Matzo Desserts and Vegan Easter Eggs
It"s that time of year! There are lots of places online where you can order vegan Easter candy and find vegan chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, or jelly beans. In fact, it is sort of difficult to avoid a complete "sugar fest" at this time of year.
You can also find lots of pre-prepared Passover desserts in the market and online. It"s a bit more difficult to find vegan versions, as eggs play a large part in leavening Passover cookies and cakes.
The recipes in this article are not necessarily low in sugar, nor do they necessarily meet all Passover restrictions, which can vary from family to family. We have tried to create recipes and ideas that can be adapted, if necessary. For example, one recipe calls for crisped rice cereal. Crisped wheat cereal can easily be substituted. Where chocolate chips are called for, dried fruit can be used, unless the chocolate chips are to be melted.
If you would like to avoid a lot of sugar and chocolate, we have included a carrot halwah, or carrot pudding recipe. It is not totally low in calories or lowfat, but it has the advantage of containing lots of carrots! Halwah, a Southwestern Asian dessert, cannot be shaped into interesting forms, but it adds a lot of color to any holiday table.
If you have some time to bring some culinary artistry to the table, you can make "nests" for your holiday treats by melting equal parts of vegan chocolate and nut butter together; stirring in shredded, dried coconut; and then shaping the mixture into small "nests." After they cool, you can fill them with Easter or Passover goodies! If you like, you can place the nests into cupcake papers so they hold their shape and are easy to transport. If you have a favorite thick cupcake or cake frosting recipe, you can stir in shredded coconut and build nests as well.
Using the "nest" combo above, roll egg-shaped chocolate or frosting in chopped nuts or toasted sesame seeds.
If you would like to prepare some shaped goodies, scour the stores and the Internet for small molds. You can fill these with melted chocolate, crisped rice, and Matzo Nut Brittle (below) and then set them out on your holiday table or give them as holiday presents.
Decorate egg-shaped chocolate with colored coconut. Add a few drops of food coloring to warm water and then add dried, shredded coconut. Allow to soak for a few minutes, until color is absorbed. Drain the water, squeeze a bit, spread out on a plate or cutting board, and allow to dry before using.
Break matzo into small squares and dip one end into melted chocolate or nut butter and then into toasted sesame seeds; shredded, dried coconut; or even grated orange zest. Create a small platter of many flavored matzo snacks.
If you would prefer not having such a food-centered treat, locate some plastic Easter eggs and fill with seasonal "fun." Depending on the age of the recipients (since we don"t want to have the wrong things swallowed!), fill with small seed packets (to start a spring garden), colorful mini-pads and pencils, and even the name of a pen pal!
MATZO NUT BRITTLE
(Serves approximately 14)
Be careful working with the hot sugar!
- 2 cups crumbled matzo
- Vegetable oil spray
- 2 cups sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- 3 Tablespoons softened nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
- 1 ½ cups chopped nuts (Almonds, walnuts, or pistachios work well.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spread matzo in a single layer in a large shallow baking pan and toast, stirring and shaking pan occasionally, approximately 5-10 minutes or until golden. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Spray a baking pan with oil and set aside.
Put sugar, water, and extract into a large pot and slowly bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, stirring to prevent burning on the bottom and sides, until syrup is a deep golden color.
Remove pan from heat and carefully stir in margarine with a wooden spoon. (Plastic or metal spoons cannot be used.) When you stir in the margarine, the mixture will bubble, so be careful. When bubbling begins to subside, immediately stir in toasted matzo and nuts and quickly pour into the oiled baking pan, spreading to smooth out. Work quickly, as the mixture hardens fast.
Allow brittle to cool in the pan. Break brittle into bite-size pieces with your hands. Store in airtight containers.
*Notes: If you prefer, you can use dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries, instead of nuts.
