By Meredith Deliso
Making dessert during Passover is a bit of a challenge.
The Jewish religious holiday forbids the consumption of grain-based products — or chametz — so that means no flour, baking powder or baking soda, the staples of dessert recipes.
“It’s like flying a plane blindfolded,” said Avram Wiseman, lead culinary instructor at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Midwood. “The restrictions can cause one to either rise to the challenge, or fail miserably.”
For a safe landing this Passover, which begins on April 19, Wiseman was kind enough to share his recipe for a pistachio dacquoise, which consists of layers of meringue and buttercream, so no flour needed.
The pistachio helps add texture, as well as a nice color, to the dessert.
“To me, it signals springtime,” said Wiseman. “Pistachio is a nice twist on it. It brings it up to another level.”
The nut goes along nicely with his chocolate buttercream — though almost any filling will do.
“It could be decadent and luxurious, or very light and simple,” said Wiseman.
After a heavy Seder meal, the latter would be advisable.
Recipe courtesy of Avram Wiseman
For the meringue
12 ounces shelled pistachios
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 egg whites at room temperature.
1/2 cup cold water
For the buttercream
1-1/2 tbls. instant coffee
2 tsp. boiling water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tbls. brandy
2 sticks sweet butter (margarine, if you’re keeping Kosher, obviously)
3 ounces cold water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and roast the pistachios for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
Place pistachios in a food processor and chop to coarse crumb texture (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish).
Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees.
Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper and draw a nine-inch circle on each piece of paper.
Combine 1-1/2 cups of sugar and the 1/2 cup of cold water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Place a candy thermometer in the syrup and bring up to 230 degrees.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites by hand over a double boiler until warm. Place the whites into a mixer and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Slowly pour the syrup into the beating egg whites until very stiff. Fold the chopped pistachios into the meringue with a rubber spatula.
Place mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a straight tube and pipe concentric circles onto the parchment paper three times.
Bake at 250 degrees for two-and-a-half hours or until the meringues are crisp.
Once cool, remove the parchment (disks may be wrapped individually and stored for up to one week).
Chop chocolate into small pieces and place into a bowl. Dissolve the powdered instant coffee in the 2 teaspoons of boiling water. In the top part of a double boiler, combine the coffee, the chocolate and brandy over low heat until smooth. Set aside.
In an electric mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream the margarine until smooth and set aside.
Combine 1/3 cup of water and the 1/2 cup of sugar and boil until the syrup reaches 230 degrees.
Meanwhile, whip egg yolks until light and frothy on high speed. Slowly pour the heated syrup over the yolks while still beating on high speed. Continue mixing until the yolks are cool to the touch and add in the softened margarine, one teaspoon at a time.
Add the chocolate mixture and blend well (buttercream may be kept refrigerated for several weeks).
Spread the buttercream over each layer of meringue and repeat three times.
Continue to coat the sides with buttercream and garnish with remainder of chopped pistachios.
Pipe rosettes with fluted tipped pastry bag, around the top of the dacquoise if desired.
Chill to set and serve at room temperature.