Last night was the first night of Passover. We eat a great big meal and sing lots of songs and say a ton of prayers and drink loads of wine. It’s called Seder and this happens to be my FAVORITE Jewish Holiday.
Usually I insist on hosting everyone for the first night of Passover, but I’ve been a little crazy crazy busy with the business lately, so my very kind MIL offered to host the Seders at their place.
I asked if I could bring a kugel and a dessert – both of which were gratefully accepted. Oh – and I made the Seder Plate too (it’s a ceremonial plate filled with symbolic foods related to the holiday). I did a riff on the traditional Haroset for the plate. I’ll include that recipe too.
Let’s start with dessert first.
That suggestion almost always makes me happy.
Candied Meyer Lemons dipped in Bittersweet Chocolate by Me
6-8 Meyer Lemons, washed and thickly sliced
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
1/2 lb. Chocolate (I used Bittersweet to balance the tartness of the lemon, but feel free to use whatever you prefer).
1- Wash the lemons and slice them thickly.
2- Add the sugar and water to a saucepan large enough to hold all the lemon slices. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Add in the lemon slices and stir to coat. Stir every 15/20 minutes or so for the next 3 hours. You can do it for 2-3 hours, really. I wanted the peels a touch less bitter, so I let them simmer longer.
3- Lay your slices out on a cooling rack or on sheets of foil – be forewarned, the dry times will be affected if they’re laying on foil instead of racks. Your slices will need at least 24 hours to dry, and maybe up to 36 depending on how sticky you like them. Ours were still wet, but we needed to dip them so we could leave already.
4- You need to melt your chocolate in whatever way you see fit. We have a tempering machine now, but for YEARS I used a double boiler system (large bowl set over small saucepan with simmering water). Others use the microwave. Up to you – just melt your chocolate.
5- Dip your slices in the chocolate and lay them flat on either sheets of foil or plastic wrap. I like foil better, but it’s really up to you.w
6- Let your slices dry for at least 10 minutes before packaging. Ha, who am I kidding? Before EATING. Yeah. That’s more like it.
Haroset by Me **I forgot to take pictures. Apologies. I’ll try to take some later and upload. …If I remember.
2 Granny Smith Apples **Any will actually be okay, but I find that Granny Smiths hold up the best texture-wise.
10 Dried Dates
10 Dried Apricots
1/2-3/4 cup Slivered Almonds
2 Tablespoons Simple Syrup **I used the syrup from the Candied Meyer Lemons. Feel free to sub in Agave or Honey.
2 Tablespoons Manishewitz Wine **Actually, any wine will work here.
**OPTIONAL: Cinnamon. Add a sprinkle if it tickles your fancy.
1- Chop everything into like-sized pieces.
2- Mix all the ingredients together. Taste. Enjoy!
Potato Kugel Gratin by Martha Stewart
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled (about 6 large)
9 ounces shallots, thinly sliced (about 5)
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup unsalted matzo meal
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for serving
1- Preheat oven to 425ºF with rack in upper third. Combine 4 teaspoons coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.
2- Oil a 2 1/2-quart baking dish and sprinkle bottom with some salt-and-pepper mixture. Cut potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices with a handheld slicer or knife. Arrange slices vertically in baking dish; wedge in shallots and sprinkle thyme throughout. Brush with oil and season between potato slices with remaining salt-and-pepper mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
3- Whisk together eggs, broth, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add matzo meal and stir to combine. Pour mixture evenly over potatoes, tapping baking sheet on the counter to ensure mixture settles to bottom of baking dish. Cover with parchment, then with foil, and transfer to oven. Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and parchment, rotate baking sheet, and continue baking until potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes more. Increase heat to broil and broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. (Watch carefully to prevent over-browning.) Garnish with thyme and sea salt. Let rest at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
4- If you’re making this early in the day to eat elsewhere – as we did – it reheats beautifully uncovered in a 350ºF oven for 30-ish minutes. Test the center to make sure it’s warmed through.
End Results: Desserts disappeared. Uncle Jeffrey like the Haroset enough for it to be a stand-alone dessert. I had seconds of the Gratin with my dinner – though C thought it just ok. He thought using the word Kugel implied something more traditional, less…well, sliced potato-ey. And no. He couldn’t figure out how to elaborate further.
I’m looking forward to leftovers today!
Especially if there are any leftover lemon peels…