I’ve lived through a lot of Passover weeks in my life and, the truth is, they’re rarely pleasant, at least in terms of meals. At various points during my teens and early 20s, giving up the carb-y goodness of pasta and sandwiches resulted in the elimination of upwards of 50 percent of my diet and a human being can only eat so much yogurt and cheese. One of the few bright spots during Passover was matzo brei—often a combination of fried matzo and eggs, which works equally well as breakfast, lunch or a late night snack after some non-grain-based drinking. Now, we can add one more use for the Passover utility player: dessert. Chef Alon Shaya is putting a unique Israeli Passover menu at Shaya, his eponymous restaurant opened last year. The menu features some distinctly Middle Eastern ingredients like pomegranate molasses and dried rose buds and finishes with this sweet take on the often-simple holiday comfort food. We got chef Shaya to share the recipe with us so you can try your hand at a Passover dessert that beats the pants of those gummy fruit slices.
And for those of you who will be in NOLA this month, you can save yourself the trouble of preparing it yourself and have Chef do it for you. He’ll be serving the Passover menu at Shaya April 22-29 from 4pm until closing time.
Dessert Matzo Brei
- 5 pieces matzo, Manischewitz brand
- 2 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- Zest of 1/4 orange
- Zest of 1/4 lemon
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/8 cup matzo meal
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 3/4 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup whipped egg whites at stiff peaks (about 3 eggs whites)
- Canola oil as needed
Rosebud Fudge Sauce:
- 1 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup dried rose buds
- 2⁄3 cup honey
- 2⁄3 cup brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup cocoa powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces dark chocolate (70%)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon rose water (or to taste)
For Matzo Brei
Soak the matzo in the milk for 15 minutes. Break up with your fingers to 1 inch pieces, they will be random shapes, which is ok, and squeeze the excess milk from the matzo. Take the drained matzo and put into a mixing bowl. Discard the milk. Add the remaining ingredients except the whipped egg whites. Fold egg whites in last, right before you are cooking the matzo brei, so they remain light in texture. Heat a large cast iron pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a little canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Using an ice cream scoop or ladle, scoop about 2 ounces of the mixture into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on each side and cooked throughout, approximately 4 minutes. Dip into the rosebud fudge sauce when reach to eat.
For Fudge Sauce
Heat the cream and rose buds in a medium sized saucepan, until just simmering; then remove from heat and cover. Let rose buds steep in the mixture for 10 minutes.
After steeping, remove the rose buds by passing through a fine strainer. Pour the strained cream back into pot. Whisk the honey, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt into the steeped cream, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring continuously to avoid scorching. Add in chocolate and butter to pot, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and simmer 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a fine strainer. Flavor accordingly with vanilla and rose water until desired taste. Cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.