7 unleavened treats for Passover

By TASTE, 5 April 2023

If you observe Passover, you’ll know that yeast is not the only thing that’s off the table. Wheat, rye, rice, barley, oats and spelt are forbidden too, which can put a kibosh on your craving for cake. So we asked five Jewish experts for their best recipes for unleavened treats and, frankly, they’re definitely onto something.

Why are certain grains (in certain conditions) off-limits during Pesach (Passover)?

The traditions around Pesach are a symbolic re-enactment of the Israelites’ escape to Egypt in Biblical times. In their haste, there was not enough time to wait for the bread to rise. Still, it is not only yeast that is customarily forbidden, but any foods with leavening agents activated through fermenation. These are referred to as chametz and include wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt. Happily, who doesn't love a flourless chocolate cake these days? Passover baked goods made with matzo meal (such as matzo balls) are permitted as the meal will have already been baked and the grain will remain unleavened.

Here are 7 recipes for baked treats that you can serve for Passover:

1. Date-and-pistachio torte

“A delicious dessert is always the highlight of the Seder (Passover celebration). This date-and-nut meringue gateau is chewy and crispy and so easy to make! Serve it with berries and cream.” – Susan Greig, foodie, @susan_greig.

Date, pistachio and rose-water torte

Find the recipe for date-and-pistachio torte here.

2. Crunchy coconut macaroons

“Of all the holidays, Pesach is the most complicated. When I was young, the table was always beautifully set with my grandmother’s trousseau – embroidered linen cloths and exquisite silver. At this very busy time it was good to be able to make something really simple like these slightly sticky coconut biscuits with almonds. Try them with quartered strawberries marinated in orange juice and a dash of sugar, and a swirl of well-chilled coconut cream.” – Annette Kesler, food doyenne, @showcookcom.

Crunchy coconut macaroons

Find the recipe for crunchy coconut macaroons here. 

3. Apple pudding

“This is one of granny’s specialities; it's pure comfort food for the soul, made with love. We have captured her recipe as best we could as she just throws it together – it’s such an easy pudding to make.” – Denise Levy, chef, @gingerandlimect, @thekitchencollective_ct.

Apple pudding

Find the recipe for apple pudding here.

4. Orange-and-macadamia cake

Baking over Pesach is a challenge as the ingredients are very limited. Claudia Roden’s classic almond-and-orange cake is perfect. It's sweet without being overwhelming and the delightful orange flavour comes through in every mouthful. I often make them in miniature bundt tins and drench in a citrus syrup. They also make a glorious dessert served with crème fraîche.” – Tracy Klass, comedian and cook, @atasteofklass_.

Orange-and-almond cake

Find the recipe for orange-and-macadamia cake here. 

5. Flourless dark chocolate cake

"I've always been a fan of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Versailles’ less famous but equally beautiful sister. On a trip there with my daughters, we met the real countess! We chatted about our shared passion for food and she offered me a recipe for a cake that was made for all the children at Vaux-le-Vicomte on their birthdays – a royal tradition! The cake was flourless and perfect for Passover. Since then, the royal cake of Vaux-le-Vicomte always graces our Passover table!” – Karen Schneid, confectioner, @oohlalaconfectionery.

Multi-layer dark chocolate cake

Find the recipe for flourless dark chocolate cake here.

6. Herbed parmesan biscuits

“We enjoy these cheesy bursts of flavour as a snack with a glass of wine. They make a great addition to a cheese platter and are perfect for the kids’ lunchboxes, too.” – Denise Levy

Herbed parmesan biscuits

Find the recipe for herbed parmesan biscuits here.

7. Nut-and-cardamom cookies

If you're more interested in a sweet biscuit option, try Denise Levy's exquisite nut-and-cardamom cookies. Made with walnut, pistachios and rose-water, these are sure to be a crowd favourite.

Nut-and-cardamom cookies

Find more nut-and-cardamom cookies here.

BONUS TIP: Because of its acidity, combining buttermilk with bicarbonate of soda can produce the same leavening effect as baking powder. Add ½ cup buttermilk and ¼  t bicarbonate of soda to the rest of your ingredients for an easy substitute for 1 t baking powder.


Article by TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.
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