A Sweet And Fruity Kosher Kugel

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - April 16, 2008
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Passover, the observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II about 3,000 years ago, is a special time for Jews all over the world.

At family gatherings and lavish meals called Seders, the story of Passover is retold through the reading of the Haggadah. With its special foods, songs and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration.

Frequent Hawaii visitor Richard Vida will be in town this year for Passover and will be among the guests at the beautiful Seder table set by Cherye and Jim Pierce. From the traditional matzoh ball soup to her signature chopped liver, Cherye is known for beautiful dinners and this year will be no exception. She uses the Haggadahs that have been in her family for years.


Richard has planned his trip around a break in the national tour of The Drowsy Chaperone. Even though he isn’t Jewish, he has long been included at Seders on the Mainland, so he is especially anxious to see the touches Cherye includes and will undoubtedly add his Broadway voice (he’s a veteran of such New York shows as Les Miserables) to the singing that’s always an integral part of the Passover celebration.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Passover is the Jewish ceremonial meal that invites those who are hungry to come eat and sets a cup of wine out for Elijah, the prophet of peace.

During Passover, only foods that are “Kosher for Passover” are allowed. No leavened foods (foods containing yeast) or grains are eaten. In their place, matzoh and foods containing matzoh are eaten. Matzoh (also spelled matzos and matzah) is unleavened bread made simply from flour and water and cooked very quickly. This is to remember the Israelites, who fled quickly into the desert with no time for their breads to rise and baked the dough into hard crackers in the desert sun.

This delicious kugel (pudding) is a wonderful accompaniment for a main dish or can be served as a sweet dessert.

Happy Passover!


CURRANT PEAR MATZOH KUGEL

* 5 matzo crackers, crushed
* 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites, beaten
* 1/3 cup white sugar
* 1/3 cup applesauce
* 3 firm Bartlett pears, cored, peeled and chopped
* 1/3 cup dried currants
* 3 tablespoons sugar mixed with 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 11-by-7-by-1-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Put crumbled matzos in a medium bowl, add enough water to cover, and let stand for 2 minutes. Drain off excess water, but do not squeeze. Add eggs, 1/3 cup sugar and apple-sauce. Stir to combine. Mix in the pears and currants. Spread the mixture evenly into pan. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean from center.

Makes eight servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 190
Total Fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 55 milligrams
Sodium: 150 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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