At the Jewish Passover, dough that rises and yeast products are forbidden in Passover recipes. This comes from the Old Testament book of Exodus, Chapter 12, when the Israelites were commanded to bake breads that didn’t need time to rise, for they had to leave Egypt in a hurry to avoid the tenth plague…the slaying of the Egyptian firstborn.
This is where we get the saying, “A little leaven ruins the whole batch”!
The substitute for rising dough traditionally used in Passover recipes is called “Cake Meal” or “Matzo Meal” (sometimes spelled Matzoh or Matzah). It is finely chopped matzah crackers to replace flour. It can be found in boxes at most grocery stores in the Ethnic Food section, or in special displays in the aisles beginning 1-2 months before Passover.
Here are two yummy family Passover Recipes.
Aunt Flo’s Famous “Mandel” Bread (Cookie Strips)
This recipe will come out looking similar to biscotti. “Mandel” actually means almonds in the Eastern European language known as Yiddish (a combination of German, Hebrew and other Slavic languages). But you will see the recipe uses either chopped nuts or the more popular yummy chocolate chips…or both!
3/4 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups matzo meal*
3/4 cup chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips
2 tablespoons potato starch (also found with other Passover foods).
Beat eggs. Add dry ingredients.
Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.
Pour in mixture, bake for 30 minutes at 325°.
Remove from oven, slice into 5 vertical rows while slightly soft.
Bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown around edges..
Cool and slice horizontally, making about 3″ long bars.
If crispiness is desired, let sit uncovered for about 2 hours before serving. It’s good both soft and crispy!
This Passover recipe can also be made a day ahead, then wrapped tightly in tin foil or in a plastic airtight container until serving.
Pecan Crescent Cookies
These will be similar to Greek-style “wedding cookies” without the powdered sugar. They are delicious!
2 sticks margarine
1 cup sugar
1-3/4 cups cake meal
1-1/2 cups chopped nuts
Blend margarine, sugar and egg. Then blend with cake meal and nuts.
Refrigerate one half hour.
The dough will still be soft, but solid enough to work with.
Separate it into 2″ long strips. It should make about 35 strips.
Form crescents (half-moons) out of each strip
Spread tin foil onto a cookie sheet or baking pan. Place crescents on foil.
Bake 15-20 minutes at 350º.
This Passover recipe can also be made a day ahead. Best placed in a plastic airtight container. If layers are needed, place wax paper between the layers of cookies.
The Jewish Holiday of Passover (Pay-sach) is from April 9 – 15, 2009. This writer also gives recipes for Haunukkah and Purim in her book, “What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People: Improving the Church’s Relationship with God’s Original Chosen Nation” (to see excerpts and how to order, go here). AC Producer R.E. Norton has done a book review of this book.