The Passover Potluck is a unique annual online event. I’ve invited my friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to share recipes that are kosher for Passover. My goals are simple– to foster mutual understanding between different cultures, to introduce you to my foodie friends, and to share yummy recipes and cooking ideas for Passover! To learn more about the Passover holiday, click here.
Passover Potluck 2013 is generously sponsored by Idaho Potatoes.
Cream puffs and eclairs for Passover?! I never would have thought it was possible. Leave it to Stanley Ginsberg, award-winning author of Inside the Jewish Bakery, to show us how it’s done… with matzo, no less! ~ Tori
What better than an online seder potluck (no calories!)? And who better to host it than Tori? Thank you so much for inviting me to your virtual table.
Bakeries have fascinated me forever, it seems, since those magical Sunday mornings in the years following World War Two, when my Dad and I would go, hand in hand, to buy bagels, bialys, a rye bread – and maybe, on special occasions, a half-pound of cookies in a white cardboard box, tied with candy-striped string. Those memories are precious, and to preserve them, Norm Berg, a retired baker, and I wrote Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking. Like Tori, our work was honored with a 2012 IACP award.
Passover is a challenge for any baker, especially those who earn their livelihood from their craft. Back when Jews lived in close-knit neighborhoods and you could find a great bakery every few blocks, most closed their doors for Pesach. Still, a few stayed open, even though it meant going through the rigorous process of bedikas chometz – purging the bakery of every last atom of leaven. For the next eight days, everything they baked was not only every bit as good as their rest-of-the-year cakes and cookies; they were also kosher for Passover!
Of those hundreds of bakeries, barely a handful have survived the dual onslaught of mass-produced industrial baked goods and the assimilation of their customers’ children into the American mainstream. And of those few, the number that stay open for Passover can be counted on the fingers of one hand – if, indeed, they can be counted at all. Instead, most American Jews depend on store-bought Passover baked goods, which, frankly, leave something to be desired, especially when you compare them side-by-side with those bakery treats.
Norm and I were able to preserve many of the old-school recipes, including this one for Passover eclairs and creampuffs, which uses a pâte à choux made with matzo cake meal instead of flour. The shells themselves are pareve, meaning that they go equally well with both sweet fillings, like custards and whipped cream, and, in larger size, with savory dishes like chicken Tetrazzini and beef bourguignon. In fact, pipe them small, say ½” in diameter or less, and you’ll have light, crispy Passover soup nuts, which offer a nice alternative to matzo balls.
Bon appetit and chag sameach!!
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Passover Cream Puffs and Eclairs
Pâte à Choux Ingredients
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons matzo cake meal
- 5 large eggs, beaten
Passover Custard Filling Ingredients
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups milk, divided
- 1/2 cup potato starch or tapioca starch
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pâte à Choux Instructions
- Combine the oil and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the salt and matzo cake meal, stirring constantly into a smooth paste.
- Transfer the paste to a mixer and mix at low speed until cool, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg in a thin stream, continuing to mix until the paste is smooth and well blended.
- Line two sheet pans with baking parchment. Using a pastry bag with a large plain tip or a plastic bag with a corner cut off, pipe 1"-1½"diameter balls for cream puffs, or ½” x 4” sticks for eclairs. Space them about 2” apart and gently press any peaks down with a wet finger.
- Bake in preheated 425° oven until the shells have puffed and browned and are completely dry, 20-25 minutes. Make sure they're baked fully; otherwise, they’ll collapse.
- When cool, fill with whipped cream, Kosher for Passover pudding or Passover Custard Filling (see below) and top with chocolate icing or cornstarch-free powdered sugar.
Passover Custard Filling Instructions
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, salt and 1 cup of milk. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
- In a bowl, dissolve potato or tapioca starch into remaining 1 cup of milk. Add beaten eggs, whisking until smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the hot liquid in a thin stream, stirring constantly, and return to medium heat. Continue stirring until the custard thickens, 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in butter and vanilla extract. The custard is ready to use when it reaches room temperature.