A few weeks ago I was visiting my folks (and getting some snow time in- Ski Alta!) and as I was packing up to go home my mother handed me a bag of what looked like chocolate muffins and said that I should take them to my kids. Upon arrival back in California I opened them up and discovered that they were bouchons, which are like chocolate brioche. When we had eaten them all a few days later I sent my mom a note thanking her and she sent me back the recipe. In the interest of letting my Jewish mother share her baking skills with the world, I present you with her version of this very tasty treat. You should have a batch on hand when Passover ends later this week.
Tag Archives: pesach
Korech, Hillel’s sandwich at the Temple. It is said that when the Temple still stood in Jerusalem Hillel would combine matza, maror and the Pesach lamb into one in order to observe the mitzva of eating the sacrifice on matza and maror (Numbers 9:11). It might also be the case that he was hungry and dinner was still being organized in the kitchen.
Now, what if we still had a temple? What if we still made the sacrifice? What would a modern chef do with such a sandwich? I think the answer would be the kosher for passover BLT. I put this to the test by taking some of the lamb saddle from our butchering class and curing it with pink salt. Cured and smoked I then sliced it up and placed it on some homemade matza, with fresh parsley, horseradish mayo and of course fresh tomatoes.
Hillel would have asked for seconds.
Ahh… Charoset… the glue that hold the Passover seder together. Or more figuratively, the mortar our enslaved ancestors used to hold the pyramids together and an essential item for your seder plate. I have yet to come across anyone who doesn’t love charoset. Perhaps it is the sweetness of the apples and honey, but probably it has to do with the fact that it is the first real food we get to eat during the Passover seder. We have made it through the bulk of the haggadah, recited the kiddush, eaten the karpas, asked the four questions, spilled the wine for the plagues, eaten the maror and finally we get the hillel sandwich, which is the perfect appetizer for the meal to come. I almost always make too much and end up eating it for snacks for days following Passover. There are many recipes for charoset, but all include some form of fruit, nuts, sugar or honey and a bit of wine. I like to make a fairly traditional Ashkenazi version with little personal touches.
So I actually made a batch of this over a month ago for a friend and almost forgot that I had promised to post the recipe in time for Passover. I make this delightfully simple matzah based candy every year, and it never fails to impress, but it is far from original so I’ll keep this post brief. I originally tasted it made with saltine crackers as a kid and I, like many many other Jews, adapted the recipe using matzah. Variations on this treat abound so get creative. I recently came across one that puts a layer of coconut in between the toffee and the cocolate, which I may try if I have some coconut left over from my soon to be made macaroons. If you want to be truly from scratch about this, you can use Gordon’s guide to making your own matzah, or you can skip that part and just buy a box.
“Lo! this is the bread of our affliction.” That line comes from the Passover Seder Service or Hagadah (meaning a recitation). Now after a week of eating this stuff you may feel afflicted, but that is a result of not enough fiber (eat some prunes). Also you might feel afflicted by seeing the price of a box (or case) of Matzah. In that case I recommend that you make your own. It’s easier than you think and as an added bonus you can make it with high fiber flour, thus eliminating (if you pardon the pun) the other difficulty.
Matzah is intended to remind us of the Israelites who in their great haste to leave Egypt baked bread without letting it rise. Up until recently, raising bread was a matter of trying to entice the airborne yeast to settle and have kids on your dough, a time consuming process. It was slightly faster if you had a starter, but still could be 12-24 hours to get a dough frisky enough to make bread.
As a result Rabbinic instruction is that it should not take more than 18 minutes from the addition of the water to the finished matzah. If you work in small batches this turns out to be fairly easy. The resulting matzah is less like cardboard and more like what it was originally, rushed pita. For another take, check out Mark Bittman on matza.
Can we get a syndication deal now?
As a slight change of pace and in preparation for Passover, Gordon and I signed up for a lamb butchering class taught by the amazing Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats. In true heathen style I came across Ryan in a New York Times article on fried pig skin. In addition to the delicious sausages he sells at the Ferry Building Farmers Market, Ryan is known for his amazing chicharrones, that he thoughtfully shared with us at the end of class (along with some grilled kidneys and other treats). The class was held in San Francisco non-profit, incubator kitchens of La Cocina.