While its so easy to serve your Passover desserts from a can, there is nothing more delicious than a homemade macaroon, especially if you are lucky enough to get a recipe from Jennifer Abadi
, community chef and cookbook author intent on preserving the recipes of her Sephardic heritage. The main ingredient for this Passover dessert is the Pistachio nut or “fisto.” These nuts are a favorite snack of the Syrian Jewish community tracing back to the old days in where they would most certainly crack pistachio nuts while playing a good game of toleh or backgammon with friends. You can find shelled pistachio nuts in Kosher Corner on McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn, or from Ohnuts.com.
Ka’ik ib’Fis’dok (Syrian Style Pistachio Macaroons)
1 1/2 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios
Egg whites from 2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
*Confectioners’ sugar, for decoration
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the pistachios in a food processor and blend until finely ground. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed with an electric hand-held mixer until stiff peaks form. (If you decide to add the orange water, fold it into the beaten egg whites at this point.) Gently pour the sugar over the stiff egg whites and fold in with a wooden spoon. Add the ground pistachios and fold in with wooden spoon until fully mixed into the egg white mixture.
4. One tablespoon at a time, place the pistachio “dough” on a greased baking sheet, leaving 1 inch in between each cookie. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Cool for half an hour before removing from the sheet or the cookies may break apart too easily. (You may freeze the cookies at this point by placing them between layers of wax paper and tightly sealing inside a plastic container. They will last up to 3 weeks. When ready to serve, remove each layer of cookies on the wax paper and place on the countertop to defrost for half an hour. Sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar and serve.) Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with confectioners’ sugar and serve on a decorative platter with pistachio or vanilla ice cream (or with sorbet).
Yield: Serves 6 to 10 (about 1 to 11/2 dozen cookies)
*Note: If cornstarch is added, then its use is prohibited to Ashkenazim during Passover. Try the following as a substitute:
“Mock” Confectioner’s Sugar for Passover
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons potato starch
2/3 cup superfine white sugar
1. Pulse together in a food processor (about 2 minutes) to combine.
2. Sprinkle on top of your favorite Passover dessert for decoration
Yield: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (18 tablespoons)
©2002, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.