Reviewing: Perfect for Pesach by Naomi Nachman and Miriam Pascal (2017) Hardcover. 240 pages. ISBN-10: 1422618676. $25.03.
Naomi Nachman was testing a new recipe for her catering clients when she had a culinary epiphany: “This would be perfect for Pesach,” she thought. That became the inspiration for a new cookbook. “You don’t have to have special recipes for Pesach,” Nachman said in a phone interview. “This book is about fresh, delicious recipes that are good all year but perfect for Pesach.”
“Perfect for Pesach: Passover Recipes You’ll Want to Make All Year,” from Mesorah Publications, gives readers “easy recipes that use innovative flavor combinations.” After two whirlwind days of trying out many recipes in the book, I can attest to that description. Nachman is already hard at work in her Pesadik kitchens. My kitchen is never fully ready until a few days before the holiday—so I heartily welcome recipes that are excellent but not time consuming. Nachman’s book delivers. How did she do it? “I’m all about speed,” Nachman said. “I’m a caterer and personal chef all year. I know what works and what doesn’t.” Full disclosure: To test the recipes, I used year-round ingredients such as spices, fruits and nuts, where taste would not be affected. But for the Chocolate Fudgy Bundt Cake (which I highly recommend), I used Pesadik ingredients.
Naomi Nachman developed her recipes from a lifetime of culinary experience, much of it for Pesach. As a child in Australia, she learned from her mother and grandmother’s large feasts, and then in a family-run Pesach hotel program in Sydney. Nachman now has her own catering company, The Aussie Gourmet. She hosts the cooking show “Table for Two” on the Nachum Segal network, organizes kosher “Chopped” cooking competitions for groups and schools, and directs a culinary arts recreational Pesach program in Florida.
“Perfect for Pesach” answers the questions homemakers have about how to properly freeze food, the differences between oils available for Pesach and what kitchen equipment is essential. Recipes include tips about additions and substitutions.
A few recipes are similar to standards that you probably have in your memory or your files. Nachman deliberately included them to show cooks that the food they make all year can be prepared for Pesach. “My clients will ask me, ‘What do you have besides kugels?’ When I suggest ratatouille or stuffed cabbage they’re very appreciative!” Nachman said. Most of the recipes are Nachman’s unique creations developed over the years for clients or especially for this book.
Although we want to nourish and please our family and guests, we also want time to enjoy them. I made seven dishes from the book in one afternoon and my family gave high marks to all of them. What could be more perfect for Pesach?
Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake With Coffee Glaze
This cake is the result of many batches Nachman tested to create the perfect Pesach chocolate cake.
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup potato starch
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup oil
- 1 tablespoon imitation vanilla
- 6 eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan well; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, potato starch, coffee, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs. Add dry ingredients; stir to combine.
4. Pour batter into Bundt pan; bake 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely in the pan. Remove from pan; glaze with Coffee Glaze, below.
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon brewed coffee
- 1 teaspoon oil
1. In a small bowl, whisk together all glaze ingredients to form a glaze. If the glaze is too thick to pour, add water, ½ teaspoon at a time, until desired texture is reached.
2. Pour glaze over cooled cake.
“Perfect for Pesach” by Naomi Nachman is available from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/k2cowd8, and in local Judaica stores.
By Bracha Schwartz