Alex's family has started this great tradition where they do a traveling seder. Sometimes, when the actual seder dates fall in the middle of the week, they can't all get together due to work obligations, so they pick up everything and bring the seder to the child living the furthest away. This year, it was in Brooklyn and his brother Pete hosted the seder. He had about 20 people crammed into his loft and spent at least 4 days cooking beforehand - brisket, matzah ball soup, etc. Everything was delicious! We had so much fun with our plague masks and multiple bottles of wine.
I made Matzah Crack, Coconut Meringues and a new recipe, Tzimmes. In Yiddish, tzimmes means "big fuss" which is actually pretty accurate when I think about all the chopping and peeling that went into this! The result is delicious, but the prep-work is pretty labor intensive. The recipe says it serves 10, but I would say you can stretch one pan of this for about 15-18 people, at least!
1/2 cup pitted prunes, halved
1/3 cup dried pitted dates, halved
1/3 cup figs, quartered
1/4 cup each dark and golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried apricots, halved
About 1 cup riesling wine (mixed with a little brandy, if you like), or more if needed
Vegetable oil (for the baking dish)
6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
6 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 Bosc pears, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large bowl, combine the prunes, dates, figs, dark and golden raisins, cherries, and apricots. Add the riesling and brandy, if using. Add more wine so the liquid covers the fruits. Set aside for at least 1 hour.
Set the oven at 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place the carrots, sweet potatoes, and pears in the dish and toss gently.
In a small bowl, stir together the orange juice and honey. Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Add the dried fruits and their soaking liquid. Toss again.
Bake covered for 1 hour, spooning the cooking juices over the mixture several times. If the pan seems dry, add more orange juice. If the vegetables are not tender, continue cooking up to 1 hour more.
Alex's sister, Mariel, made this amazing sweet potato chocolate torte. These are two things that you wouldn't think go together, but it's so good! It looks like a flourless chocolate torte, but instead of being dense and thick, it's really creamy and velvety. You can't taste the sweet potatoes, but you can tell something is different. I don't have her exact recipe, so I found one online that seems similar. Sorry the picture is so bad!
Chocolate Sweet Potato Torte
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Passover margarine (or butter)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, fresh or canned
1 teaspoon Passover rum extract (Mariel used Grand Marnier, which was so good!)
10 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a mixing bowl, cream the unsalted margarine or butter with the 1/3 cup sugar. Blend in the egg yolks, then the mashed sweet potatoes, rum extract (if using), and cooled chocolate.
In another bowl, with clean beaters, whip the egg whites gently until they are a bit foamy. Then add in the salt and whip on a higher speed, slowly dusting in the two tablespoons of sugar to form stiff, glossy (but not dry) peaks.
Fold one third of the egg whites into the sweet potato/chocolate mixture and work them in well to loosen the batter. Then, gently fold in the remaining egg whites, blending well but taking care not to deflate the mixture.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes. The cake rises and looks dry, and slightly cracked on top when done. The middle should be soft but firm. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. At this point, the cake can be frozen for up to a month. Even if serving it the same day, chill the cake for an hour or two just to set.