Yes, Passover ended last Tuesday. But I’ve been busy, and too many weeks have elapsed since my last post. I’m sure you’re tired of looking at that snowstorm photo. So, under the rubric of “better late than….”
Seder for six in our apartment. My brother and his wife joined J, the P.G., M and me for our “seder express” – our Cliff’s Notes version in which we touch on the important highlights in the Haggadah with one goal: getting as quickly as possible to the meal!
I didn’t take any photos at the seder, but the meal consisted of the following: gefilte fish from a jar (Mother’s Old-Fashioned is good), my ever popular chopped salad, short ribs (a change from my usual pot roast), roasted potatoes with onions and rosemary, and steamed asparagus.
Dessert at the seder is always a highlight because I serve something my family has come to look forward to each year: Cheese Pie with My Egg Kichel Crust. That’s a crust I invented many years ago.
In his Kitchen Primer, Craig Claiborne has a recipe for “Cheese Pie.” A cheesecake in pie form, it calls for a graham cracker crust. Of course, graham cracker crumbs are not kosher for Passover. So, I gave some thought to what kosher-for-Passover item might make a good substitute for the cracker crumbs. And it dawned on me: egg kichel! Since they’re crisp on the outside and hollow on the inside, I figured that pulverized in the food processor, they’d turn into crumbs. I tried it, and they pulverized beautifully. Was I brilliant, of what?! Furthermore, they produced an exceptionally delicious crust. The first time I served it, everyone raved, and so an annual tradition was born.
Actually, the entire pie is over-the-top fabulous!
Now, the thing is, egg kichel are only available for Passover. Therefore, I make this pie just once a year. So, if you want to try it with this crust, you’ll have to wait until next Passover. Or, you can make it the original way.
Here’s the recipe:
One small box Egg Kichel*
¾ cups + 2 tablespoons Sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter), melted
11 ounces Cream Cheese (I use Philly) at room temperature
2 Eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Sour Cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put egg kichel into a food processor and grind into fine crumbs
3. Combine egg kichel crumbs, butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press crumbs against the bottom and up the sides of a 9” pie pan. Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
4. Remove and let cool thoroughly.
5. Put cream cheese in a bowl and blend with electric beater on low speed.
6. Add half the beaten eggs, and beat on low speed. When thoroughly blended, add the other half of the egg and beat thoroughly.
7. Continue beating on low speed, gradually adding a ½ cup of the sugar and the vanilla extract.
8. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
9. Bake the pie for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven, but leave the oven on.. .
10. Combine the sour cream and ¼ cup sugar in a bowl and blend well.
11. Spread the mixture on top of the pie and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.
12. Turn off the oven.
13. Put the pie back into the hot oven for exactly 4 minutes, remove and let cool.
14. Refrigerate and chill thoroughly.
*The original recipe calls for 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs.
Serve with sweetened strawberries (or any other fruit you like).
Marcy Goldman invented Caramel Chocolate Crunch, which has become a famous Passover treat. Now, who knows? Maybe my egg kichel crust will become famous, too.
(Note: Since the P.G. is gluten-intolerant, egg kichel is verboten. So, I made him a small, individual pie with a walnut crust.)