Flourless Truffle Cake for Passover

When I had my gluten free bakery, this cake was the star around Thanksgiving and Passover. Even customers who did not need to eat gluten free would come especially for this truffle cake. And no wonder they did. This cake is addictive! It is a dense, creamy block of chocolate with chocolate ganache on top. So rich and decadent, silky and smooth, and so chocolatey; it’s almost a sin…though you can’t eat more than a small sliver at a time.

Anyway, for several years this dessert has been the main event around our Passover table, and I thought it would be a good idea to post the recipe as we are getting ready to celebrate Passover in a few days. And now, with COVID-19 forcing us to celebrate each in our own home away from people we love, this recipe can sweeten the deal a little.

I know that for those of you who keep kosher, this cake it not an option, as it is dairy. You can still make it during Passover, though, and enjoy it in between meals…

And you may also want to look up my amazing Coconut Orange Cake recipe which is both dairy free and kosher for Passover (for rice eaters).

225g butter
450g semi-sweet chocolate
4 eggs
2 egg yolks

180g heavy cream
30g (1 1/2 tbs) butter
2 tbs granulated sugar
225g (8oz) semi-sweet chocolate

Coat the inside of a 8” baking pan with butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper and coat it with butter. Make sure the pan is well greased.

Heat oven to 325F (not convection).

Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large glass or plastic bowl. Add the butter and melt in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Heat 1 inch of water in a medium size pot over medium heat.

Place the whole eggs and yolks in a bowl that can sit on top of the pot. Place the pot on top of the pot and whisk the eggs until they reach a temperature of 110F.

Transfer the eggs to a mixer and whisk on high speed until eggs become light and pale, about 5 minutes.

Fold 1/3 of the egg foam into the melted chocolate. Add the rest of the foam and fold gently but thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into the greased baking pan and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes, until cake reaches 170F (you will have to use a thermometer inserted in the middle of the cake).

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cake circle, and refrigerate.

In a saucepan, melt the heavy cream, butter and sugar. Mix occasionally and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate to the pot and stir until smooth.

Cover the cake with the ganache and keep refrigerated.

The cake can be made well in advance and once is cold can also be kept frozen for a while. Just make sure it is wrapped well.

Orange Coconut Cake

If you don’t abstain from grains during Passover, you do not really have any challenge with food. You can eat almost everything, except for bread, baked goods, and pasta. And actually, today, you can even find pasta that is kosher for Passover.

All this introduction is actually to explain why I chose to post two cake recipes (one will be posted next week) as my Passover posts, instead of a main dish. It is much harder to find gourmet desserts that are kosher for Passover than first or main courses. So now your problem is solved.

In this post, you’ll have the pleasure of being introduced to one of my gluten free creations. What’s so pleasurable about gluten free, you may ask. Well, if I didn’t tell you it’s gluten free, you would never know. This Orange Coconut cake is delicious and of the best quality by any standard (listen to me, the proud mommy…). The cake was created for my gluten free bakery and was (and still is) one of my favorites.

It happens to be perfect for Passover as it is gluten free, and it is also dairy free, so you can serve it at the Seder’s table.

For those of you who are not Jewish, please disregard the whole Passover thing and get straight to the bottom line – try this delicious cake. You won’t be sorry. Plus, the citrusy flavors combined with coconut are very suitable for spring and Easter.


Glazed oranges:
1 cups water
½ cup sugar
2 naval oranges unpeeled

4 eggs
1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
½ cup (120g) vegetable oil
1 large naval orange (250g)
100g sorghum flour
100g almond flour
100g unsweetened shredded coconut
50g corn starch
1 tbs baking powder
3/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt

In a saucepan combine the water and ½ cup sugar and cook while stirring over medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat up and bring the water to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, to create thick syrup. Reduce heat to low.

Slice 2 oranges into very thin slices crosswise, and add them to the saucepan, to cook in the syrup for about 15 minutes. When slices are soft, shiny, and nicely glazed with the syrup, remove them, using a slotted spoon, and place them gently on a tray.

Cut the third orange in half, discard of the seeds, and mash in a food processor (including the peel) to get a smooth puree.

Preheat an oven to 350F. Spray a baking pan with oil, then sprinkle sugar to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Tap the pan to evenly spread the sugar and shake out leftover sugar.

In a mixer, beat the eggs with oil and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the pureed orange, and eventually the flours.

In the baking pan arrange the orange slices overlapping each other.

Pour the batter on top and bake for about 40-45 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. Cake is ready when the toothpick comes out clean, with just a few tiny crumbs on it.

All About Hamantaschen

Haman taschen (in Yiddish and German) means Haman’s pockets. These are traditional Jewish, triangular shaped cookies, made for the holiday of Purim. In a nutshell, Purim is the Jewish equivalent to Halloween when it comes to costumes and partying. Is has been celebrated for centuries to commemorate the almost annihilation of the Jews in Persia, 2000 years ago, and their last-minute redemption thanks to Queen Esther, who happened to be Jewish, and her uncle Mordechai. The villain in the story who wanted to get rid of all the Jews and ended up being hanged, is Haman, the king’s chief advisor.

