For some of us, planning our Passover cooking for our friends and family is intimidating enough. Now, imagine cooking at the White House? With noted in-house pastry chef Bill Yosses. Overwhelming, right? Well, not for Jewish food writer Joan Nathan. Nathan, a long-time DC resident and friend of Yosses’s spent Wednesday afternoon at the White House preparing Passover dishes at an event. Fortunately for us, it was caught on tape. Watch below as Nathan creates a pear and pecan haroset, which she learned to make recently while visiting Arkansas. The pair also cooks Nathan’s sweet Matzo Chremsel. For the complete recipes read more.
Both recipes are reprinted with permission of the White House
Arkansas Pear Haroset
Adapted from Michael Selig, Little Rock, AR
Total time: 20 minutes
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup dried figs
1 ½ just-ripe finely chopped pears, about 2 cups
1/2 medium Arkansas Black apple or other crisp, slightly tart variety, peeled and finely chopped, about ½ cup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons Passover sweet wine
The grated zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
1) Finely chop the pecans and the figs with a hand chopper or knife in a wooden bowl.
2) Stir them in with the pears and apple. Add the cinnamon, honey, sweet wine, and the grated lemon zest and juice. Toss together and store in a glass or ceramic bowl. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to mesh flavors.
Yield: 4 cups haroset
My Matzo Chremsel
Adapted from “Jewish Cooking in America” by Joan Nathan
Total Time: 30 minutes
3 matzos, broken in bite size pieces, soaked in cold water very briefly, and gently squeezed dry
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dried apricots or prunes, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup matzo meal
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher-for-Passover vegetable oil, for frying
Sugar or Kosher for Passover confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
1) Lightly mix the matzos, currants, almonds, dried apricots or prunes, the egg yolks, the matzo meal, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and the grated zest and juice of a lemon in a medium bowl.
2) Mix the egg whites until stiff in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Fold the beaten egg whites into the matzo mixture. Refrigerate for about a half hour.
3) Line a plate with paper towels and heat 2 inches of kosher for Passover vegetable oil to 375 degrees in a wok or other low-sided medium stockpot. Carefully spoon the batter, 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, into the hot oil without crowding the pan. Fry until golden and crisp, about 1 minute on each side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper towels to drain. Serve warm, if possible, sprinkled with the sugar or confectioners’ sugar. Leftovers you can reheat in a 350 degree oven just before serving.
Yield: 12 to 15 chremsel