Passover, also known as Pesach, is celebrated by Jews all over the world. In 2016, the holiday takes place from April 23 through April 30. We want to take this time to reflect on why we celebrate Passover and give you some twists on the classic Matzah Brei.
The Story of Passover
In the book of Exodus found in the Bible, God punished the Egyptian people with 10 plagues because the Pharaoh refused to let the Jewish slaves leave Egypt with Moses as their leader. During the final plague, the firstborn child of every Egyptian died, including the son of the Pharoah.
The reason the holiday is called Passover is because God told the Jewish people to smear blood from a slaughtered lamb on their doors so the angel of death, or God's spirit, would pass over their homes and spare their children. Since God protected the Jewish children from the 10th plague, Jews declared a holiday commemorating their exodus, or journey, from slavery to freedom.
The Birth of Matzah
When Moses led the Jewish people out of Egypt, they did not receive any advance notice. The women baked matzah (unleavened bread) because the baking process was faster. Known as the bread of affliction, Jews are forbidden to eat any chametz (leavened bread) during the Passover holiday. This ancient tradition still exists today.
Want to have your Passover meals prepared in advance? Check out our Passover catering menu
Making Matzah Brei
Maybe you are If you do want to make your own matzah, you'll need 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon olive oil.
First, preheat your oven to 475 degrees, and place your baking sheet in the oven.
Add the flour to a mixing bowl, and add the water 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir the water and flour together using a fork, continuing to add water, until the dough forms. Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead rapidly on a lightly-floured surface until it is smooth.
Then, divide the dough into four parts, then divide each of those in half until you have eight pieces of dough. Roll the dough into a pancake until they are about 8 inches long. Use your fork to pierce the dough about 25 times on each side to prevent it from rising.
Take out your preheated baking sheet and place the dough rounds on it. Position the baking sheet near the top of the oven. Bake for two minutes, then flip the dough over and bake for an additional two minutes. Your matzah should be lightly browned and crisp.
Let the matzah cool on a wire rack. Lightly spread olive oil on the tops of the matzah and sprinkle with salt to finish them.
Twists on the Classic Recipe
If you want to try something a little different this Passover, consider upgrading your matzah with these ingredients and flavors.
Apple Cinnamon Matzah Brei
Add a diced apple, cinnamon, milk, brown sugar and maple syrup to create a different twist.
Peanut Butter or Almond Butter Matzah Brei
Add the nut butter to the matzah brei mixture. Top the scrambled matzah brei with strawberry or raspberry jam.
Banana-Maple Matzah Brei
Add a mashed banana and maple syrup to the mixture.
Matzah Brei Macaroni and Cheese
Since chametz is forbidden during Passover, matzah brei macaroni and cheese makes a pleasant substitute. Mix cheddar cheese with matzah, farfel, milk, eggs and whipped cream cheese.
MatzahMatzah tiramisu is a delicious dessert made with mascarpone cheese, zabaione (or zabaglione), egg yolks and several layers of whole, soaked matzah bread.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Vegan Matzah Brei
This vegan concoction does not include any eggs. Use coconut oil in place of the eggs. Mix bananas, vanilla and cinnamon with the matzah brei mixture. Cover the vegan dessert with melted chocolate and walnuts or chopped pecans.