Cake and fruit top Seder meal Passover panache

March 20, 1991|By Sherrie Clinton | Sherrie Clinton,Evening Sun Staff

THIS WONDERFULLY RICH and fragrant loaf cake is the perfect finale for the upcoming Seder meal. Beaten egg whites are used to lighten the cake because leavening or chometz products are forbidden during Passover, which begins sunset March 29.

Passover, perhaps the holiest of Jewish celebrations, commemorates the deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery. According to the Bible, the Jews, in their rush to leave Egypt, did not have time to let their bread rise.

This cake is best the day after it's made. Serve it with fresh spring fruit, such as strawberries, for extra zip.

Splurge, if you can, on the very best chocolate you can find. I used bittersweet chocolate from Williams Sonoma and the TTC results were wonderful.

Hazelnut Chocolate Loaf

1 cup hazelnuts

6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted margarine, room temperature

1/2 tablespoon potato flour or potato starch

4 eggs, at room temperature, plus 1 egg white

1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast hazelnuts in oven in baking pan for about 15 minutes. Rub in a dish towel to remove skin. Let nuts cool, but keep oven hot. Coarsely chop in a food processor fitted with steel blade.

Chop two ounces of chocolate into small chips in food processor and set aside.

Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with one-half tablespoon of the

margarine and dust lightly with potato flour.

Place remaining chocolate, broken into small pieces, in top of double boiler. Cover and set over simmering water until melted. Gradually whisk in margarine until smooth and well combined; set aside.

Beat yolks in electric mixer at medium speed, adding sugar slowly, until pale and thick, about ten minutes.

Lower speed and pour in cooled chocolate, beating until thoroughly combined, set aside.

Beat the five egg whites at high speed until stiff.

With a rubber spatula, fold half the nuts, the chocolate chips and a quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Repeat with another quarter of the whites and the remaining nuts. Now reverse the process, pouring chocolate over remaining whites. Gently fold the two mixtures together, making a motion like a figure eight, until all the whites disappear.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake in center of oven for about 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out dry. Let cool on a rack. Loosen sides with a knife before unmolding cake.

-- Adapted from "Kosher Cuisine" by Helen Nash;

Shapolsky Publishers -- 1989, $12.95

Simple Seder side dish

Passover Stuffing

1/3 cup blanched slivered almonds

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup finely grated carrots

1/4 cup margarine

1 cup grated potatoes

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup matzo meal

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

3/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon sage

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch black pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup currants

Spread almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan. Place in cold oven; toast at 350 degrees for five to ten minutes, stirring, until lightly toasted. Let cool. Saute onions, celery and carrots in margarine over medium heat until softened, five to ten minutes. Remove from heat; stir in potatoes and chicken broth. Meanwhile, combine matzo with seasonings and stir into vegetable mixture along with egg, currants and almonds. Makes enough stuffing for one 4 1/2 -pound chicken or four Cornish game hens.

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