So, the cookies are named after Haman’s pockets. Why? I have no idea. In Hebrew the name is even funnier and translates as Haman’s ears. Again, I have no idea how the name came to be, but it seems like no one really wonders about it. Weird!

I don’t think I’ve ever bought Hamantaschen. We’ve always made them at home, for Purim, ever since I was a little girl. I loved making them with my mother and I love making them every year with my kids. This year even my hubby joined the fun. I know they enjoy it too, even though they are not little anymore. It is a fun tradition that we have in our home, and it makes the Purim holiday even more fun and special. One of the nice customs of this holiday is to make baskets of foods and treats and give them to friends, neighbors, and the needy. So, we always make a huge amount of Hamantaschen and add them to the baskets we make.

If you live in in the U.S, in areas where there is a large Jewish community, you may have seen these triangular cookies in delis, bakeries, and diners all year round. But I can promise you that they don’t taste anywhere near the following recipe. If you ever had Hamantaschen and thought you liked them, you must try this version. You’ll never be able to eat the other stuff again. And if you never had Hamantaschen, don’t look any further. This is the real deal. The dough in this recipe is different than the usual cookie dough you’ll find in most recipes. It is delicate and melts in your mouth and is soooo delicious!!

100g powdered sugar
200g (8oz) cold butter, cut into cubes
350g (2 ½ cups) flour
¼ tsp salt
2 egg yolks
¼ cup milk
1tsp vanilla extract or lemon zest from 2 lemons (depends on the filling)

Place the flour, sugar, butter, and salt in a food processor equipped with the blade attachment and work it to get a crumbly mixture.

Add the egg yolks, milk, and the lemon zest, or the vanilla, and keep mixing by pulsing the mixture only to the point where the dough becomes cohesive.

If the dough is too sticky, add one tablespoon of flour. If too dry and crumbly, add 1 tbs milk. Do not overwork the dough, as you want it to be flaky.

Flatten the dough into a 2-inch-thick disk, to make it easier to open it later on. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours.

In the meantime, prepare the filling of your choice. Some suggestions are given on the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the dough from the fridge and bring to room temperature so you can easily roll it out, without cracking the dough. Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch in thickness. Use a 3 ½ inch wide drinking glass or a round cookie cutter to cut round disks. Try to leave as little room as possible between disks, to avoid reusing much of the dough. The less you work the dough, the flakier the cookies will be.

Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of your filling of choice into the middle of each disk. Fold up the edges of the disk to form a triangle. Pinch the corners to “glue” them together. You may leave some the cookie open so the filling is visible, or you can choice to pinch the edges completely and create a “surprise” cookie.

Place the Hamantaschen, 2 inches apart, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and bake for 12 minutes. The cookies should remain light colored. They are not supposed to brown too much.

There are some traditional Hamantaschen fillings used commercially such as prune, apricot or raspberry jelly, and sometimes poppy seeds. Chocolate filling is a newer addition in commercial Hamantaschen in Israel. However, the fillings are usually of the less good quality.

Best thing would be to make your own filling. You can fill your Hamantaschen with every filling you can think of. Here are some of our favorites:

Cocoa, chocolate Chips, and Cinnamon (use vanilla in the dough and omit the lemon zest)–
1 stick very soft butter
3 hipping tbs cocoa powder
1 hipping tbs cinnamon
5 heaping tbs sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix the butter, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sugar, into a paste. Place ½ tsp of the paste in the middle of each dough disc, then top with 4-5 chocolate chips.
You may also try to just fill the dough with some chocolate chips. It is less rich and gooey, but still yummy. Another option is to fill the Hamantaschen with Nutella. It is not my cup of tea, but my kids love it.

Poppy Seed, my number 1 choice (use lemon zest and vanilla in the dough)-
¼ cup milk
2 tbs honey
¾ cup sugar
2 cups ground poppy seeds
Zest from 2 lemons
Combine sugar, honey and milk in a medium sauce pan and simmer on low heat, until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the poppy seeds and keep simmering for 3-5 minutes, occasionally stirring the mixture. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest, and set aside to cool.

Dates, pretty up there with the poppy seed (use lemon zest in the dough and omit the vanilla) –
200g (8oz) soft Madjool dates, pitted
50g (2oz) soft butter
Place dates and butter in a food processor and pulse into a paste.

Apricot preserves (use lemon zest and vanilla in the dough) – The difference between preserves and jelly is the texture. Jelly only has the fruit juice in it and is very smooth. Preserves have pieces of the actual fruit and are a little chunky. For our purpose, preserves are better since they hold better and are less runny when baked. Buy the best quality preserves you can put your hands on, do not compromise. It does make a difference. If you only find jelly, do not buy the fake one used in commercial Hamantaschen. Get the good stuff, with no additives or preservatives. To make it hold better when baked, mix the jelly with some tea biscuits crumbs.