Also, the brittle can stick to the pan. If you like, line the pan with foil or waxed paper, rather than spraying with vegetable oil.
|Total calories per serving: 261||Fat: 10 grams|
|Carbohydrates: 40 grams||Protein: 4 grams|
|Sodium: 26 milligrams||Fiber: 2 grams|
STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB COMPOTE WITH MATZO STREUSEL
- 1 ¼ cups sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
- 3 Tablespoons potato starch
- 7 cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
- 4 ½ cups rhubarb stalks, sliced into ½-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Stir together sugar and potato starch in a large bowl. Then, add in strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, and zest. Transfer mixture to a shallow ungreased 3-quart baking dish.STREUSEL TOPPING
- 1 ¼ cups matzo cake meal*
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
- ¼ cup potato starch
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup softened nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
Make topping by first whisking together matzo cake meal, brown sugar, potato starch, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Blend in margarine until mixture forms into small clumps.
Crumble streusel evenly over the top of the compote and bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden, approximately 40 minutes. Serve warm or cool before serving.
*Notes: If you can"t find matzo cake meal, grind matzo in a food processor until it"s the texture of flour.
If necessary, use unsweetened frozen strawberries and rhubarb. The compote will not be as firm if using frozen fruit.
|Total calories per serving: 480||Fat: 12 grams|
|Carbohydrates: 93 grams||Protein: 4 grams|
|Sodium: 150 milligrams||Fiber: 5 grams|
- 4 boards matzo
- 1 cup softened nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
- ¾ cup brown sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
- 1 ½ cups vegan chocolate or carob chips, divided
- 1 cup chopped nuts (Almonds, pecans, or walnuts work well.)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a large cookie sheet with sides or a large roasting pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Line the bottom of the pan with matzo. If you need to, break the matzo to fit so it completely covers the bottom.
Place margarine in a pot. Add brown sugar. Heat slowly, stirring, until the two are combined and the mixture bubbles for 1 minute. Pour over matzo to evenly cover. Place pan in oven for 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 cup of chocolate chips over the matzo and return to the oven for 2 minutes or until chips are melted.
Remove from oven and spread chocolate with spatula. Sprinkle with nuts and remaining chocolate. Refrigerate or freeze until hard, approximately 15 minutes. Break into pieces and place in an airtight container. Freeze until ready to serve.
|Total calories per serving: 257||Fat: 19 grams|
|Carbohydrates: 22 grams||Protein: 3 grams|
|Sodium: 123 milligrams||Fiber: 2 grams|
MATZO CREAM TART
(Serves 8-10)MATZO MEAL CRUST
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, cut into pieces
- ¼ cup soft silken tofu
- 2-3 Tablespoons cold water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine matzo meal, sugar, and margarine in a food processor until well mixed. Add tofu and water. Process until the dough forms a ball or the mixture is holding together.
Press dough into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake approximately 15-20 minutes, until crust is darker brown and feels firm. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool.FILLING
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup potato starch
- 1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
- ¾ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup soft silken tofu
- 2 cups fresh or frozen thawed blueberries or raspberries
While crust is baking, combine sugar with potato starch in a small pot. Stir in zest, orange juice, and lemon juice. Turn heat on high and bring to fast boil. Remove from heat and whisk in tofu. Return to high heat and stir just until mixture bubbles. Set aside or refrigerate until just warm.
Spread warm filling in crust. Top with fruit. Serve warm, or allow tart to cool before serving.
|Total calories per serving: 354||Fat: 12 grams|
|Carbohydrates: 58 grams||Protein: 3 grams|
|Sodium: 123 milligrams||Fiber: 1 gram|
SWEET STICKY RICE BALLS
(Makes 10-12 rice balls)
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup sticky rice flour*
- ½ cup hot water
- 2 quarts water
In a medium-sized bowl, combine sugar and rice flour. Slowly pour in the hot water and knead into a smooth dough. If the dough sticks to your hand, add a bit more rice flour. If it is too dry, add a bit more hot water.
Add approximately 2 quarts of water to a large pot and bring to a bowl. While the water is coming to a boil, pinch off small amounts of dough and roll into balls. When water is boiling, add rice balls as if you were cooking pasta; add the rice balls with the water staying at a boil. Cook until the rice balls rise to the top. That means that the balls will be ready to remove from the water. You can use a slotted spoon to remove them or pour them into a colander.
The cooked rice balls can be served warm, with warmed coconut milk, or cooled and rolled in sesame seeds, chopped nuts, or cocoa powder.
*Notes: If sticky rice flour is not available, grind sticky rice into a flour using a food processor.
