Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Making Seder Desserts without Leavening for Passover Feasts Can Be a Challenge: Seder Desserts without Leavening Daunting Task

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Making Seder Desserts without Leavening for Passover Feasts Can Be a Challenge: Seder Desserts without Leavening Daunting Task

Article excerpt

LONDON, Ont. - Desserts at a Passover seder are "a relief," says Norene Gilletz of Toronto with a laugh. She explains that it's partly about the sweet-tasting dishes themselves and partly that they signify the end of what is usually a very long, filling and fulfilling meal.

Gilletz is an expert on Jewish cooking by lifelong experience and as the author of nine cookbooks. But even for an expert, the strictures of creating food for a seder, including the much-anticipated desserts, can be daunting, she says.

This weekend will see the unusual convergence of Easter and Passover and for both Christian and Jewish families, tradition will dictate much of what they eat. But when it comes to ritual and the symbolism of the foods consumed at these high religious holiday meals, Easter dinner cannot compare with the Passover seder.

Seder, which means order, is the highlight and opening meal of Passover, an eight-day festival to commemorate the delivery of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Although the level of observance varies among denominations and even among families within the same denomination, the traditional seder is a 15-step family-oriented feast that includes blessings, eating matzo, eating bitter herbs in memory of the bitter slavery, drinking wine to celebrate the freedom and readings from the Haggadah, which describes in detail the story of the Exodus.

Several symbolic foods are included in the meal, but matzo (also spelled matzah), an unleavened cracker-like bread, is one of the most significant. The story is that the Israelites left in such a hurry that the bread they had baked as provisions did not have time to rise. As a way of experiencing what their ancestors experienced, Jews, during Passover, are prohibited from eating any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt or their derivates that has been leavened or fermented.

Matzo itself is made from flour and water, but under a strictly supervised or "guarded" process in which the matzo is mixed, formed and cooked in less than 18 minutes to ensure that it has no chance to leaven or rise.

This proscription against leavened products has big implications for seder desserts, an important but non-symbolic part of the meal, because it means you can't use flour to make pies or cakes. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.