Passover is a joyous holiday and, in addition to the important rituals it involves, it delivers festivity and fun. With that in mind, we offer a dessert idea that brings with it a casual joviality, while remaining kosher for Passover.
COVID-19 is still among us, so the gathering this year may be another small one. And with that consideration, fondue in its traditional form is far too communal for the world we now live in, but that is easily addressed with an individual serving for each guest.
The other great benefit of fondue is that once you create the “wow” of a sauce, the rest takes care of itself with minimal effort — store bought kosher for Passover sponge cake cut in to bite-sized squares, Passover cookies, macaroons, cut-up fruit, nuts, matzah, et cetera, are all wonderful dipped in any of these fondues. Both the chocolate and the caramel can be made as pareve versions, but I’m a purist with the crème anglaise and would keep to the traditional version using cream.
Serves 4 generously
The recipe below calls for milk; I generally use regular whole milk when I make it. You can also use water, coconut milk or any non-dairy milk of your choosing if a pareve dish is desired. The resulting texture will vary; the more fat in the liquid, the thicker the fondue will be — water will deliver the thinnest sauce, while heavy cream or coconut cream will make a thicker, richer version.
This is definitely a bittersweet fondue; if a sweeter, less-intense version is preferred, you can add ¼ cup of sugar with the cocoa, or use some or all milk chocolate.
1 cup milk (or an alternative version, cook’s choice)
¼ cup cocoa powder
12 ounces chocolate (chips or a bar coarsely chopped)
In a medium saucepan, mix the milk and cocoa powder with a whisk. Scald the mixture until small bubbles appear around the edges — do not boil, but bring it just short of that point. Remove it from the heat, and pour the chocolate into the pan. Shake it a bit to make sure all chocolate is submerged, and cover the pot for about 3 minutes.
Remove the cover and use a whisk to mix the chocolate until it is melted. If the chocolate does not fully melt, return to very low heat and stir constantly until smooth.
Serve immediately, or set it aside and, when ready to serve, heat the fondue on the stove over very low flame (a double boiler is great for this step) or heat it in a microwave on 30% power until warm. Take great care with this step to avoid burning the chocolate. Divide the chocolate into dessert bowls or cups and serve with dippers.
Serves 4 generously
Caramel is one of those things that is so much more than the sum of its parts — it’s nothing short of edible liquid gold. Traditionally, it is made with cream and butter, but I have also created a coconut version, which is vegan/pareve. The recipe below provides both options.
1¼ cups sugar
½ cup water
1 cup heavy cream or 1 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
In a medium saucepan, melt the sugar and water over medium heat and let it boil until caramelized; this will take about 10 minutes. It must be watched carefully because once it begins to caramelize it will go from liquid gold to scorched black tar very quickly.
When the sugar and water mixture has reached a golden color and a syrup-like texture, remove it from the heat and add the cream or coconut cream. Stir and allow it to blend to a smooth texture. If the sugar crystalizes, don’t worry; just keep stirring and put it back on the burner over a low heat until it melts again. Add butter or coconut oil, and stir again until the caramel is golden and thick.
When you’re ready to serve, gently and carefully heat the caramel fondue over low, and divide it into dessert bowls.
This creamy, custardy, vanilla-tinged sauce is lovely on just about anything.
Vanilla beans, which are called for in traditional crème anglaise, can be hard to find, expensive and challenging to work with.
Vanilla paste is a good alternative and, if you can’t get either, good quality vanilla extract will do the trick. The end result will lack the signature flecks of vanilla beans that are common in the most traditional versions, but the taste will not suffer much.
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean or ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅓ cup sugar
Place the milk and cream in a medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from the vanilla bean, if using, or add the vanilla paste/extract. Bring it to a simmer and remove it from the heat.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until blended well. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over low until slightly thickened, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Doneness test: Dip a spoon into the sauce, then scrape a finger down the back of the spoon; if it leaves a trail, the custard is done. Pour the sauce through a strainer and serve warm or chilled.