Monday, March 18, 2013

Passover is Pashut


Pashut means simple in Hebrew. Passover evokes a time of difficulty for those preparing the meals, different utensils, different food products, but it doesn't have to be so complicated--it can be made more pashut. The massive variety of packaged and frozen Passover products in stores nowadays truly has made my life simpler at this time of year.

A classic feature in our Passover preparations are Manischewitz products. I recall the ubiquitous orange and green boxed products coming into our home every year at this time.  The new gluten free products Manischewitz has for Passover this year are nothing like my Mama's macaroons.  They have gluten free cake mixes, red velvet macaroons, gluten free matzo style squares (not actually ok for hamotzi--only oat matzo is), almond butter and Magic Max gluten free cereal, to name a few. Passover certainly is the best time of year to be gluten free. So stock up on some nifty new treats and enjoy the holiday.

Note: Make sure all ingredients used in the recipes below are both gluten free and specifically marked kosher for Passover.

Ohio Buckeyes
 Photo credit: Domino's Sugar website

When I discovered kosher for Passover almond butter, I immediately thought about making a favorite recipe that normally uses peanut butter, buckeyes, with almond butter. Buckeye's are a specialty of Ohio, the "Buckeye" state, and resemble the seeds of the eponymous tree. 

Almond-Butter Buckeyes

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups almond butter
1 lb. (3 3/4 cups) confectioners' sugar 
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled about 15 minutes

Beat together butter and almond butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually, beating until blended.(Mixture will be crumbly).

Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls. Insert toothpicks into balls and dip halfway into melted chocolate. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Chill until firm.

Makes about 4 dozen balls.

After buying  the very popular and very expensive (about $7-$8 for an appetizer sized plate pizza) frozen Passover pizza one year , I decided to experiment with my own year round favorite recipe.Using tapioca and potato starch I came up with a crust very close to the store bought one, but much cheaper. You can make the crusts ahead and freeze untopped or top with sauce and unmelted cheese, then pop in the oven and cook as normal for a really convenient passover meal.

Passover Pizza Crust

adapted from Culinary Potions by Eve Berman, D.O., p. 61

1/4 cup 2% milk or almond milk
2 large eggs
2/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400F degrees

Whisk together the milk and egg.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

Grease a raised-edge pizza pan (12-inches), or 2x 8x8 or 9x9 square or round pans with oil or non-stick cooking spray and pour in the batter

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. The crust is done when it lifts easily from the pan with a spatula. The crust will raise up the sides of the pan as it bakes. If the crust is too wet,  cook for a few more minutes. Add desired toppings, and return to the oven (for about 10-15 minutes) until cheese melts, and toppings are cooked through.

Yield: 8 slices

Here is Colette Martin's "formula" for making store bought cake mix without eggs or dairy.  I have been successful trying it with year round gluten free mixes, but have not yet tried it with passover mixes...but I have high hopes!

Store-Bought Cake Mix without eggs or dairy products
Adapted From "Learning to Bake Allergen-Free" by Colette Martin, p. 241

In the mix substitute:

  • An equal amount of melted margarine for butter.
  • For every 2 eggs, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I've found baby food works well too...pear, apple or squash flavors), and 1 tsp. baking powder.
  • For buttermilk, milk or yogurt, equal amount kosher for Passover almond milk, coconut milk, or water.
  • Vanilla extract, same amount or 1 Tbsp. vanilla sugar for every 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract.
  •  Bake according to package directions, but it may be moister in the middle and require additional baking time; check every 5 minutes of additional baking time.

Note not all recipes in the kosher link-up below are gluten free:

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