Sticky rice is also called glutinous rice (but does not contain any gluten), sweet rice, or gao nep (Vietnamese). If Asian or other markets in your area do not carry it, you can easily purchase it online.
|Total calories per serving: 59||Fat: <1 gram|
|Carbohydrates: 14 grams||Protein: 1 gram|
|Sodium: <1 milligram||Fiber: <1 gram|
STICKY RICE BALLS
(Makes 10-12 rice balls)
Plan your timing for this recipe, as the rice needs to soak for at least four hours. This recipe is for a nonsweet rice ball. You can make it sweet by sprinkling some sugar into the cooking water. You can also finely mince dried fruit, nuts, coconut, or chocolate or carob and roll these into the rice balls.
- 2 cups long-grain sticky rice*
- Water to cover rice
Place the uncooked sticky rice into a medium bowl and add enough cold water to cover it by 2 inches. Leave it to soak for at least 4 hours. (Soaking overnight is fine.)
When you are ready to cook the rice, you can cook it in a pot or in a rice cooker. In a pot, you"ll want approximately 4 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, and then add rice, lower heat, and cover. Allow to steam for 20-30 minutes. To test if rice is done, you can carefully gather a small amount in your hand and pinch into a ball. If it sticks and is tender but chewy, it is done!
Turn the cooked sticky rice onto a clean surface, such as a cutting board, and spread it out into a 2-inch thick layer. Allow to cool for approximately 2-3 minutes so you can work with it. Pinch small amounts in your hand, and roll into balls. You can decorate the rice balls as you wish. Serve warm or cool.
*Note: Sticky rice is also called glutinous rice (but does not contain any gluten), sweet rice, or gao nep (Vietnamese). If Asian or other markets in your area do not carry it, you can easily purchase it online.
|Total calories per serving: 137||Fat: <1 grams|
|Carbohydrates: 30 grams||Protein: 3 grams|
|Sodium: 3 milligrams||Fiber: 1 gram|
SPRINGTIME CHOCOLATE EGGS
(Makes approximately 24 pieces)
- 1 cup softened vegan cream cheese
- 3 cups vegan powdered sugar*
- 1 ½ cups melted, cooled chocolate or carob chips
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- Chopped Matzo Candy (page 19), cocoa powder, chopped nuts, or shredded coconut for decoration
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until cream cheese is pliable and airy. This can be done with a fork, but it will take some time.
Gradually mix in sugar, beating until well combined. Add chocolate or carob and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Refrigerate for 1 hour or until stiff enough to shape. Roll into small balls, approximately 1 teaspoon, and coat with selected decoration. Place on parchment or waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Note: If vegan powdered sugar is not available, granulated sugar can be processed in a food processor until powdered.
|Total calories per serving: 124||Fat: 4 grams|
|Carbohydrates: 23 grams||Protein: 1 gram|
|Sodium: 54 milligrams||Fiber: 1 gram|
FAST CRISPED RICE EGGS
(Makes 8-10 small eggs)
- ¼ cup vegan chocolate or carob chips
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal
Melt chocolate in a microwave or on the stove. Remove from heat, mix in cereal, and very quickly form into shapes. Store on a parchment- or waxed paper-lined tray.
|Total calories per serving: 33||Fat: 1 gram|
|Carbohydrates: 6 grams||Protein: 1 gram|
|Sodium: <1 milligram||Fiber: <1 gram|
A tasty dessert!
- Vegetable oil spray
- 2 ½ cups grated carrots
- 1 cup rice, almond, or coconut milk
- ½ cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
- ¼ cup orange juice concentrate
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom*
- Approximately ¼ cup cashews for garnish
Spray a large pot with vegetable oil and heat. Add carrots and sauté, stirring, for approximately 2 minutes, until carrots wilt. Add milk and cook over low heat until the carrots are very soft. Stir in sugar and juice concentrate. Cover, and allow to cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
Stir in cardamom and pour into a serving bowl. Garnish with cashews. This dish can be served warm or cold.
*Note: If you don't care for cardamom, you can season with powdered or fresh ginger, vanilla extract, or cinnamon instead.
|Total calories per serving: 155||Fat: 3 grams|
|Carbohydrates: 31 grams||Protein: 2 grams|
|Sodium: 50 milligrams||Fiber: 2 grams|