Each year, Passover invites family and friends to gather in love and worship to take stock of gratitude and commemorate the Biblical story of how God spared the Israelites and aided in their escape from Egyptian slavery in Egypt.
It comes every 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the first month of spring, or Aviv. Central to the celebration is the Passover meal, or Seder, during which those who practice are asked to eat only unleavened bread in remembrance of the meal the Israelites are in accordance with the will of God.
It’s a holy moment of the calendar, but it’s also one to be enjoyed and savored, and to that end, we’ve gathered some delicious Passover recipes from some of the Jewish community’s finest chefs which you can share with your loved ones during your at-home celebration.
From coffee-braised brisket to duck matza ball soup, harissa barbecue chicken, apple and asian pear charoset, coconut macaroon layer cake and more, these Passover recipes are sure to be a big hit at the seder table and may become part of your family’s newest tradition.
Happy eating, and chag Pesach samech!
Coffee Braised Brisket by Michael Solomonov
This recipe from James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov is provided to us by the Jewish Food Society, who recently launched the fourth season of its podcast Schmaltzy. Solomonov was the first guest on the program. Listen to it now to hear about the Israeli chef’s own Passover story. This recipe has been lightly adapted and reprinted from ZAHAV: A World of Israeli Cooking, by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook.
- 2 tbsp finely ground coffee
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom
- 1 tbsp ground black cardamom (instead of both cardamoms you can substitute 1½ tbsp total dried mint)
- 2½ tbsp kosher salt
- 1 brisket (first cut, about 4 pounds)
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 large onions, cut into ½-inch slices
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
- 10 garlic cloves, cut into ¼-inch slices
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups dried apricots
- 2 cups brewed coffee
- 8 large eggs in their shells
- Grated fresh horseradish, for serving
- Mix the ground coffee, cardamom, black cardamom and salt in a small bowl and rub into the brisket. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 475°F. Set a rack inside a roasting pan. Put the brisket on the rack and roast until the exterior has browned, about 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
- Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened but not browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook until it reduces slightly, about 2 more minutes.
- Transfer the vegetables to the roasting pan with the rack removed. Add the brisket, dried apricots, brewed coffee, and eggs in their shells. Add enough water to bring the liquid halfway up the side of the brisket.
- Cover the pan tightly with two layers of foil, return to the oven, and braise for 1 hour. Remove the eggs, gently tap them all over with a spoon to make a network of small cracks, and return them to the braise. Cover and continue cooking until the brisket shreds easily with a fork, about 2 ½ to 3 more hours, depending on its size. Let the brisket cool in its braising liquid, then refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the cold brisket, return to the braising liquid, and bake until warmed through, about 30 minutes. Spoon the broth over the meat. Serve with the peeled eggs and grated fresh horseradish.
Apple & Asian Pear Charoset by Fany Gerson
Charoset is a traditional part of the Passover Seder, and this absolutely delectable recipe comes from Mexican chef Fany Gerson, also provided by the Jewish Food Society. The James Beard Award nominee is the chef and founder of La Newyorkina in Brooklyn, New York City.
- 1 cup honey
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 celery stalks, minced
- 2 honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced
- 1 asian pear, diced
- 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (about 2 sprigs)
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, separated (about 3 medium oranges)
- 1 tbsp and 1 tsp fresh horseradish, grated
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, gently warm the honey until it begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.
- Add shallots and celery, stirring for one minute until well incorporated. Add vinegar and stir to combine.
- Add apples and pears and reduce heat to very low, stirring constantly and making sure the mixture does not get too hot. During this time, the fruit will release water. Continue to stir until the water is completely reduced or evaporated, about 45 to 60 minutes. It is important to watch closely and stir often to keep the sugar from burning.
- When the water has completely disappeared and the mixture is dark and caramelized, add ¾ cup of orange juice and reduce again, mixing and smashing the fruit for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in remaining the ¼ cup orange juice, chopped oregano and 1 tablespoon of fresh horseradish.
- Transfer to a small serving bowl. Garnish with 1 teaspoon fresh horseradish, and serve immediately.
Coconut Macaroon Layer Cake by Natasha Pickowicz
Pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz and the Jewish Food Society bring this divine coconut macaroon layer cake to top of your Seder with complex sweetness. Her book More Than Cake features 100 recipes that showcase dessert as something that brings people together. This cake is meant to be a showstopper and can be made dairy-free by replacing the cream with coconut cream, which in turn highlights the flavors of the macaroons.
Coconut Macaroon Layer
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 3 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
Walnut Dacquoise Layer
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 ¼ cups almond flour
- 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 9 egg whites
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup heavy cream or pareve option: ⅓ cup water
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 3 cups heavy cream or pareve option: 3 cups coconut cream* (from 3 - 13.5 oz cans)
- 1 - 13.5 oz. can coconut cream* (for pareve option omit)
- Pinch of salt
*Note: The coconut cream as it is referred to in this recipe is the thick, white coconut fat that will separate from the liquid portion inside the can when chilled. Refrigerate the cans of coconut cream for at least 30 minutes before harvesting the cream layer from each can.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half sheet trays with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.
