My aunt Arlene, cousin Sheila’s mom (Sheila Bender of WritingItReal.com), was our family’s gourmet cook, and she made a fine French Passover meal one year. It was not a hit. I tried changing up the ritual Charoset a few times but my family was disappointed. They wanted the Ashkenazi version, which is primarily apples, walnuts, cinnamon bound with a little sweet Passover wine or grape juice. They did not want the date-based Sephardic charoset on our table. Thinking chocolate could give a newish traditional dish a chance, I created a Dukkah-Spiced Chocolate-Covered Matzoh. It was a hit. You need not be Jewish or to celebrate Passover to enjoy this recipe. I can see Dukka-Spice Dusted Chocolate Covered Crackers on the Easter table. Why not?
Note: This is my favorite version of dukkah, but if you have one you are happy with, of course, use it. Also: this stuff disappears fast! Instead of making more in the middle of the festivities, do what I did: Put out a tray of matzoh, a bowl of ganache, a few spreaders, a spoon, and a bowl of dukkah. It’s a little messier, but good!
Dukkah-Spiced Chocolate Covered Matzoh
Makes 4 pieces of matzoh
- 1 ounce / 30 grams skinned hazelnuts or raw unpeeled almonds
- 1 ounce / 30 grams shelled pistachios, unsalted
- 1/4 cup / 35 grams natural sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon / 5 grams coriander seeds
- 1 1/8 teaspoons / 4 grams anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon / 2 grams cumin seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon / 2 grams black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon / 3 grams flaked sea salt
- 4 pieces matzoh (each about a 6 x 7-inch / 15 x 17-cm rectangle)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons / 22.5 ml extra-virgin olive oil, at room temperature
- 1 cup / 240 ml Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Glaze (recipe follows) warmed in a water bath until spreadable
Make The Dukkah Spice Mix
- Toast the hazelnuts (or almonds) and pistachios in a dry skillet over low heat for about 2 minutes, shaking the pan so the nuts do not burn. Set aside in a bowl to cool.
- Toast the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, anise seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns in the same skillet until fragrant, about 2 minutes, shaking the skillet frequently. Pour into a bowl and let cool completely.
- Combine all the ingredients in an electric spice or nut grinder. Grind until the mixture looks like flaked sea salt, not too fine and not too coarse. (If you want to be authentic and use a mortar and pestle you will likely have to do this in 2 or 3 batches.)
- Mix the salt into the dukkah and pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
Make The Chocolate-Coated Matzoh
- Line up the matzoh on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Stir the olive oil into the softened ganache. It is fine if the oil is not thoroughly incorporated.
- Spread 4 tablespoons / 60 ml ganache on each piece of matzoh. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons (about 26 grams), more or less to taste, of the dukkah. Refrigerate briefly to set the chocolate.
Serve the prepared matzoh at once or refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened for a crunchier (and less messy) treat. Break or cut each coated matzoh into 12 pieces and arrange on a platter.
Keep any leftover pieces in a covered container at room temperature for two to three days.
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Glaze
It will take longer to read this recipe than to make it, but its success is all about the quality and taste of the chocolate and following the details in the recipe. As long as you stay within the percentages listed, any premium quality chocolate you enjoy eating is the one to use. The important part is to chop the chocolate very fine and to strain the hot milk. Allowing the chocolate to melt into the milk for the full 4 minutes is not optional. And stir only until the chocolate and milk are emulsified—that is, glossy and smooth. Over-mixing may turn your silken ganache gritty. If the chocolate has not completely melted after the ganache is mixed, bring the water in the saucepan on the stove to a simmer and turn off the heat. Place the bowl of ganache on the saucepan for a few minutes, then stir very gently until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.
Makes 2 Cups / 480 Ml
- 8 ounces / 227 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups / 300 ml organic almond milk or soymilk (more as needed to adjust consistency)
- 2 tablespoons / 18 grams organic granulated sugar
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons / 6.25 ml pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons / 10 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil (optional but recommended for sheen)
- Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times to a low boil.
- Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the hot milk over the chopped chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 4 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and olive oil (if using) and whisk from the center out only until smooth and glossy. (If the chocolate is not completely melted, refer to the Sidebar on page 28 for instructions on using a water bath to melt the chocolate.)
- Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should be smooth and firm, but should still taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk, and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.
- Pass the ganache through a strainer into a bowl. Whisking slowly will speed the process.
- Allow the ganache to thicken at room temperature for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it will coat a spoon thickly with minimal dripping, but remain pourable. Stir a few times from the outside into the center before glazing.
The glaze can be refrigerated in a tightly closed container for up to five days and frozen for up to one month. The glaze hardens when it is cold and will need to be reheated. To reheat, spoon the glaze into a heatproof bowl that fits over a saucepan of barely simmering water. When about two-thirds of the glaze is melted, stir gently until it is smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed by stirring warm nondairy milk into the glaze a little at a time.
Recipes reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, (Running Press 2013). Photo credit: © Hannah Kaminsky
I love comments. What are your thoughts on changing up traditional holiday menus, whatever that means to your family? Do you have one dish you especially love?