A Fruity Pudding For Passover

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - April 20, 2005
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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.

A time of 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.

Dana Washofsky, president of the board of trustees at Temple Emanu-El, is an ambassador for the Jewish community and one of the people who really loves to celebrate the Passover holiday. She was only 16 years old when she met her husband at Camp Swig in California. He hailed from Honolulu and she was from Mission Viejo. A Hawaii resident for the past 23 years, Dana now is marketing communications manager for Marriott International, Hawaiian Islands Hotels and Resorts, and Craig is a top Servco executive. They are the parents of Ben, a 20-year old University of San Francisco student, and Jacob, a 16-year old Punahou sophomore.

Although she’s blessed with her own family and circle of friends, Dana stresses the Jewish tradition of hospitality that is associated with Passover. “Let all who are hungry come and eat,” it says in the Hagaddah. If you need a place to go, she invites all to call Temple Emanu-El (595-7521) to find out about the Sisterhoodsponsored second night Seder at the Hale Koa Hotel, which cantorial soloist Ken Aronowitz will lead.

During Passover, only foods that are “Kosher for Passover” are allowed. No leavened foods (containing yeast) or grains are eaten. In their place matzoh and foods containing matzoh are eaten. Matzoh 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.

There are many inventive ways to use matzoh; it is available in a variety of textures for cooking such as matzoh flour (finely ground for cakes and cookies), matzoh meal (coarsely ground, used as a bread crumb substitute), matzoh farfel (little chunks, a noodle or bread cube substitute), and full-sized matzohs (about 10 inches square, a bread substitute).

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


• 5 matzoh 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 matzoh 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 applesauce. 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.)

(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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