Tag Archives: Passover

Oops! A few quick remarks about Pandespanya

Pandespanya (sponge cake) can be made at Passover substituting matza cake meal for flour.

At other times of year, I love the texture obtained making it with regular flour; however, if you want a superfine texture, use cake flour instead.  It’s pretty amazing.


Filed under Holidays (fiestas judias), Recipes

Matza Meal vs. Flour: To substitute, or not to substitute?

Thank you so much for the recipes. I read them thru and wanted to do a cooking/baking marathon so I could have them all on my table at once. Question: do you have a formula for making some of the desserts with regular flour, etc., so I might make them for non Passover events? –Andrea

This is an interesting question, because the usual dilemma is over how to adapt recipes for Passover. Rest assured there’s no rule against eating matza once the holiday’s over. I like using matza meal all year round.

There are plenty of Jewish recipes (including those you’ve got in the folio) that call for matza meal to begin with. In these, matza meal isn’t a substitute, it’s the preferred way to go. Using raw flour in a cuajado, for example, would be awful; the better substitute here is plain bread crumbs. That goes for my Aunt Rachel’s Cake as well.

Matza meal is nothing more than ground up matza, so you’re beginning with a product that’s already been cooked – toasted. Many people tend to think of matza as bland, but it’s got a distinctive flavor, which of course affects the flavor of whatever it is you’re making. The toasting also affects texture. Regular matza meal has a coarse crumb that’s good for savory cooking – for example in fillings or coatings. Matza cake meal is finer and is meant to approximate raw flour. That works in cakes, cookies, and sauces like agristada that call for a little flour to thicken them.

The key word is ‘approximte’. Non-Passover baked goods can be adapted with fine matza cake meal, but the resulting taste and texture will be a bit different. Food is supposed to be different at Passover, so I don’t see that as a problem. As for the rest of the year, feel free to work with matza, too, and enjoy its distintive flavor and texture.


Filed under Recipes, Your Questions Answered

I never forget there are mysterious forces at work

I’m just back from 24 hours without heat, light or (gasp!) phone service.  Me and 249,999 other homes on the Costa Brava, and all because of a freaky, freaky snow storm.  So much for life in a temperate zone!  Blinding, slushy snow for a good 10 hours, violent winds, fences down, trees down, lamp posts down, major car accidents – and that’s just on my street (no kidding)! I know, I know, I’m not telling you anything new.  My payback, perhaps, for gloating last week about prancing around in sandals already.  Whatever the reason, the skies opened up, let it rip and then, as soon as major amounts of damage were done, settled right down again.  Out came the sun as if nothing had happened.

On an ironically related note (draw your own analogies), I’ve just completed my new Passover recipe folio, called “A la Muestra!”  Our way.  Sephardic style.  The publication began as a companion piece to my Rhodesli Passover cooking workshop, but has since taken on a life of its own; this year I’ve expanded the recipe section and written menus for four different seders:  meat, fish, vegatarian and yes, even vegan!  The majority of these recipes are family heirlooms that will never find their way into the blog.

Follow this link to my sister site to learn more and to order a copy for yourself or as a gift (the folio is an e-book, delivered to you in downloadable pdf format).  And drop me a line if there’s something about it you’d’ like to know!

Think of spring and…

Stay warm!


Filed under Holidays (fiestas judias), Recipes

If spring is around the corner…

Winter is SO incredibly long and then suddenly – suddenly! – it feels like spring again.  Okay, maybe not where you are.  But last week we were still running around in winter coats and for the past two days I’ve been sporting Birkenstocks.  Which can only mean it’s time to shake off the mothballs (ew!) and get ready for Passover.   By the end of this week I’ll be rolling out a new edition of my annual Sephardic Passover recipe folio.  Check back here, or subscribe, or leave a request in the comment box (it won’t be published) and I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready. — JA


Filed under Holidays (fiestas judias)