Dessert First!

If you’re about to begin your Pesach cooking, we recommend starting with dessert. Many freeze well, and with enough prep time you can turn out spectacular desserts for every meal. The secret to interesting Pesach desserts is using some ingenuity to combine basic ingredients that you traditionally use. If you like almond cookies, simply bake your favorite macaroon recipe in a tart pan and fill with fruit or chocolate. A chocolate cookie batter will also make a wonderful tart crust.

Meringues can be piped or spread in a pie plate and filled with mousse or sorbet for an unusual dessert. Your favorite basic sponge cake can be baked in a sheet pan and rolled up warm with a tasty chocolate, fruit or ice cream filling. While it seems like extra work, baked cookies can be crumbled and pressed into service in cakes or streusel toppings for those who don’t use purchased products. Use your own good ideas or try one of ours.

Chocolate Hazelnut Caramel Tart


1 3/4 cups dry Pesach cookie crumbs, store-bought or home-made

1/3 cup cottonseed or walnut oil

2 tablespoons sugar

Caramel Layer:

1/3 cup cottonseed oil

1/2 cup sugar

Nut Layer:

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (filberts), toasted*

Chocolate Filling:

3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

5 tablespoons cottonseed oil

1 egg

1 egg yolk

6 tablespoons sugar

1 vanilla

Prepare Crust:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine crust ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. Press into bottom and up sides of a tart pan with removable bottom.

Make Caramel Filling:

Over low heat, bring oil and sugar to a boil. Stir frequently until it sticks to spoon or whisk. Mixture will be thick and syrupy. Immediately pour caramel evenly over crust. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts evenly over crust.

Make Chocolate Filling:

Combine chocolate and oil and gently melt in double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave, stirring to combine. Set aside.

Stir together eggs, yolk, sugar and vanilla in a stainless steel bowl. Heat over simmering water only until the point that the sugar has just dissolved (no longer, or eggs will cook!), stirring constantly with a spatula (not a whisk). Do not incorporate air into mixture. Remove from heat. Fold in chocolate mixture.

Pour chocolate filling carefully over hazelnut layer. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges of filling puff. Center will be slightly soft. Cool at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. May be served warm or at room temperature.

If you make this tart in advance, prepare crust and caramel layer and freeze. Prepare chocolate filling and freeze separately. Before baking, allow crust and filling to thaw completely. Continue as directed above.


Our next recipe comes all the way from Australia, where it’s popular both on Pesach and all year long!

Bon Vivant

8 eggs, separated

2 cups granulated sugar, divided

2 cups ground hazelnuts (filberts)

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, divided

1 cup Pesach margarine or frozen cottonseed oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9”x13” baking pan or 10” springform with parchment paper. Beat egg whites until stiff. Slowly add half the sugar, beating continuously until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold in ground hazelnuts. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Using a spatula, spread batter evenly in pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Melt 10 ounces chocolate over a double boiler; set aside and let cool. Cream margarine or frozen oil with remaining 1 cup of sugar. Add egg yolks and blend well. Add melted chocolate. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Pour over the nutty meringue base and bake 20 minutes longer.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Melt remaining 2 ounces chocolate and place in a piping bag. Drizzle over cake. Store in the freezer as it will be easier to cut when frozen.