York City?) Oh, and we drank a lot of good red wine, too. Not kosher for Passover either, except for that obligatory sip or two of Manischewitz which reminds you of the worst cough medicine you ever choked down when you were a kid.
Sue and Andy are smiling now, but bet they won't be after the first sip!
Now I thought that I had pretty much said my piece about Passover desserts in postings past, so I didn't think it necessary to bring it up again. But that was before I rediscovered my recipe for FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE.
Remember that? It was all the rage in the late seventies/early eighties, until it was knocked out of grace by those ubiquitous molten chocolate cakes. I had forgotten about this recipe until recently, when I needed to make a birthday cake for a gluten-free friend. I revisited my old tried-and-true recipe and it got rave reviews. Then it hit me. This would make the perfect Passover dessert. No matzoh meal required!
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH GANACHE GLAZE
1 cup unsalted butter, diced
8 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (unsweetened) cocoa powder
6 eggs (I used extra-large)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Set aside.
Place butter and chocolate in a heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until melted. Let cool briefly.
Mix sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Add eggs to this mixture and whisk until well-blended. Stir in salt and vanilla. Whisk in chocolate-butter mixture. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until just done, but not overcooked in center, about 40 - 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool completely in pan. Run a knife around pan sides to loosen and release pan. Place the cake on a baking rack set over a sheet pan and pour ganache over top, letting it drip down the sides of the cake.
Serves 12 - 14
2 cups heavy cream
11 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup light corn syrup
Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly, then spoon over cake.
* You can make this cake a day or two ahead and store in the fridge. The glaze may set up and harden, so I recommend letting it sit at room temperature to warm up slightly before serving.
* Another way I like to serve this is to omit the ganache, then top each slice with a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce and a dollop of softly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!
* Now again, if you are observant, you will make this with kosher for Passover chocolate and butter. You might also omit the ganache because there may be no such thing as kosher for Passover cream (or maybe there is, but what do I know?) At the end of the day, do what you will. But don't confine this dessert to just Passover - it's pretty wonderful any time of the year!