The Great (Passover) Dessert Challenge

Can the Best Pastry Chefs Sugar Coat an Age-Old Dilemma?

Ooh La La: Pastry chef Francois Payard creates French-inspired Passover desserts like these Petit Fours.The box is a collection of almond cookies and flavors include cherry, chocolate chip, slivered almond, candied orange and powdered sugar.
Felipe Coronado
Ooh La La: Pastry chef Francois Payard creates French-inspired Passover desserts like these Petit Fours.The box is a collection of almond cookies and flavors include cherry, chocolate chip, slivered almond, candied orange and powdered sugar.

By Adeena Sussman

Published March 20, 2013, issue of March 22, 2013.
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Adoni, whose Sephardic heritage also frees him to use ingredients like cornstarch and tapioca pearls in his Passover creations, views the holiday as a worthy challenge. “There are no limits to creativity,” said Adoni. “Even on Passover.”

Adeena Sussman is a food writer, recipe developer and co-author, with Clio Goodman, of Puddin’ (Spiegel & Grau), an all-dessert cookbook to be released in October.

Meringue Kisses
Adapted from Francois Payard

Makes 45-50 cookies

1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) whole raw almonds
2 cups kosher-for-passover confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup (2 large) egg whites
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast almonds on a baking sheet until fragrant, 15 minutes. Cool.

2)Whisk confectioners sugar and egg whites in a bowl, set over a water bath and heat until mixture reaches 122°F on a candy thermometer, or is very warm to the touch, about 3 minutes.

3) Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add lemon and beat on high speed until whites hold stiff peaks, 9-10 minutes. Add vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Add almonds and stir to incorporate.

4) Pour mixture over a parchment-lined 12 x 8-inch baking sheet. Place in freezer until firm, 2-4 hours depending on freezer. Remove from freezer and using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 1 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch pieces. Working quickly, place cut cookies quickly on a larger, parchment lined baking sheet, leaving ½ inch between cookies (cookies may lose their shape slightly). Place sheet tray back in the freezer for one hour.

5) Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake cookies until light brown, 35 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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