- Make the coconut macaroon layer: Place the eggs, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until light, fluffy and doubled in volume, about 5 to 10 minutes. Gently fold in the shredded coconut.
Spread the mixture onto one of the prepared sheet pans in a smooth, even layer.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the layer is set and the top is lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
- While your coconut layer bakes, make the walnut dacquoise layer: Toast the walnuts in your preheated oven on a baking sheet or in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and just beginning to darken. This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending on your method. Nuts go from toasted to burnt very quickly so keep an eye on them!
- Once cool enough to handle, place walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 10 to 15 times until finely chopped.
- In a large bowl, whisk the walnuts, almond flour, confectioners sugar and salt together.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until foamy, then slowly add the granulated sugar in a steady stream, continuing to beat until medium-firm peaks form.
- Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the almond flour and walnut mixture. The mixture will loosen up quite a bit, that’s normal!
- Spread the mixture into the second prepared sheet pan in a smooth, even layer.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the layer is set and the top is just beginning to take on some color. Set aside to cool.
- Make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream (or water) to a simmer, pour over the chocolate and let sit until the chocolate begins to melt and soften. Whisk vigorously until smooth and even.
- Once the cake layers have cooled. Use a cake round to cut out two 8” circles from the coconut macaroon layer and two 8” circles from the walnut dacquoise layer. There will be scraps! Enjoy them while you finish making the cake!
- Spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache over the top of each of the coconut macaroon cake circles and place in the fridge to set, about 15 minutes.
- While your ganache sets, make the coconut whipped cream: Place the bowl of your stand mixer in the freezer to chill for at least 15 minutes before whipping your cream. Harvest the thick, white coconut fat that will have separated from the liquid, from the can(s) of coconut cream. Allow to come to room temperature and soften a bit before using.
- Place the heavy cream in the bowl of your stand mixer with a pinch of salt and whip until stiff peaks form. Pareve option: Place the softened coconut fat into the bowl of a stand mixer along with ¼ cup of confectioners sugar and a pinch of salt. Whip until stiff peaks form.
- Whisk the coconut fat until smooth and gently fold into the whipped cream (omit this step for pareve option).
- To assemble: Place a chocolate coconut macaroon layer on a platter or serving plate. Spread a thick layer (about 1 cup) of whipped cream evenly over top. The whipped cream layer should be about the same thickness as the chocolate coconut layer. Place a layer of walnut dacquoise on top of the whipped cream. Spread another layer of whipped cream over top. Add the final layer of chocolate coconut macaroon. Add another layer of whipped cream. Add the final layer of walnut dacquoise. Ice the sides and top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.
- Chill for 2 hours or up to overnight before serving. Garnish with boozy, candied cherries or enjoy as is!
Duck Matza Ball Soup by Ari Bokovza, Executive Chef of Dagon
Dagon offers elevated Mediterranean dishes in New York City to discerning customers in Manhattan's Upper West Side. This recipe takes the humble matza ball soup and brings a high-level of flavor with the addition of duck fat and Fresno chili.
- 340 grams matzo meal
- 30 grams minced garlic
- 20 grams minced ginger
- 85 grams diced Spanish onion
- 50 grams duck fat, plus 25 grams separated
- 9 yolks
- 25 grams chives, snipped
- 270 grams seltzer
- 12 egg whites
- 25 grams minced Fresno chili, seeded
- 10 grams chopped dill
- 15 grams chopped parsley
- 6 grams salt divided into 2 separate piles, 3 grams each
- 40 grinds black pepper
- 300 grams ground duck breast
- 4 quarts duck bones
- 4 qts of chicken stock (or water)
- 1 onion, rough chop
- 1 carrot, rough chop
- 1 rib celery , rough chop
- 1 head of garlic, cut in half to expose all the cloves
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 onion cut in half and burnt in a cast iron pan (this adds depth of flavor and color to broth) Salt and pepper to taste
- In a Rondeau pan heat up the 25 grams of duck fat.
- Season the ground meat with half of the salt (3 grams) and 20 grinds of pepper, and brown the meat. Add the onion, and gently cook for a few minutes until soft.
- Add the ginger, chili and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray and allow to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the matzo meal, duck fat, seltzer, yolks, other 20 grinds of pepper, other half of the salt (3 grams) and herbs, and whisk until smooth.
- Fold in the meat mixture and continue to mix w a rubber spat.
- Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes, before moving onto step 3.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites until they form a stiff peak.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in a 3rd of the whites into the matzo mixture (this will loosen the mixture up a bit allowing the rest of the whites to incorporate more efficiently without deflating.
- Very gently fold in another 3rd of the whites.
