From Denny: This recipe comes from the Sephardic Jews' traditional Passover dishes from the culture of Spain and Portugal and is based on Mediterranean cuisine.
Before the years of the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century, many Jews were affluent, well educated and held high positions in the Spanish royal court. Once the Spanish Inquisition got geared up they forced two choices upon the Jews: leave the Iberian Peninsula or convert to Catholicism. Those that did not convert settled in the Caribbean Islands, eventually these Sephardic Jews migrated to the American South centuries later.
Most Jews in America are considered Ashkenazic, tracing their roots back to France, Eastern Europe and the Germanic countries.
Passover Chocolate Cake
From: Chef Ann Amernick in “The Jewish Holiday Baker” by Joan Nathan (Schocken Books 1997)
Serves: 10 to 12
Chef Ann Amernick: She created the recipe because people were always asking for a good chocolate Passover dessert. Most Passover chocolate cake recipes call for cocoa and potato starch. Chef Amernick uses real chocolate, giving the cake a denser texture. Strictly observant Jews during Passover would substitute pareve margarine for the butter if the cake is to be served with meat dishes. Chef Amernick prefers real butter to margarine for this cake.
10 ozs. good imported bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter (or pareve margarine)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
5 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup finely ground almonds (done in a food processor)
2 tbls. brandy
Whipped cream, optional
Fresh raspberries, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and grease well a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with baking parchment.
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water. When the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and leave it over the hot water to cool slowly.
3. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl of the electric mixer, beat the butter or margarine with 1/4 cup of the sugar until the mixture is fluffy and almost white. Add the egg yolks and beat for 1 minute. Add the almonds and brandy and beat for 2 minutes more.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until light and foamy while gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue beating the whites until they are stiff and shiny.
5. Add cooled melted chocolate to the egg-yolk mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until well combined. Fold one-quarter of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites, then gently fold the egg-white mixture back into the rest of the chocolate mixture, taking care not to deflate the batter.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out covered with a thick, moist (not wet) and crumbly coating.
7. Allow cake to cool for 30 minutes in pan. Loosen edges with a knife, remove the sides and carefully turn the cake upside down onto a plate. Remove the baking parchment.
8. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream and raspberries on the side, if desired.
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