We are going to my cousin’s in Jerusalem as we do every year and we always bring the charoset, chicken soup with matza balls and dessert. I always try to bring a different dessert.
I am still trying decide what to bring this year. Maybe one of these:
- Torta di Carote from the Veneto region
- Persian Rice Cookies
- Super Moist Banana & Almond Cake
- Chocolate Almond Torte with cinnamon, allspice, cloves and a dark chocolate glaze
Last year I made Gâteau à l’Orange et au Gingembre from one of my favourite blogs, Chocolate & Zucchini. It is a moist cake that has an intense orange and ginger flavour. I might be tempted to make it again this year. It was a huge hit. And, it is very easy to make.
Orange and Ginger Cake From Chocolate and Zucchini
3 small oranges or 2 large oranges (preferably organic)
250g (1-1/3 cups) sugar
250g (1-1/3 cups) almond flour or almond meal
Thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger
1/4 C candied ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest and juice of a lemon
60 g (1/3 cup) thick sugar crystals, the type used as a topping for chouquettes or brioches
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Grease a 24 cm (8-inch) springform cake pan.
Clean and scrub the oranges well. Put them in a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Put the saucepan over medium heat, and simmer for two hours, adding a little hot water when the level gets too low (note : you may, like me, find the smell of whole oranges boiling very unpleasant, but it has nothing to do with the smell or taste of the finished product). Drain, and let cool. Cut in quarters and puree in the food processor.
Peel and chop the fresh ginger. Cut the candied ginger in small dice. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the orange puree, the sugar, the almonds, the baking powder, the fresh ginger, until well blended. Fold in the bits of candied ginger.
Pour the batter in the cake pan, and bake for about an hour, until puffy and golden. Let cool for a few minutes on a rack, while you prepare the frosting. Run a knife around the cake to loosen it, and remove the sides of the pan.
Put the sugar crystals in a small bowl with the lemon juice and zest. Spoon this mixture evenly onto the top of the cake. Let cool completely before serving. It can be made a day ahead, wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator.
The second dessert I made were chocolate-covered Weesper Moppen, which are Dutch almond cookies. They are chewy cookies with a wonderful almond flavour which can be made plain and rolled in coarse sugar or covered in dark chocolate. I like them because they are not very sweet.
250g (8oz + 2 tablespoons) coarse almond paste or grind 125g//1/2 cup of blanched almonds and 125g (1/2 cup) of fine sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 small egg
200g (8oz) 80% dark chocolate (Valrhona or some other premium brand), melted
Mix everything except the chocolate together until you have a soft paste.
Wet your hands with cold water, and roll the paste into log. It will still be very sticky and a bit hard to manage. You could roll them in a little kosher for Pesach icing sugar or put the dough in plastic wrap and roll it into a log and place into the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up a little.
With a sharp knife (wipe it between cuts) cut the dough into 20 rounds about 1/2 inch or 1cm thick. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or a silpat liner.
Let them dry out for about 2 hours. I put them in a cold oven, with the fan on, for one hour, which worked excellently!
Then, preheat the oven to 200 C / 375 F. When the oven is hot, bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. Check that they don't brown too much. Remove them from the sheet, let them cool.
After they have cooled, dip them in the melted chocolate. You can either cover the entire cookie or just one side.
They will dry out a bit more as they cool, but they should still be slightly chewy. They are best served the same day or the following day.