I know Yom Kippur is the time to atone and that confession is more of a Catholic thing, but I have to get something off my chest.
I hate matzo. No, really, I really hate it. I try to get through Passover eating as little of it as possible. I am usually able to make it through with just what I have to nibble on at the seder after we say the blessings. Occasionally, I will take an obligatory serving of someone’s matzo kugel or other such dish that they just love and promise tastes great. I don’t want to be rude. I don’t want to offend. I am willing to try it, but please, matzo is never delicious. I dislike it so much I have considered pretending I am gluten free just for the week so people stop offering me matzo.
I really hate everything with matzo in it. Except maybe matzo balls, I don’t hate matzo balls, but I don’t really love them either. I think it is more that I like the soup than the matzo balls themselves. I will eat them, but I never miss them, crave them, think loving kind thoughts about them. And matzo-brie? Matzo “bread” or “cakes”? NO. They are an unnecessary abomination of food and an assault on my taste buds.
That is my big confession. I hate the main symbolic food of one of my favorite religious holidays. The 4th of July and Thanksgiving being my favorite secular holidays, in case you are curious.
As a baker, I am often tasked (although, admittedly, I happily offer) to bring dessert to most events. During Passover, this can be a challenge. I suppose I should also tell you I don’t love coconut (sorry macaroons) and meringues don’t particularly thrill me, blasphemous I know… this also limits the typical dessert selection at Passover. My goal is to find desserts that don’t taste like matzo, and don’t make me feel like I am just settling for an excuse for dessert.
Last year, I discovered THIS amazing recipe. I almost don’t want to share it with you so that you can only enjoy it if you invite me over…but I will be a better person than that… (begrudgingly). If you make it, watch out, you will be asked to make it again and again. Or you could just have me make it…
This year, I made it again (2 actually), but you remember that cousin that had that sweet little peanut? Well that peanut isn’t much liking when his mommy eats dairy. So whipped cream frosting is out. Even chocolate filling isn’t looking promising. So I decided to make something else that she could enjoy. Oh! and it gets more complicated…her husband, my cousin, his birthday falls on the first night of Passover. So he obviously needs a birthday cake. A kosher for Passover, dairy free, matzo free, cake. Challenge accepted!
I start researching (yes, that obsessive thing I do more often than I realized). I find all kind of interesting gluten free, dairy free, kosher for passover cakes. This is going to be great. A real baking adventure. I send the cousin his choices. He choses a German Chocolate option. Great! The ingredients are…what is another word for weird and expensive…nonstandard…unique…inventive? I am regretting this choice, but, typical me, I am going to make it work! I lament to a friend, send her the link. She points out it has baking soda. So less than 24 hours before the first seder I need to drop back and punt. Are you kidding me?!
I find a recipe for a chocolate cake. I modify the recipe some. Decide I can use “fake” chocolate, you know that diary free stuff that I suppose I am grateful exists, but I hope to never have to eat it. As I am resigning myself to making a coconut dairy free excuse for frosting, the no-longer-pregnant cousin texts me that she is going to try reintroducing some dairy into her diet. Hurray!! I charge full steam ahead with the most delicious whipped cream frosting I can throw together.
The cake was a success. It didn’t look beautiful, but it sure tasted amazing. I had some for breakfast this morning.
I also made matzo crack. If you are unfamiliar with this, try making it. Matzo crack is a tolerable exception to my no matzo rule (I still don’t usually eat it). Anything covered in that much sugar, butter, and chocolate is going to be edible, maybe even a little yummy.
Next time you are asked to make or bring dessert during Passover, please consider that just because our diets are limited during Pesach, it does not mean that our pallets do not have to suffer.