What’s new for Passover

for The Brooklyn Paper
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As kosher kitchens busy themselves in preparation for Passover, the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Midwood (pictured) is on hiatus for a few weeks — so they were able to kibbutz with GO about Passover food trends.

The last class focused on Passover desserts, and the students learned how to bake without the use of “chometz” during the holiday, which begins on April 19. The normal use of wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt in cooking is prohibited during Passover.

“You can imagine one of the biggest challenges for baking is what to use for flour,” said Jesse Blonder, director of the school. Instead of the usual flour stabilizer, the class used groundnuts.

The school teaches kosher cooking without necessarily serving Jewish food. Elka Pinson, Blonder’s partner at the school, said that over the years, people have become more imaginative with their Passover dishes.

“By using limited ingredients we create incredible food,” said Pinson. “Those limitations allow you to be more creative.”

One of the newest Passover food trends and a “more creative” ingredient she listed, was the use of pureed vegetables for soups. This year, Pinson will make butternut squash soup, one of her favorites.

“People are more experimental with different veggies,” she said. “It’s not just zucchini any more.”

Pinson said her Passover feasts commonly include potted chicken, potato “kugel” (pudding), chicken soup and her “incredibly lush chocolate cake,” which has cocoa, nuts and orange juice among the ingredients.

While Pinson’s favorites are Passover staples, she will not make one of the most popular desserts: the macaroon.

“The macaroon is the quintessential Passover dessert,” said Blonder. “It’s iconic, like matzo.”

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (407 Coney Island Ave. between avenues J and K in Midwood) offers cooking classes on a weekly basis. For information and a full schedule, call (718) 692-2442 or visit

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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