A sweet that will assure Jon Stewart that Passover is awesome
In response to a Daily Show skit in which the U.S. comedian complains that the Jewish holiday lacks luster, Vered Guttman serves up some heavenly meringue clouds.
You probably all saw the Daily Show’s Easter vs. Passover skit making its way around Facebook. This four-way meringue recipe, with either pomegranate syrup, Indian fennel mix, anise chocolate or date molasses, was made to show Jon Stewart that we can do more than serve eggs filled with eggs. Dipped in salt water. True, we don't serve our eggs filled with chocolate, as some people do, but I definitely convinced my kids that celebrating Passover is not that bad with these outrageously big meringue cookies.
Meringue cookies are a natural dessert during Passover, using only egg whites and sugar. No compromising substitutes are needed. It’s easy and quick to make (besides the long baking time), and the fun part is that you can really play with the extras.
I used the Swiss technique for meringue making here, where you first heat the egg whites and sugar in a double boiler until the sugar is melted. The mixture is then beaten until very stiff.
As for the toppings and additions, I couldn’t help myself and tried four of them. The first, inspired by the Iraqi haroset is made of date molasses (called silan in Israel), cardamom and chopped candied walnuts. The second was still Middle Eastern and is mixed with pomegranate concentrate and topped with chopped pistachios.
The third was Arab-Italian inspired, with mai-zahar (orange blossom water), orange zest and pine nuts. and the fourth had intense chocolate flavor, with Valrhona cocoa powder, grated chocolate, star anise and hot chili powder.
I was so happy with the creations that I sprinkled the chocolate meringue cookies with some Indian fennel candy mix I had at home. After the baking they come our crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. And although they keep well for at least a week, they’re best fresh from the oven, still hot on the inside.
So yes, using sweets to win the hearts of kids is a cheap trick. But as Jon Stewart said, children are the key. You get the children - you win.
Vered Guttman is a caterer and a food writer based in Washington DC. Growing up in Israel she took her first lessons in Jewish cooking sitting at the tables of her two grandmothers, one from Poland, the other from Iraq. In Modern Manna, Vered will share a mix of new Israeli trends and old Jewish traditions, sprinkled with a distinct Sephardic flavor. Follow Vered on Twitter @veredguttman