A very chocolate passover
Posted by osakaben41 on March 29, 2010
Dad, am I a Jew?” says the little girl. No honey, you’re just ‘jew-ish’.
Such are the stale jokes of yet another mixed-faith couple. Easter to me as a young boy meant pounds and pounds of chocolate, and gorging on enough jellybeans to swear me off the stuff for good. Passover was when the lucky kids at school didn’t have to eat the ‘Sloppy Joes’ on soggy white bread. What I’m saying is, we’re not that observant.
It’s an ongoing debate, how we’re going to raise the kids when holidays compete, but for now it’s simply dying eggs and matzo with peanut butter this time of year. We were invited over to a friend’s house recently for a more traditional Passover Seder than we could pull off on our own, and never one to miss an opportunity, I promised to bring the cake.
There are plenty of parve dessert options out there, but fundamentally we’re talking about a gluten free approach. My job not being to enter into a Talmudic discussion of the rules, merely to adhere to them, we’re keeping away from cornstarch, rice, and hunting down sticker approved butter and chocolate.
And that’s really where we ended up, in a world of chocolate. Rather than get too funky on a traditional holiday (no juniper berry spume this time), I started with a flourless chocolate cake base. The recipe seemed different enough to be interesting, and was designed to lighten what is more typically a dense brownie (that had worked well in the past). I should have forgone the whipped egg whites this time though, as I needed these layers dense. The FCC sandwiched a thin espresso-chocolate cheesecake layer, acting as the creamy surprise in the middle. To add some texture and as an excuse to keep it relevant to the holiday, I covered both sides of the cheesecake with a matzo praline.
This sandwich (FCC, praline, cheesecake, praline, FCC) was then frozen and trimmed to fit my 10” steel ring. The sides lined with doubled up layers of acetate, and then the edges filled with a chocolate mousse. The hope was to enrobe the whole thing, but I scaled the mousse recipe wrong, leaving the somewhat bumpy top exposed. With little time left, and running out of ideas, I whipped up some sacher glaze (3 parts chocolate, 3 parts cream, 1 part butter), and poured it on top.
(Full disclosure here, staring at the somewhat unattractive cake, and the bowl of failed mousse on the counter, it seemed so easy to just slap it on and cover it up. It hurts to throw out that much chocolate. The failed mousse however was just plain wrong (don’t experiment with agar agar unless you know what you’re doing). Seeing this, I tried my best to scrape it out, but fear some may have gotten left behind. My apologies for any small unappetizing chunks you may have found.)
When all was said and done, this was an attempt to find multiple chocolate textures: dense flourless cake, creamy cheesecake, crunchy praline, pillowy mousse, and silky glaze. If I was to do it all over again, I’d go with a different flourless chocolate cake recipe. This dried out too quickly, and the cake just didn’t slice very cleanly. Otherwise Happy Passover to all, and thanks to P & I for having us over.