Passover desserts have never been one of my strengths, but since I was heading to upstate New York for the holiday, I needed something easy to transport. So, a cake it would be. And I would trust the ultimate Jewish cookbook writer to guide me…Joan Nathan.
There would be no wheat flour in this cake, only almond flour and a little matzoh meal. But there would be lots of nuts…in addition to the almonds, there are hazelnuts, pistachios and pine nuts.
I was really worried when I brought the cake to the Seder, I had no idea how it would taste, whether it cooked correctly, etc. But my worries were unfounded, it was delicious and a big hit.
The cake is supposed to be served with fig jam; it is hard to go wrong with fig jam. But honestly, it did not need it, it was so luscious and moist and flavorful on its own.
Now, that wasn’t the only cake I made. My daughter’s birthday is during Passover this year and she loves carrot cake. So, I used the carrot cake recipe from Leahcookskosher.com. She was skeptical about a passover birthday cake, but this was a winner; it was delicious. (the colors on top are remnants from the birthday greeting)
Joan Nathan’s Almond Cake with Figs, Orange and Honey for Passover
7 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons matzo meal
2 cups almond flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
6 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
2 tablespoons orange juice and zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt plus a pinch
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons Manischewitz wine
¼ cup roasted pistachios
¼ cup roasted hazelnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
¼ cup roasted pine nuts
2 cups fig jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and brush the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and dust the inside with 1 tablespoon of the matzo meal.
Whisk the remaining matzo meal, the almond flour, ¼ cup of the white sugar, and the brown sugar in a mixing bowl.
Put the egg yolks and ¼ cup more sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until thick and fluffy, approximately 6 minutes. Then drizzle in the remaining 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, the orange juice with its zest and the lemon juice.
Fold the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until the whisks form soft peaks. Slowly add ¼ cup sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form.
Then fold the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. It should be a thick batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan ½ way up the sides and bake for 30 minutes.
While the cake is baking, mix the honey, wine and a pinch of each salt and pepper in a small saucepan and heat until the honey begins to bubble up. Remove this honey syrup from the heat and set aside to cool.
Put the pistachios, hazelnuts, cinnamon, zest of another orange and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a food processor equipped with a steel blade and pulse several times until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the pine nuts and pulse once or twice so they get mixed in but are not pulverized.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. While it is still hot, brush the cake with honey syrup and then sprinkle with the nut mixture all over the top. Enjoy!!