So you've decided to boil and peel the eggs, experiment with different charosets, broil the chicken, brisket, and find an approved grain. But some blanks might still need to be filled for your Passover meal to be complete.
Wine: It's OK to put a bottle of Manischewitz on the table for old time's sake, just as long as it's not the only fruit of the vine that accompanies the seder. So try Israeli wines from the cooler Galilee region from Domaine LA, for example. Golan Heights Winery Sion Creek Red is a blend of Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Syrah, while the Sion Creek White combines Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Both are priced at $15. The kosher for Passover stock at Silverlake Wine includes Galil Mountain Chardonnay 2007 ($18), Golan Chardonnay 2007 ($17), Galil Mountain Shiraz/Cabernet Blend 2005 ($18), Baron Herzog Old Vines Zinfandel 2008 ($14.50)
Dessert: Cake Monkey is here to transform Passover dessert expectations with its chocolate almond tart with chocolate ganache in an almond and matzo meal crust and topped with coffee Florentine cookies ($45, feeds 8-10). The Burbank-based bake business also has flourless coffee crackle sandwich cookies ($3 each). Call (877) 640-CAKE (2253) to order.
Platine Cookies in Culver City will be making mounds of macaroons ($25 per tin of 18) and its flourless chocolate babycakes ($1.50 a piece). Order at (310) 559-9933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Both bakeries have beyond adorable Easter goodies the following weekend, too. Alternately, there's no shame in doing the old school game with stalwarts such as Diamond, Schwartz, Canter's, or Beverlywood bakeries. And waxy chocolate-coated Joyva jellies and coconut-covered kosher marshmallows sometimes hit the nostalgia Passover sweet spot, even if they're kind of gross -- but in a good way.
Yet should inspiration strike to bake a dessert, go with it, because a cake that would be a delightful treat any time of year, but just happens to be kosher for Passover, gets the compliments flowing like nothing else. And who doesn't love accolades? Jamie Cantor at Platine Cookies has provided Squid Ink with the following family recipe.
Grandma Cantor's Passover Sponge Cake
From: Jamie Cantor of Platine Cookies
10 eggs, separated
½ tsp kosher salt
2 heaping cups sugar
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup orange juice
1 heaping cup matzo cake meal
½ cup potato starch
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tbs + 1 tsp orange juice (or more if needed)
¼ tsp fresh lemon zest
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Spray the inside of an angel food pan, or other 'tube' pan with nonstick spray.
3. Place the 10 egg whites in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
4. Turn the mixer on medium and gradually add 1 cup of the sugar and the salt. Turn the mixer up to high speed and continue to whip until there are medium stiff peaks. Place this meringue in another bowl.
5. Clean the mixer bowl and combine the yolks, 1 cup of the sugar, lemon and orange juices and mix at high speed for 10 minutes.
6. Slowly add cake flour and potato starch, mix until smooth.
7. Carefully fold in the meringue.
8. Immediately pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean or with firm crumbs.
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9. In the meanwhile, make the glaze by slowly whisking the orange juice into the powdered sugar. The measurement for the juice is approximate-- you might need a bit more or less. It is ready when it has the consistency of heavy cream.
10. Add the lemon zest and set the glaze aside.
11. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the pan (if it is hard to remove, try running the pan over a high flame to warm it up). Place the cake on a serving platter and carefully pour the glaze over the cake in a decorative pattern.
Platine Cookies, 10850 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, (310) 559-9933.