kosher kitchen

Pesach desserts: Old favorites and new treats


When it comes to Passover desserts, there is no shortage of recipes and ideas. Ever since balaboostas began to create desserts other than sponge cake, macaroons, and stewed prunes, the world of kosher cooking has exploded with the most delicious and decadent dessert recipes for this week-long holiday. I could make a new Passover dessert every day of the entire year and still not cover all the excellent recipes I have read or my family’s favorite choices. This leads to one of many Passover dilemmas; what desserts will I make?

The desserts for Passover are the crowning glory of a glorious meal. From deep chocolate flourless tortes, to light and airy meringues, almond cookies, pies, tarts and crumbles, the selection is endless and the temptation to make too many is over-whelming. 

To add to the dilemma, each year newer and more delectable desserts make their ways into the pages of new cookbooks or the Internet or even on Facebook. Yes, I found a delicious recipe on Facebook that I have made several times.

The dilemma grows with each new and creative recipe that crosses my path or that I create. I have yet to make a recipe exactly as it is written. My mother called it my stubborn streak of never doing what I am told. I like to think of it as being creative and making each recipe I read my own.

My organizational style helps. I keep my seder menus in my computer and try to vary dishes from year to year. In addition, each year, I make a list of several dessert recipes; old favorites, new ones from the past few years and brand new ones I have created during the year or read in a new cookbooks. This year, the list had 14 recipes!

There are only so many desserts anyone can make for the two seders, so which ones will I choose? Even my guests, mostly close relatives and dear friends, get in on the act, often asking during the weeks before, if I’m making some dessert they really liked

For the past two years, I have sent a dessert list around and asked for votes. The winning results are presented after dinner at the seder. Everyone is happy and the winners feel especially honored! It’s a fun way to decide.

Hag Sameach or as my grandmother always said, “A Zissen Pesach.”

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake with Mocha Filling (Pareve)

This is your showstopper dessert for the seder. Make it up to 3 days before. It freezes perfectly and defrosts deliciously. Adapted from The Joy of


1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) pareve margarine, softened

2-1/4 cups dark brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1-1/2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

3 (14-ounces each) bags ground walnuts

3 cups potato starch

3-1/2 cups chocolate chips or 3 cups mini chocolate chips


3 cups non-dairy whipped topping or heavy whipping cream

1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

10 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine

OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp. coffee (2 heaping tsp. instant coffee mixed with 1 tbsp. boiled water)

OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup white wine or Kosher l’Pesach Amaretto, coffee or chocolate liqueur


Place the softened margarine and the sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until completely blended. Add the ground walnuts and potato starch and mix until completely combined. 

Remove the bowl from the stand and mix in the chocolate chips. Place the dough in the freezer for one hour.

Line 6 rimmed baking sheets with parchment and set aside. 

Scoop 1-1/2 cups of dough and form a ball. Place in the center of one of the cookie sheets. Flatten slightly. Return each sheet to the freezer and freeze for another hour. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place 2 or 3 frozen cookie dough trays in the oven and bake for 27 to 30 minutes, until center is set and the cookie is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Return to the freezer to cool completely.

Repeat with remaining cookie dough discs.

When all 6 cookies are completed, and in the freezer, make the filling.


Place the non-dairy whipped topping, the chocolate and the margarine in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat stirring constantly. The mixture will look a bit curdled at this point. Add the vanilla and the coffee, if using. Mix to blend.

Cover and refrigerate until the mixture thickens and is completely cool, 6 to 8 hours or overnight. 

Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and install the wire whisk. Begin slowly and increase speed to high. Whip on high for 20 minutes or until the mixture becomes creamy and fluffy. Refrigerate for 2 hours and then rewhip for 3 minutes. 


Place the first cookie (I choose the largest one) on a large serving platter. If you like, you can brush the cookie with wine or Passover liqueur, like Almond or Coffee flavored.

Spread a few tablespoons of the filling on the cookie so that there is a 1.5 inch margin all around. Add a second cookie and repeat until all the cookies are used and then top with the remaining chocolate. Refrigerate until serving time. Remove from the refrigerator, 30 minutes before serving. Serves 8-12.

Apricot or Raspberry

Almond Bars

(Pareve or Dairy)

These are quick and easy and go well with tea or coffee through the week. 


3/4 lb. butter or Passover pareve margarine, softened

3 extra-large eggs

1-1/2 cups sugar

2-1/4 cups cake meal

3/4 cup finely ground almonds or almond flour

4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


20 ounces apricot preserves or raspberry preserves or half of both

3/4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice

3/4cup finely chopped almonds

1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Generously grease a 9x13 brownie pan. Set aside.

Place margarine eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until blended. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until blended. Press all but 1-1/2 cups into the prepared pan. Set the 1-1/2 cups aside. Place in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes until lightly golden. 

Meanwhile, mix the apricot or raspberry jam with the lemon juice or orange juice to loosen it a bit. Spread over the base and set aside.

Mix the remaining dough with the chopped almonds and scatter evenly over the jam. Scatter the blanched almonds over the top and place back in the oven for an additional 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before cutting. Makes 24-36 bars.

Almond Coconut Tart with Chocolate Filling (Pareve)

Mark Bittman made a version of this. This one, more like a pie, has more filling and a delicious crust with a light toffee taste. 

2-1/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut or half ground almonds, half coconut

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

3-4 tbsp. butter or pareve, trans-fat-free margarine

2 eggs separated

1 egg yolk

1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 can full fat coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9 inch pie plate. Set aside.

Melt the margarine and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the coconut and sugars until blended. Add the vanilla, the melted margarine and two egg whites. Mix well and press into the pie plate.

Bake for 15-25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the crust is baking, combine the chopped chocolate, the three egg yolks, the vanilla and the coconut milk. 

Whisk constantly until the mixture is steaming, but not boiling. Do not let the mixture boil or it will separate. As soon as it begins to steam, whisk fairly vigorously another 10-20 seconds and remove from heat. 

Pour the chocolate mixture into the shell and let cool completely.

Refrigerate until serving, preferably overnight. Garnish with whipped cream, pareve, whipped topping, chocolate curls, fresh raspberries, toasted coconut, sliced almonds. Serves 8-12.