- Once all of those whites have been incorporated, fold in the final 3rd.
- Check the seasoning (even though the seasoning is measured out, you always need to check and sometimes adjust).
- Make ping-pong size balls and gently poach in simmering seasoned chicken stock for at least 25 minutes.
- The balls should be kept in the broth so they stay moist.
- Set oven to 500 degrees.
- Toss the bones in a little bit of oil, lay them on sheet trays and roast them in the oven until dark golden brown. Transfer the bones to a large stock pot.
- Add all the veggies and herbs, cover with cold chicken stock or water.
- Bring to a simmer and gently cook for at least 4 hours.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer, and season with salt and pepper.
Harissa BBQ Chicken
One more recipe from Dagon featured on the restaurant’s own Passover Seder special.
- 200 grams onion, diced
- 40 grams garlic, minced
- 40 grams brown sugar
- 300 grams harissa
- 180 grams ketchup
- 40 grams apple cider vinegar
- 20 grams worcestershire
- 130 grams water
- Salt to taste
- 1 whole chicken, spit in half
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 head garlic, split
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 bay
- Brine chicken overnight
- In neutral oil. Sweat the onion until soft.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, no color.
- Add sugar and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, on medium heat, until it starts to foam. Add harissa and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Be sure absolutely nothing is burning. Add vinegar, worcestershire, salt and water and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Puree with a hand blender and adjust seasoning.
- Remove chicken from brine, and roast at 225 degrees until an internal temp of 165 is reached. Turn the oven up to 500 degrees or as hot as it will go.
- Brush chicken all over with the BBQ sauce.
- Blast in the oven until a crispy skin is present, about 5 minutes.
- No sauce for this recipe. Just the BBQ.
Chef Franklin Becker's Wild Mushroom Matzah Brie with Caramelized Onion Jam and Creme Fraiche
Mushroom Matzah Brie
- 2 oz butter (canola oil, olive oil can be substituted)
- 4 oz mixed mushrooms (hen of the woods, oyster, hon shimeji)
- Herbs: fresh thyme, chives, parsley and rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 oz matzah
- 2 cup boiling water
- 6 eggs
- 2 oz butter (canola oil, olive oil can be substituted)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Onion Jam (Please allow 1 hour to cook the onions)
- 8 oz onion, sliced thinly
- 1 oz butter or olive oil
- 1/2 oz sugar
- 1/2 oz red wine vinegar
- salt to taste
- 2 oz creme fraiche (sour cream can be substituted)
- 1/2 oz chives, chopped
- pinch of salt
- In a small pot set on a low temperature, cook the sliced onions in butter or olive oil 'till they turn translucent. Once translucent, add the sugar and continue to cook slowly. Once caramelized, adjust the seasoning with salt and vinegar.
- Allow to cool before serving.
- Combine and refrigerate.
Mushroom Matzah Brie
- Preheat oven to 350*F
- In a saute pan set to medium, add butter to the pan. Immediately add the mushrooms and brown on one side (2 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and toss. Continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes 'till tender and all of the liquid has been removed. Add herbs and adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside to cool.
- For the matzah, break apart matzah and place in a large bowl. Pour water over the matzah and allow to soak for 3 minutes. Drain remaining water from the matzah and add in the mushrooms. Crack in the eggs and scramble.
- Bring a nonstick pan up to temperature and add half the butter. When the butter melts, add the matzah mixture and spread evenly in the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove pan and flip the matzah brie. Season with salt and pepper again. Add remaining butter and cook 'till golden brown on the stove top.
- Place on a large serving platter and top with herbs, onion jam and creme fraiche.
Chef Jason Goldstein's Homemade Everything Bagel Matzo
Cook Time: 15 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg
- Everything bagel seasoning
- Preheat the oven at 450.
- Place flour and salt in a bowl and mix to combine.
- Add oil and mix. Then add water slowly as a mix, and it should form into a loose ball.
- Take out dough and place on an oiled surface to knead for a minute. Roll out dough as thin as possible in a square-like shape, then cut edges into a better square. Cut the big square into 4 squares.
- Place all four pieces onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Poke holes into the matzo dough all over. This helps prevent rising. Brush with egg and sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning. Place in the oven top on the top rack 4 minutes on side and flip and cook for 4 more minutes.
Chef Jason Goldstein's Bagel and Lox Quiche with Matzo Crust
- 4 sheets Matzo
- 1 stick Butter (melted)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 pound Lox (chopped)
- 1 bunch Chives (chopped)
- 2 tbs Everything Bagel Seasoning
- 8oz Cream Cheese
- 5 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- Place all ingredients in food processor until it has a sandy texture.
- Press on a pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. It’s okay to have chunks if cream cheese.
- Pour into matzo crust and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
- Top with more chives and enjoy!
Now that your meal is set, check out a few other fresh takes on the classic matzah ball soup recipe.