Chocolate Chip Strawberry Roses

 A great gift for Valentine’s Day, these cookies look beautiful and are also very delicious. You can store them in airtight container for a week, but they are best when they are fresh out of the oven. On second thought, they actually need to cool a little so that you don’t get burned from the jelly…

1 stick (100g) soft butter
¼ cup (50g) sugar
1 egg
2 cups (280g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 oz (100g) chocolate chips
8 tbs (270g) strawberry preserves

Mix butter, egg and sugar together. Add the flour and baking powder and kneed to form a dough.

Divide the dough to three equal pieces. Roll out each piece into an 1/8” thick long rectangle, using a rolling pin. Spread 1/3 of the preserves on the dough and sprinkle 1/3 of the chocolate chips. Roll the dough lengthwise to form a tight thin log. Slice the log into 1″ slices.

Place, face up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Space the cookies and shape each one to look a little like a rose by pushing and pulling the rolled dough.

Repeat the process with the remaining two pieces of dough.

Bake in a 350F preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until cookies are golden.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Basque Red Berry Pie

I came across this recipe in an Israeli cookbook, about eight years ago. It was love at first sight. I happen to love fruit cakes of almost any kind, and the rustic, homey look of this cake was so attractive, that I immediately knew I had to make it. And I was not disappointed.

Fast forward a couple of years, I decided to bake it as a gluten free version, to sell at my gluten free bakery for Thanksgiving. Between the home baked look of the pie, the red berries (I added cranberries, too), and the fact that it was so fit for a Thanksgiving meal, this pie was a real hit among my customers. And you couldn’t even tell it was gluten free.

So, I thought it would be nice to share the original recipe with you all, so this year you can have this pie at your Christmas table.

3 ½ cups (500g) flour
1 ½  teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
2 ½ sticks (300g) cold butter
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

¼ cup (60cc) water
½ cup (100g) sugar
21oz (600g) frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
Zest from one lemon
1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water

In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and cold butter and pulse. Add the eggs and pulse only until the dough starts forming.

Divide the dough into two pieces – one piece of about two thirds of the dough, and the other piece of one third. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and flatten it to a disc. Refrigerate for one hour.

In a sauté pan, combine ¼ cup water with ½ cup sugar. Melt the sugar and bring to a boil. Add the mixed berries and lemon zest and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, chill and strain. (Keep the liquid to use as syrup in some drinks.)

Remove the dough from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Grease a 10” pie pan.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the larger disc of dough to about 14” in diameter and place it in the pie pan. Do not trim the edges. Pour the filling on the dough and spread it evenly.

Roll out the smaller dough to a 12” circle and place on top of the berries. Pinch together the ends of the two doughs. Make a hole in the center of the pie to allow steam to come out.

Brush the top of the pie with egg wash made of 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the dough has browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of sour cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sufganiot Express

Sufganiot in Hebrew means doughnuts, and they are the Israeli food most connected with Chanukah (in addition to potato latkes). But they are a different kind of doughnuts than the ones you find in the U.S. The original recipe actually comes from Central Europe, probably Germany. They look like the jelly doughnuts you see at DD, but they taste soooo much better. I was planning on posting my amazing sufganiot recipe ahead of Chanukah, so that you guys can actually enjoy it during Chanukah, but I didn’t get to it. I promise I’ll have it up here next year.

In the meantime, I’m posting a different sufganiot recipe, which is very quick and easy to make, hence the name ‘Sufganiot Express’. In fact, these sufganiot are very similar to Italian zeppole. They have a free- form shape and we don’t fill them with jelly, but sprinkle them with powdered sugar (and serve some jelly on the side, just in case). We love these sufganiot just as much as we love the original ones, and since they are quicker to make, we tend to make them more often during Chanukah.

2 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
4 tbs sugar
2 eggs
8 oz buttermilk
8 oz plain yogurt
1 tbs brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
Oil for deep frying

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder and sugar. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, yogurt, eggs, brandy and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, stirring them well using a whisk, until you get a smooth batter.

Fill a pot with about 8 inches deep oil and heat on high heat. To check if the oil is hot enough, through in the pot a small piece of carrot. If the oil bubbles around the carrot, it is ready. Lower the heat to medium-high.

Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, scoop some batter and very carefully slide it into the oil. Fry the doughnuts for about 2 minutes on each side. The doughnuts usually turn on their own, and it is ok. Just make sure they are cooked long enough.

Remove from the oil and place on a plate covered with paper towel.

Tip – You may want to check the first batch by cutting open one or two doughnuts, to make sure they are not raw in the middle. If so, cook the doughnuts longer on a slightly lower heat.

Plate the doughnuts on a serving dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Alternatively, you may mix some sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and roll the doughnuts to cover them completely.

Looking for some more Chanukah yummies? Check out my Zucchini Mint Latkes and Chickpea Sambousek.

Enjoy, and Happy Chanukah to those who celebrate!