Pan-Pals Share Passover Fare

Once the Seders have passed, here are some terrific recipes that my “pan-pals” from near and far have shared. They’re great for a family meal or if you are expecting guests.

If you’re looking for ways to use up that leftover Charoset or need ideas on what to serve for breakfast or as a snack during Pesach, look no further. Try these terrific muffins made with leftoverCharoset. The recipe originally came to me via my friend Bev Steinberg of Toronto. When I asked Bev what they tasted like, she said, “I’ve never made them, but here’s my friend Ruth’s phone number. I got the recipe from her and she’s quite a balabusta! Just ask her and she’ll help you.”

I then phoned Ruth Silverberg, who told told me that these muffins are “to die for!” Ruth said she always has lots of leftover Charoset after the Seders (she makes one that is a combination of Ashkenazi and Israeli styles). I asked her to share her recipe with me so I could share them with you, my readers.

Ruth sent me her recipe by email, along with her comments: “This is my recipe for Charoset Muffins. These are amazing! The recipe was based on one that comes from The Ultimate Muffin Book (Morrow Cookbooks), but I’ve changed it somewhat to suit our family tastes. I keep them in the fridge (if they last that long) and zap them in the microwave for 20 seconds. Tastes like they just came out of the oven!” Enjoy…


4 apples (either Empire or Spy), peeled and cored
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/2 cup figs, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup ground almonds
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
Manischewitz or Mogen David wine (as needed)

1. Chop apples in the food processor until they reach a medium consistency; empty into a large mixing bowl. Put dates, figs and raisins into processor bowl and process to the same consistency as the apples; place in the bowl with apples. Mix in the ground almonds, cinnamon and honey. Add enough wine and mix to a paste texture. Taste. Add either more cinnamon or honey if needed. Remember that the taste will be enhanced when it sits a day or two.

2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange large paper muffin cups in muffin tins.

1 cup Charoset (above), drained
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup matzo meal
1/2 tsp salt

3. Separate the eggs and bring to room temperature. Place the whites in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

4. Place the yolks in a large bowl and add the oil, sugar, lemon juice, matzo meal and salt. Whisk until thick, about 1 minute. Add the 1 cup drained Charoset and stir until well blended. Gently stir half of the beaten whites into the batter, then gradually fold in the remaining whites until no traces of white are visible.

5. Fill the prepared tins about three-quarters full. Place on middle rack of oven and bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely. Store in a covered container at room temperature.

Yield: 1 dozen.

These muffins do not freeze well.


Lela Kornberg and I were both born in Winnipeg and went to high school together. We reconnected when we both moved to Toronto several years ago and treasure our friendship. Lela shared this recipe favourite with me which she got when she used to live in Calgary and has been making it for 35 years. Although it’s supposed to be a side dish, Lela loves it for dessert topped with whipped cream and often serves it during the year. Add this to your recipe repertoire and receive rave reviews for….

16 dried apricots
1 lb pitted prunes, cut up
1 cup warm water
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup matzo meal
1 tsp potato starch
2 tbsp oil
4 apples, finely sliced
1/2 cup honey

1. In a medium bowl, soak dried apricots in warm water to cover until plump, about 1 hour. Drain well and set aside.

2. In another bowl, soak prunes in 1 cup warm water to cover until plump, about 1/2 hour. Do not drain. (You need to add the soaking water along with the prunes to the batter.)

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt until well blended. Add matzo meal and potato starch; mix well. Let stand 30 minutes.

4. Add oil, apples and prunes, along with their soaking water; mix well.

5. Grease a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish. Pour honey evenly into the bottom of the baking dish, then arrange the drained apricots in the honey. Pour batter over. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Turn upside down on a serving platter while still warm. Delicious warm or cold, either as a side dish or a dessert.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.


