Passing Over Bread at Breakfast


While I love Passover, I find breakfast the most challenging meal during the holiday of unleavened bread. Removing foods made with flour and grains from breakfast menus means digging deep into the creative side of my brain.

During the holiday’s eight days, I shy away from making eggs because so many eggs are consumed at Passover lunches and dinners. I serve a lot of fruit with yogurt or cottage cheese.

On some mornings, I break sheets of matzah into quarters and layer on my family’s favorite toppings. They can be as simple as butter and jelly. But I also think out of the box with goat cheese, sliced pears and roasted walnuts, or avocado wedges, thinly sliced tomato and scallions. I sometimes go upscale with cream cheese and lox dotted with capers for flair.

But midway through Passover, my family and I seek something more exalted for breakfast. No matter how many inspired matzah toppings I’ve invented, we miss bagels, muffins and granola. While we cleave to unleavened bread during Passover, we long for the foods we’re accustomed to during the rest of the year: French toast, pancakes and popovers.

I turn to my recipe file, which is full of Passover breakfast confections. They are a bit time consuming to prepare but no more difficult to finesse than waffles or muffins.

Although it needs to be made in advance, Passover granola is a lifesaver on busy mornings. My family adores my matzah brei, which is crunchier than more pancake-like matzah brei. I have a friend whose fondest memories of Passovers past revolve around her mother baking a fresh batch of Passover bagels every morning. She can still smell them wafting up the stairs to her bedroom.

If you’re willing to turn on the oven or melt butter in a skillet, there’s a cornucopia of flourless breakfast fare that will fill your kitchen with the sweet aroma of pastry baking in the oven.

Passover Granola | Dairy

Yield: five cups

Equipment: 9-by-13-inch Pyrex or oven-proof pan


  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup pitted dates, cut into 3-4 slices
  • Unsalted butter to grease the pan, plus two tablespoons
  • 2 cups matzah farfel
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • cup honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Accompaniment: milk, yogurt and/or fruit

Soak the raisins and sliced dates in two cups of warm water for 30 minutes. Reserve.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Coat the ovenproof pan with enough butter to generously cover all surfaces. Cut each of the two tablespoons of butter into eight pieces, 16 pieces in all. Reserve.

Drain the raisins and dates in a colander. Move them into a large bowl. Add the matzah farfel, walnuts, honey, cinnamon and salt.

Mix until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Dot the top surface with the small pieces of butter.

Bake until the mixture turns golden brown, about 90 minutes. Turn the granola every five minutes, making sure it is not sticking or burning. Add more butter, if needed. Remove from the oven if the granola is turning dark brown. Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

Serve in cereal bowls with milk or yogurt and fruit. Consume immediately after adding milk, as Passover granola gets soggy quite quickly. Recipe can be eaten dry as a snack.

Crispy Matzah Brei | Dairy

Serves four to six

Equipment: 12-inch skillet, preferably nonstick


  • 4 pieces of square matzah
  • ¼ cup water, or more if needed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, or more if needed
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Accompaniment: Kosher for Passover strawberry jam

Over a large bowl, break the matzah into one-inch squares. Place the matzah squares in the bowl. Drizzle water gradually over the matzah squares. Toss the matzah with your hands to mix in the water. The matzah should remain stiff; only the outside should be slightly damp.

Over a medium flame, melt three tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Spread the damp matzah squares evenly in the skillet. Let them brown on the bottom side. With a spatula, flip the squares and let them brown on the other side. Add more butter, as needed so the matzah squares do not stick.

Pour the eggs evenly over and in between the squares. When the bottom of this large pancake turns golden brown and the eggs are mostly set, with a firm spatula cut the pancake into four equal pieces. Turn each quarter at a time. Add more butter, if needed.

Continue frying until the bottom half is golden brown and crunchy, and the eggs are completely set. If necessary, flip the quarters back and forth waiting for the eggs to set so the matzah doesn’t burn.

Serve immediately with a generous amount of strawberry jam.

Passover Bagels | Dairy

Yield: 18 bagels

Equipment: three (12-by-15-inch or 17-by-11-inch) cookie sheets


  • Unsalted butter for greasing 3 baking sheets, plus 1 cup
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups matzah meal
  • 8 eggs at room temperature

Accompaniment: butter or cream cheese

Grease the three cookie sheets generously with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot, combine one cup of butter, water, sugar and salt. Over a medium flame, bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the flame to low and gradually add the matzah meal, mixing vigorously.The dough will be stiff.

Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Remove the pot from the flame.

Wet your hands with running water before touching the dough each time. Form the dough into 1-inch high, 3-inches in circumference bagels in the same way you form hamburger patties.

Place six bagels on each cookie sheet. Using a slightly wet forefinger, poke the center of each bagel, widening the hole to resemble a bagel.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until light brown and firm. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with no dough attached. However, the centers remain chewy.

Serve immediately with butter or cream cheese. This recipe tastes best the day it is made.

Passover Popovers | Pareve or Dairy

Yield: eight popovers


  • 1 (12-by-15-inch or 17-by-11-inch) cookie sheet
  • 1 electric mixer
  • 1 sheet of kosher for Passover parchment paper or butter for greasing a cookie sheet


  • 2 cups matzah meal
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon orange juice
  • 4 eggs at room temperature

Accompaniment: Butter, honey or kosher for Passover jam

Place a sheet of parchment paper over the cookie sheet or grease it with butter. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the matzah meal into a large bowl and reserve.

Place the water, oil, sugar, salt and orange juice in a medium-sized pot. Over a medium flame, bring the mixture to a low boil. Remove the pot from the flame for half a minute and pour the contents into the bowl with the matzah meal. With an electric mixer, beat the ingredients on a low setting until well combined.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter will be sticky. Cover the bowl with a plate and let it stand for 15 minutes.

Wet your hands with running water before touching the dough each time. Pick up heaping tablespoonfuls of dough and briefly roll them in your hands until round balls form. Do not over roll them. Stagger the balls on the prepared cookie sheet. Using a teaspoon, make kaiser roll indentations.

Bake until the popovers are light brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with no dough attached, about 20 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately with butter, honey or jam. This recipe tastes best the day it is made.


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