This weekend is Easter and the beginning of Passover. Our Master Chef Rudi Sodamin has some amazing desserts to enhance your Seder and Easter meal. We’re sure your guests will be impressed with these delicious treats!
The first two nights of Passover are traditionally observed with a seder, a multicourse meal that includes symbolic foods and a retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt … Even though I am not Jewish, I love the ritual of the seder meal because every single ingredient used and everything on the plate has significance … Passover is a holiday that looks forward even as it commemorates the past. — Master Chef Rudi Sodamin
MACAROONS WITH BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE
These sweet macaroons with a bittersweet chocolate base are an essential ending to an elegant Passover meal.
Yield: 2 dozen macaroons
4.5 cups dried, shredded unsweetened coconut
3 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup good-quality honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, finely chopped
1. Heat the oven to 325F. Line two large baking sheets with nonstick silicone liners (such as Silpat) or parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients except the chocolate until combined. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared sheets, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart. Bake the macaroons one sheet at a time, until the coconut is golden brown and the centers of the macaroons are set (they should still be moist inside), 18 to 22 minutes. Cool the macaroons on the sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to finish cooling completely.
3. Clean the silicone liners and reposition them or reline the baking sheets with fresh parchment. Place three quarters of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Heat the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until it reaches about 110F (just barely too hot to the touch). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until smooth.
4. Dip the bottom of each macaroon into melted chocolate to a depth of 1/4 inch. Place the dipped macaroons on the prepared baking sheets, chocolate side down. Chill until the chocolate is formed, about 1 hour.
Note: The macaroons can be made up to 1 day ahead. Transfer them to an airtight container and keep refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
Easter is a joyous occasion — and we like to go a little overboard with it … While Easter doesn’t command the flamboyant attention or excessive trappings of the Christmas season, it is the most important religious holiday of the Christian calendar. So, whether you celebrate this special Sunday on the high seas or at home, Easter calls for an exceptional meal … Easter’s position in late winter or early spring serves to reinforce the message of the promise of good things to come. — Master Chef Rudi Sodamin
EASTER RUM CUSTARD TART WITH MANGO AND KIWI
This custard tart takes its cues from the sun itself, shines with bright color and the tangy zest for life delivered by the beautiful blooming of spring.
Yield: Serves 12
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 large egg yolk
3 mangoes, peeled, halved, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 to 2 strawberries, hulled and very thinly sliced (optional)
2 kiwis, trimmed, peeled, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup apricot preserves, melted and strained through a sieve
Helpful Hint: If you make the filling the day before and the crust in the morning, this tart will come together very easily when you need to serve it.
1. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch; whisk until light in color and well blended; set aside.
2. In a heavy, medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat. As it heats, use a blunt-ended knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and then add the whole bean, too.
3. As soon as the milk mixture simmers, remove the vanilla bean. Gradually whisk 1 cup of the milk mixture into the yolk mixture in a slow stream, then add the remaining milk, whisking constantly. With a spatula, scrape the custard back into the saucepan and cook it over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it becomes thick and starts to bubble, about 8 minutes. Quickly transfer it to a medium bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly and whisk in the rum. Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap (to keep a skin from forming) and refrigerate it until cold, at least 6 hours. (The custard can keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
1. In a food processor with the knife blade attached, combine the flour, sugar, and salt; pulse until blended.
2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons ice water with the egg yolk. Add the yolk mixture 1 tablespoon at a time to the flour mixture, pulsing with minimal short pulses until moist clumps form. If the dough is dry at that point, add more water by teaspoonfuls, but do not overmix.
3. Gather the dough into a ball; flatten it into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is firm enough to roll, about 1 hour. (If the dough is chilled overnight, let it stand 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling.)
4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll the disk into a 13- to 14-inch round. Transfer the dough round to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough onto the bottom and up the side of the pan folding in the overhang to form double-thick sides. Pierce the crust all over with a fork and freeze it for 30 minutes.
5. Line the tart shell with foil and fill it with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake about 15 minutes longer or until golden. (Cover the rim of the tart with foil if it browns too quickly. If the center of the crust puffs up during baking, gently press it down with the back of a spoon. Cool the crust in the an on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
1. Spoon the custard into the baked tart shell and spread evenly. Blot the mango slices with a paper towel to remove excess moisture and arrange them in overlapping slices on top of the tart, inserting slices of strawberry (if using) for added color. Arrange the kiwi slices in the center.
2. Brush the apricot preserves over the fruit. Remove the tart from the side of the pan and place it, still on its base, on a serving platter. (If you don’t need to serve it right away, cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 hours.)
Happy Passover and Easter to all who celebrate!