I recently met Marlyne Abramson of Toronto when she came to my book launch for Healthy Helpings at Jewish Book Fair and we have since become friends. Marlyne shared this family favourite from her recipe files. She originally got the recipe from a fund-raising cookbook published by the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Sholom in Northbrook, Illinois. These cookies are easy to make and the kids will love them – and I’m sure you will, too!

2 cups matzo meal
2 cups matzo farfel
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup nuts, chopped medium-fine
2/3 cup oil (Marlyne uses mostly apple sauce with a little oil)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 tbsp water

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix all dry ingredients with an electric mixer or hand mixer until combined.

2. Add oil, apple sauce, eggs, salt, raisins and water, mixing well. Add a little more water if mixture is on the dry side.

3. Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Yield: About 4 dozen.


Each year, I get many requests for Passover recipes that are suitable for people with diabetes, especially since the festive meals are so loaded with carbs. Nechamah Cohen, founder and CEO of the Jewish Diabetes Association, has written a wonderful diabetic cookbook, Enlightened Kosher Cooking: More Than 250 Good-Carb, Healthy-Fat, Sugar-Free Recipes, From the Simple to the Elegant (Feldheim).

Packed with magnificent photographs and recipes for all year round, Enlightened Kosher Cooking also contains a chapter with enticing Passover diabetic recipes and tips, as well as a list of common Passover ingredients and their nutritional values. Many of the flavourful recipes throughout the book can also be used for Passover, such as the garlicky roast chicken (below).

Nechama writes: “Holidays are an integral part of Jewish life. One of my favorite parts is that they afford me the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends, creating many cherished memories. And much of this time, especially during Passover, is spent sitting down together for festive holiday meals. Surprisingly, eating healthy foods and feeling good on Passover are not so difficult. With a little bit of advance preparation, and after discussing with your health-care team the recipes and suggestions in my book, you can enjoy Passover to the fullest, while remaining within your dietary boundaries.”

You can enjoy these tasty dishes from Enlightened Kosher Cooking during Passover without guilt!

Carb Free, Low Fat

The garlic cloves absorb the flavour of the chicken and spices. After being baked, they easily pop out of their skins and can be used as a delectable spread on chicken, vegetables or even on matzo.

4 whole garlic heads, firm and unpeeled
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
Sugar substitute equal to 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into eighths
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 F. Wash garlic heads well, peeling off only the outside layers and keeping the garlic intact.

Slice off the tops and coat with 1/2 tablespoon oil, sugar substitute, salt and pepper.

Mix the rest of the oil, salt and pepper into a paste and rub onto all sides of the chicken (inside and outside, if left whole).

Put chicken and garlic in a Dutch oven or heavy pan and bake covered for about 2 hours. For a richer color, remove cover and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and cool.

Yield: 6 servings. 4 lean meat exchanges, 1/2 vegetable.

One piece of chicken (5 ounces/150 g) contains 226 calories, 21 g protein, 0 g carbs, 6.7 g fat, 4.1 g saturated fat, 116 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium, 95 mg calcium, 0 g fiber.

Low Carb, Low Fat

2 1/2 cups ground almonds
Sugar substitute equal to 1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond and/or vanilla extract
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 F. Blend the almonds and sugar substitute together in a food processor with the knife blade.

Add the almond and/or vanilla extract and egg whites, and blend until it forms a paste. Roll into small balls in the palm of your hand. Shape each like a crescent or keep round and place half an almond in the center.

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with baking paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be slightly golden and soft to the touch. Remove from sheet and cool.

Yield: 20 servings. 1 fat exchange.

1 cookie (1/2 ounce/15 g) contains 70 calories, 2 g protein, 2.5 g carbs, 6.1 g fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.5 mg sodium, 0.3 g fiber.

Melt 2 small squares of bittersweet or baking chocolate and dip one end of each cookie in the chocolate. Place on cookie sheet to harden.

Note: This dough also makes a great pie crust.

For a biscotti-like cookie, turn off the oven after baked and leave in overnight. Then store in an airtight container.